Interview with Sam Larson

AUG 9, 2014

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We’ve just wrapped our first week of our SpoonChallenge: A Month of Drawing, and what you’ve been drawing and sharing every day is truly inspiring! It’s not too late to sign up for the SpoonChallenge to receive daily drawing prompts, creative inspiration, and interviews with amazing illustrators and pattern designers. Share what you’re sketching with the hashtag #spoonchallenge on your social media platform of choice. If you’d like to jump in, follow the link after our artist interview to sign up for the SpoonChallenge!
Meet Sam Larson, the San Diego, California artist behind Steel Bison, and take a peek at some of his American West and vintage travel souvenir-inspired art and goods.
Larson self + work


 What’s in your toolbox?

SL: A little bit of everything. Pens, markers, acrylic paint, and Adobe Illustrator.

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Do you create art or design full time?

SL: Sure do. I’m a freelance artist, and I own, design and ship products for Steel Bison.

Who or what influences your work?

SL: The American West– its beautiful landscapes, animals, and people. The more I explore it, the more I enjoy it. Vintage travel souvenirs; I really like the simplicity and quality of old design.

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Also, family and friends. Daily conversations always spark new ideas. Kanye West: I think he is an amazing creative. People think he’s crazy because he doesn’t say what they want to hear. I don’t agree with everything that comes out of his mouth but he is much closer to genius than crazy. He encourages to believe in yourself and create cool things.

What’s a typical work day like for you?

SL: Every day is pretty different. A lot depends on what my current projects are. Normally I wake up, check e-mails and social media, start drawing and designing around 9am and make art most of the day. When I launch my own products, I generally spend the days around launch time packing and shipping orders.

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  Workspace

How many times do you revisit or edit designs (or artwork) before releasing a final version?

SL: Depends on the project and deadline. The more time I have the more I edit and refine. I would say 0-3. Generally closer to 0.

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What’s the coolest thing you could imagine seeing covered in your artwork? 

SL: Hmm. I always set design goals and right now that is to do something for Apple and Nike. So I guess anything related to either of those companies. A movie poster for a major film would be pretty cool too. In general what I care about most though is creating good art. If it ends up in a cool place, that’s just a plus.

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What song would best describe your creative process? 

SL: Don’t know about song, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, Manchester Orchestra and Kanye West lately.

What is the one place in the world that you would like to visit?

SL: Yellowstone National Park.

What does design mean to you?

SL: Happiness. Expression. It’s my life. Not in a weird, creepy way, but I really enjoy it. It allows me to meet cool new people, travel, and make a living doing what I love.

What’s a favorite tip you’ve learned for either creating art or design, or staying motivated and inspired to create? 

SL: I’m not much of a quote person or pinpointing one thing when it comes to design. I simply create because I love it. You have to love it. You have to be passionate and truly care about it. If you are dedicated good things will happen and hard work will pay off. It’s pretty simple really.

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