Interview: Sam Kelly
Luca Curci talks with Sam Kelly during Contemporary Venice 2019 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Sam Kelly is an artist currently residing in the United States of America. He earned a B.F.A. in painting from Wright State University and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He also attended the Chautauqua School of Art. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States in New York, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, California, and Colorado. He also has exhibited his work internationally in Italy, United Kingdom, South Korea, Spain and Greece. Sam has taught Fine Arts at many college institutions including the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Cincinnati, Wright State University, University of Dayton and Indiana University East.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Sam Kelly – I have a pretty extensive background with painting and drawing. In college, I took as many drawing and painting classes as I could. I received an excellent education. I had many terrific professors during both my undergraduate and graduate studies. I owe them all a lot. There really isn’t one specific moment that influenced my work. It has been a culmination of success, failure, experimentation and a lot of hard work.
LC – What is art for you?
SK – Art gives me purpose in my life. Without it, I have no idea what I would do. Art is about learning, growing and challenging oneself. It’s terribly hard and can be very frustrating, but it’s all worth it.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
SK – Well, when starting a painting there is no specific vision or theme in mind. Forms and shapes are added and removed in a repeated cycle until something emerges from the materials that embodies and evokes a presence. Thus, improvisation plays a major role in my process. I focus mostly on trying to invoke a paint surface with authenticity and intensity for maximum engagement.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
SK – Everything is challenging for me when creating something. For example, at one moment I may have a problem with color. So, I naturally focus my energy on fixing the color issues. Once that gets fixed, I then realize I now have a compositional issue to address. The problems never stop. It’s really all about how well one can juggle everything at the same time.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the Contemporary Art?
SK – If an artist doesn’t give their full effort in life, then they are shortchanging themselves and the world. Society only benefits when an artist commits one hundred percent to their practice. Only then, can an artist have an important function in society. With serious work, artists can make many important contributions to the world and to Contemporary Art.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
SK – I thought the concept of this festival was excellent. I was very excited to be a part of it. It inspired me to think in many new ways in order to reach a much broader audience.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
SK – Identities was the festival’s theme. Working from that theme I was interested in presenting myself as an artist looking inward. I wanted to show the audience who I was and how I fit into society.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
SK – ITSLIQUID GROUP is a very special organization that helps connect artists and art lovers from around the world. I have a very positive opinion of this group.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
SK – I greatly enjoyed working with everyone involved with the ITSLIQUID GROUP. Everyone has been very helpful. You all managed to put together a great show of international artists.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
SK – Yes, definitely. ITSLIQUID GROUP is very motivated to help and promote artists. They offer many wonderful opportunities.