Saturday, March 5, 2016

Samuel Robertson - Painter

Samuel Robertson

Name: Samuel Robertson
City/State: Minneapolis/Minnesota
Email: SamRobertsonArt at
Facebook page:
Twitter: @SamRobertsonArt
Etsy Page: MisterRobertson


I am a multimedia artist living in Minneapolis and in my illustrative work (and also in music, writing, and sculpture, I suppose) I study people and our relationships to appetite, commodities, technology, nature, and each other. I explore both the darkness and the humor in our efforts to find fulfillment and comfort through consumption, drawing inspiration from sources where I find symbolic representations of human appetite, including industrial equipment catalogs, tourism magazines, and wilderness and hunting publications. So far I've refrained from explicit judgement or commentary in my work, attempting instead to imbue my scenes with atmosphere, humor, and allegory. But I'm feeling a change brewing in my approach, though I've only caught glimpses of what it might be.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I am currently illustrating The Old Testament, in a vivid, psychedelic style, and although stylistically and conceptually it has similarities to my past work, this series diverges in magnitude and focus. By illustrating the most widely read book of all time with a sort of 21st century surrealism, I'm developing as an illustrator while learning to market and promote my work at the same time. I've finished 114 of what will eventually be over 300 illustrations and I aim to finish by Christmas Day, 2017. I'm enjoying the marketing aspects a bit, and I'm actively seeking representation, as well as a publisher. I envision these illustrations published alongside the entire text of the King James' Old Testament, with a page of text on the left and an illustration on the right, for the entire book. I'm choosing passages to illustrate with spacing in mind for that.

How did you decide to become an artist?

It was a slow process. Whenever I would think about what I could see myself doing with my life, I had a hard time imagining anything so I wouldn't think about it. In high school I took drawing and sculpture classes and drew a lot - there was an incredible set of art teachers at my school in Wisconsin, and they gave me the spark, staying after hours many nights so a few of us could get in more time on the potters' wheel. Then I went to the University of Minnesota after high school not knowing what I wanted, but I continued with ceramics, making pots compulsively until I would come home and sit on my bed and eat spaghetti and paint. But I at that time I was not interested in critiques or cyclical discussions about "art vs. design" and wanted to be left alone to make art. So I dropped out of school and built a canoe with my friend and carried it to the Mississippi River and paddled it to New Orleans. Then my friend's parents met us in New Orleans and they told me I should go back to school, and I was feeling pretty aimless and like maybe I made the wrong choice by leaving, even though I learned a lot from my time away. I was feeling pretty dumb because I didn't leave on the best terms, but I went back with a renewed vigor and spent all my free time in the art building, sleeping there pretty often in low-traffic corners - all the night time janitors knew me and they just mopped around me. 

Then life after undergraduate was wandering and strange for a while, working many jobs and painting, writing, and making music, always telling myself life as a professional artist was just around the corner if I kept making stuff. But I did nothing proactive - I didn't seek out shows or think critically about how to do the art thing. I would sell a few paintings here and there and I moved around Minneapolis a lot, letting time flow, painting, writings songs, and I worked at a shop for three years that made medieval weapons. I had other jobs too - remodeling work, screen printing, and furniture building, restaurant jobs, etc. But then I went on a music tour which felt like the pinnacle of my aimlessness. I've always been of the mindset that it is best for me creatively to bounce around from medium to medium, letting my ideas manifest however they wanted to, and in that way they would build upon each other. But when I returned from the tour, I decided a lack of focus was my problem, and that I would stick with painting and illustration until I could pave a way for myself with it, and I discovered The Old Testament to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for my style of painting intense and surreal depictions of human appetite. The Bible has been a fruitful lens from which to interpret the vast forms and contours of appetite.

How has it been, illustrating the Old Testament so far?

