What's your favorite medium for creating art?
SAM: I most often work digitally, but it varies depending on the project. For patterns, I love working with sumi ink.
What's your day job? Do you create art or design full time?
I’m a full-time illustrator as of last December. Before that, I worked at the Noguchi Museum in Queens for close to five years. After college, all my day jobs were in furniture and design sales, which actually ended up being a great help in beginning my career as an illustrator. I learned basic business skills and a fair amount of design history.
What's your creative process like on a typical day?
I typically make coffee and read in the morning and try to avoid immediately looking at my email. I get to the studio around 9:30. If I’m writing or working on concept sketches, I’ll usually do that from home.
Do you like to create repeating surface patterns? What's the coolest thing you could imagine seeing covered in your artwork?
Patterns are a great way of exploring a simple idea. There’s also something magical about seeing a tile of your drawings repeat. I would love to do a line of housewares with my patterns on it.
How many times do you revisit or edit artwork or designs before releasing a final version?
Some projects go smoother than others! With pattern design, I normally try to work quickly to keep the ideas fresh. If you have the luxury of time, it’s always nice to look at something with fresh eyes.
What does design mean to you?
Design is a way of thinking. In a perfect scenario, it helps us live artful and meaningful lives.
What song would best describe your creative process?
What’s in your toolbox?
My toolbox consists of shelves stacked erratically with assorted supplies. I suppose a bit of everything. But mostly I use a Ticonderoga pencil.
If you could only create art with one tool, what would it be?
Who influences your work?
Maira Kalman has been a big influence on my work and on many other illustrators I admire. She has completely authentic voice that translates beautifully into work for both children and adults. There’s a sort of “Why Not?” attitude about her work that inspires so much curiosity about the world. It’s contagious.
What is the one place in the world that you would like to visit?
Just one? Hmm….maybe Easter Island?
What's your favorite tip for making art or design, or staying motivated and inspired to create?
For my personal work, I try to keep an ambitious list of project ideas. They don’t have to be developed or even particularly good, but I consult it and edit it over time. That way, I have a general sense of where I want to go creatively. Sometimes, the half-baked, not-so-good-six-months-later ideas can inspire others on the list.