Samantha Prag is an artist who caught our eye most recently when we saw her work on her Instagram. She has an eye for detail and patience that far outpaces our own. She was gracious enough to answer some of our questions regarding her work and methods of creation.
RER: What is your background and how has it influenced your art?
I’ve grown up in a middle class neighborhood of Long Island, NY with my parents and younger sister and I went to college upstate where I studied Art History and Graphic Design. My mom introduced me and my sister to incredible music and food while my dad introduced us to athletics, politics, and travel. I can’t say with complete positivity that these things have directly influenced the art that I make, but I think my parents have really promoted my explorative and creative nature.
RER: When did you begin drawing?
I actually remember the first time I drew something pretty decent. I was probably eight years old or so and there was some TV show that would teach you how to draw things. At the very beginning of the show, they would show you what the outcome would look like. I never actually watched the show, except for the first 2 minutes. I just saw the final drawing of this doll sitting next to a window and I replicated it pretty exactly and very quickly, without the guidance of the moving hand on the screen. It’s so funny because I even remember feeling relieved… it seemed that everyone except for me had made our elementary school’s ‘select chorus.’ I couldn’t sing, and still can’t, to save my life; I was relieved to discover that at least I could draw!
RER: What kind of music/artist do you like to draw to?
Ha, that question gets a different answer everyday. Fleetwood Mac is a pretty safe bet since they’re my all time favorites and always who I default to, but it could be anyone from Jimi Hendrix to G. Love & Special Sauce to Barry White. If I’m not feeling music, sometimes I put Investigation Discovery on TV and listen to a random murder story in the background… is that weird to admit?
RER: What is one word you’d use to describe your art?
Detailed or maybe stippling.
RER: Do you have one particular artist that you draw inspiration from?
My all time favorite artist is Egon Schiele. My current work isn’t especially influenced by him, but I’m hoping some future work will be. I admire the intensity of his work and I hope to create some pieces that are a little more daring and controversial, like some of his. As far as inspiration goes, I get a lot from the Animal Planet channel, Discovery Channel, and series like Life, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, etc.
I really like watching animals, bugs, flowers and trees on TV because I only catch the image for as long as it’s on, and then when I sit down to draw later on, I create my version of what I remember. Does that make sense? I also like to look at people’s tattoos and at street art/murals/graffiti in passing. I would love to do some graffiti eventually, I just have to somehow convince my mom to let me deface her property. Learning how to tattoo would be pretty sweet too.
RER: What does your art try to accomplish?
Hmmm… I don’t think I’m trying to dish out a particular message, if that’s what this question means. I would definitely like for a viewer to note the detail that goes into my work; and I wish people knew how fast I actually work. I’m also trying to create shading and color transitions using stippling completely–other than the black outlines of basic shapes, there are no other full strokes in many of my ‘fabric-marker-on-canvas’ pieces. In my new series, I’m trying to take things you would typically find above water, like trees, New York city buildings, flying birds, etc, and put them underwater with fish and sand and currents, etc. I’m hoping it’ll be a little confusing. I also like to hide things in the geometric details of my work, like bugs and frogs and typography.
RER: Do you have a motto for your artwork or process?
I can’t say I have a motto, but I’ve always loved the Monet quote, ‘Color is my day long obsession, joy, and torment.’ It’s so true!
RER: Any advice you can offer to artists trying to make it big?
I haven’t quite made it ‘big,’ but when I do, I’ll definitely let you know! If I ever do, I’m hoping it’ll be because I persevered, which is easier said than done.
RER: Do you have any social media platforms that we can follow you on?
I’m on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Instagram is an incredible platform for exposure to the art world. I have found so many incredible artists through it and I encourage everyone to get on board.
RER: What piece(s) are you most proud of?
My portfolio website is www.SamanthaPrag.com so you can see almost all of my recent work there, except for the pieces I’m not ready to reveal yet! I’m also hoping to have signed, limited edition, full size prints ready to be ordered online by June 2014 via my portfolio website.