It feels like it illustrates itself. I was for sure running out of steam before I started, but the King James' version is especially ripe for visual interpretation. I've never read the bible before this, but it is relieving that for a while, that's what I'm doing, and that those pages have all I need to know within them - I just have to continue to make time to decode it and find out what's the best way to show the world.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

A professor of mine, Chris Larson, was talking to a small class of his I was in, and he said to us, "You know the secret for getting through artist's block?" (Writer's block for artists of course.) He had all our attention, because he is an inspiring artist and teacher who was about to let us in on a secret. He changed the subject, seemingly accidentally. Then someone interrupted him a bit later and asked, "Wait! What's the secret?" Chris acted confused, "For what?" he said. The person replied, "To get through artist's block." And Chris said, "Oh. You just keep making." And everyone seemed to feel let down but I felt super energized.

Also, once my friend made me a sandwich and he didn't match up the bread - it was flipped around - and it blew my mind.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?

I sell prints at my exhibitions and people can contact me from my website to buy original work. I also paint murals. Also I was lucky to find a job as a mason's apprentice which has cushioned this time of my life, so I'm not completely dependent on my art just yet for income.

I'm marketing myself by sending postcards and press releases to publishers, agents, publications and galleries. I search for residencies and grants and I try to meet with working artists to get advice. Also, I'm developing a web presence with a few social media pages and a website. I'm trying to try everything to see what works best. 

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
Chris Larson (If you google "Chris Larson Artist" his amazing sculptures will show up.
Michael Gaughan's work is real cool: 

Here's some Minneapolis music I love: Rupert AngeleyesBreakawayThe Controversial New Skinny Pill

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

The MIA is great for it's huge collection and rotating MAEP exhibitions and other rotating galleries.
I enjoy Light Grey Art Lab, which is illustration focused 

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? 

I like for events and I've found a lot of good art on tumblr. I've fine tuned my feed so a stream of fresh art is coming my way every day - that's where I discovered Julian Glander who is awesome.

Then a few other websites/blogs I visit:

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
I am exhibiting 70 new paintings from my Illustrated Old Testament at "In the Heart of the Beast Theatre (1500 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407.) The show opens March 11 and goes until the 26th, and the opening reception is March 19 from 3:00-7:00 PM. It is in the main room of the theatre for the duration of Davey T. Steinman and Company's production of the rock opera, "Basement Creatures," as his whole performance is backstage, in an emulated basement. There's more information on my website,

Samuel Robertson

Monday, January 25, 2016

Rosie Brown - Sculpture and Installation

Rosie Brown

Name: Rosie Brown
City/State: St. Paul, Minnesota
Email: rosiemichellebrown at

Facebook page:

Rosie Brown was born and raised in suburbs of St. Paul, MN. After completing her degree in Fine Arts from Bethel University in 2010, she longed for further education. She briefly pursued the medical field, inspired by her father’s impressive insight and knowledge as a doctor as well as her interest in the study of the body. She then made the decision to travel to Redding, CA to pursue education in Ministry for a year. After all of this, her love for the arts, her family and the cold drew her back home to Minnesota. She has allowed her brief side steps in ministry and science to inform her work today.

In returning to the Twin Cities, Rosie once again began to create and was connected with Altered Esthetics. She is now the Co-Exhibitions Director for Solo Exhibitions and has the pleasure of having her own Solo Exhibition, a preview show as well as a permanent installation in the Southern Theater in 2016.

Rosie now proudly resides in the Midway area of St. Paul, between her two favorite cities with her husband Andy and two hilarious mutts, Elmo and Franklin.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I am a sculptor and installation artist who attempts to capture the hidden qualities of our environments that are woven into our personal narratives and daily rituals. I create work that often explores and exposes our common surrounding environments and allow my internal dialogue and thought patterns to be revealed through these building interiors and objects. My hands ­on process of creation is also very important to me as my body and its relationship to a space is integral to communicating an idea. Thematically, I have focused on religion, sexuality and identity. I enjoy the idea of contrasting or conflating two separate materials in order to present a conflict or argument. The materials I most often employ are those that are elemental, highly symbolic or encapsulate my perception of purity. For example, wine, plaster, metal, soap, ink, vellum and charcoal. 

