Sunday, June 17, 2012

Samantha French - Painter- Minnesota ExPat

Samantha French
Mn to Brooklyn, NY

Name:  Samantha French        
Location:  Brooklyn NY
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Why did you leave Minnesota?
I left the year after I graduated from MCAD. I had friends who lived there (NYC) and it just seemed to be the right decision for me at the time. I was looking for a change of pace and NY was it. 

Tell me about your new city of residence?  
How to describe NYC? It is a completely different way of life than the Mid-west (which has its pros and cons). It is a very driven city and has created an environment for me to whole heartedly focus on my art career. 

How has your art changed since moving from Minnesota?
Growing up in such a beautiful area had a big impact on my work. New York City is beautiful in its own way, but there is something so serene, floating in the tepid water of one of Minnesota’s many lakes, just you and nature. No sirens, no trash, just quiet and calm. My paintings have changed in that they are frequently based on pools now, and some reflect more of a Southern California/mid-century aesthetic, but my memories and the feelings I get thinking back about those childhood summers are still there. They’ve just been slightly adapted, more idealized maybe. Also, pool waters allow for better reflections, which now play an important role in my painting. I consider myself a figurative painter, but the reflections and refracted light add an abstract quality to the work. Having the figure as a reference point allows me to focus on those abstractions that the reflections in the water provide. Along with the contrasts they bring to the work, discovering how the two things react with one another, such as how the light bouncing off the skin mimics the ripples in the water, is very fascinating to me. 

If you come back to Minnesota for one weekend and you need to see your old favorite places, where would you go to see art? 
I love stopping back at MCAD, they always have something interesting up in the Main Gallery and if not you can usually find some inspiring student work up in the halls. I have work in inventory at Groveland Gallery and they have such an array of artists you can never go wrong seeing what they have in exhibition (or in their inventory). They have really cultivated a strong group of artists. I would also stop at Soo Visual Arts Center! Their shows are always engaging and since they jury the artists in you can see installations one month and realistic paintings the next. If I have the time I would definitely make a trip to the Walker and MIA. 

Who are some of your favorite artists still living in Minnesota?

Michael Kareken: 
Sarah Wieben: 
Melissa Loop:  

I could go on but I’ll keep it at three. 

If you could transplant one aspect of the Minnesota arts community home with you, what would it be?
Minneapolis has such a wonderful sense of community throughout all the arts it is a very  supportive place to be an artist. 

Do you have any exhibits to promote now or in the near future?
I have a solo exhibition at Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis up until July 7th, 2012.  

After that, a show at the Todd James Gallery in Provincetown, MA July 15- Aug 11th along with a group show at Stark + Kent Gallery in Palm Springs, CA.  Lots of other exciting events in the works after that!

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