Who are you and where are you from?

My name’s Sam Spires, and Im from the states (Asheville, North Carolina).

Can you tell us a little about your work and the reasons behind it?

I usually like to paint figures (people) in a tranquil, somber, or contemplating state, contrasted with hectic backgrounds using spray paint and acrylic. Something just pulls me to paint these moods, maybe it’s because it’s the state i’m often in when by myself. My illustrations, though, are usually more energetic or narrative. 

How do you think your childhood impacted your style?

I grew up reading comic books and watching cartoons. I used to draw super heroes quiet often, so i guess it influenced me more to paint figures.

Can you tell us a bit about your workspace?

I work in my apartment’s living room (I’d prefer to have a studio).

Do you listen to anything while you’re working, and if so, what?

YES, a lot of electronic music mostly..

How do you approach the creative process? (Talk us through how you construct a piece? Do have a concrete idea of what it will look like before you get started? What type of reference do you use?)

I think a lot, and when i think i have a good idea i’ll write it down. After, i’ll do thumbnail sketches. Then usually i’ll go through my pictures of plants and animals, sometimes books. i also take pictures of models or find things to take pictures of for reference (sometimes if i’m in a time crunch i’ll use google image). Some parts i’ll draw out in detail from imagination. Then i’ll just go for it on canvas.  Usually more ideas will come to me while i’m painting, and i’ll  subtract other things that aren’t working.

When creating feels forced what do you do to get things flowing again?

If it’s a commission it can feel forced, i just remind myself it’s for money. For me personally, sometimes i have crippling laziness that leads to depression and anxiety. I just have to remind myself i feel happiest when i paint and complete pieces. And it does, so i just do it. There’s also something very meditative about painting as well.

What have been some of the greatest breakthroughs you’ve experienced within your learning as an artist? (Those moments that have opened up whole new creative avenues or that have led to you taking large leaps forward in your development?)

Art school helped tremendously to see my potential. Amazing professors, too. Originally I went there for Sequential Art (comic books and storyboarding) but came out in love with painting.  I had to take a painting class and just got enthralled with painting so i then minored in it. 

What do you look for in art of others? What would you hope people look for in your work?

Detail, interesting/surreal ideas, mood. Execution, approach. Being moved. Would want the same i suppose, and to just alter their point of view. Or pull feelings of inspiration or certain moods.

Any artists (new or old) that have been inspiring you as of late?

James Jean, Kim Jung Gi, Miles Johnston, nychos, Doze Green, Christian Rex van Minnen are a few artists that i follow.  

Are you ever satisfied with your work?

Short answer, NO.

What are some of your favourite places or things in Taiwan?

East coast, nice local people and loose laws.

What’s next?

not sure