In the past my work has been thought­ or idea­ based, but the work I began in 2015 and 2016 is now inspired by visual promptings. Whatever is visually appealing to me is where I begin rather than starting with a concept. Stark black against a white background, transparent paper formed into a sculpture or a multitude of small white molds, almost like marshmallows, are places to begin, not end. It has been an experiment to discover the “artist's intuition.” I am asking if my work and process were to begin from a different place--from a visual inspiration instead of a concept--would it still be successful or interesting or evolve into something I never would have made otherwise? This has been the most enlightening of processes I have explored thus far in my career. 
My Solo Exhibition in September 2016 at the Southern Theater is more a puzzle of pieces connected by certain themes, all informing each other. The show will be mainly sculpture and installation exploring the unique and historic space of the lobby of the Southern Theater. 

How did you decide to become an artist?
I don’t know that I ever explicitly decided to become an artist. I think I just became one, or maybe just was one. Somewhere in college, I discovered the intimidating challenging and overwhelming nature of creating art and loved it. To feel uncomfortable and vulnerable seemed like a great place to learn. My teachers in college inspired me continually and to them I owe a great debt for their kind words and honest critiques that continue to inform my work today. I am always making the decision to be or not be an artist. I ask myself everyday: will I make something today? will I not? I can call myself a sculptor for the rest of my life, but really the truth lies in the work that I create or don’t.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
There are two critiques or comments that stand out to me. I have received a lot of advice over the years, but the most impacting of which was not intended to be advice. A teacher of mine once said to me after a candid conversation that I had the talent to be successful but had not cultivated a drive. This blunt critique of my process as an artist challenged me in the moment, but has continued as useful advice till today. He saw into me and how I was operating and I have chosen to allow that statement to encourage me and motivate me to produce. 

Secondly, a professor of mine made commentary on an installation at the Northrup King building during my thesis show. He said that I used my “artist's intuition” to decide where to put the piece when things mysteriously fell into place. I don’t know how seriously he used this verbiage but I have never forgotten it. This comment, also not really advice, has brought me to question a lot about process and to ask what actually is this intuition and how can I access it? 

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
The nature of my artwork is such that it will not be sold. This is not necessarily a choice of mine but at the same time I have not had an interest in pursuing sales or profiting from what I create, at least not at this time. I do promote my work through social media my personal website

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?
To name a few:
Alexa Horochowski Kristina Estell
Kenneth Steinbach Harriet Bart
Josie Lewis
Shana Kaplow 

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
As a lover of the Twin Cities, it’s easy for me to find pride in almost any gallery in town. One of my go­-to’s is the Soap Factory though I feel that I would enjoy the experience even without artwork because the building is magnificently mysterious, truly a warehouse/basement turned gallery. Additionally, I love and greatly appreciate Midway Contemporary Art’s contribution to our city's art culture, not only showing local artists but also highlighting international work as well ​

I also celebrate art organizations that support the multitude of local emerging artists who might struggle to find representation. Altered Esthetics is a great source for these types of people and I cannot support them enough

In addition to www.Local­Artist­, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? Online resources I find to be more challenging to utilize in the visual arts. I will point out Springboard for the Arts as a great resource for artists to discover submission opportunities and employment possibilities ( course a staple to all of us is

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

I have a permanent installation at the Southern Theater to be premiered at the I AM exhibit through Altered Esthetics opening March 4th 2016. I have a solo exhibition September of 2016 at the Southern Theater as well and currently have a piece installed for the 2016 Preview Exhibition ​until the end of February 2016 at the same location. 
Rosie Brown

Image List:
  1. “Veil” Calfskin parchment and metal pipe. 2016
  2. “Veil” detail, Calfskin parchment and metal pipe. 2016
  3. “Pulled” Metal pipe, plaster and paint. 2010
  4. “Orthodox­ed” Metal pipe, wine, plaster. 2010
  5. “Orthodox­ed” detail, Metal pipe, wine, plaster. 2010
  6. “Ring Finger” Plaster. 2015
  7. Image of Artist