Q&A with Samantha

Q&A with Samantha

Regional Arts WA

Earlier this year Regional Arts WA, along with Healthway and Drug Aware, ran a competition for young artists to design the next Drug Aware YCulture Regional tote bag. Well, bags have been designed, delivered, unpacked, and are now making their way across regional WA. So we thought we would celebrate by having a chat with our winner and designer Samantha (18) from Bunbury!

Tote Bag with winning artwork, ipad with the wining digital artwork, and sketchbook. Artwork is of a person and their dog, with their shadows, looking out to the distance. Image: Winning artwork by Samantha, with her other sketches! Photo supplied.

Hey Samantha, can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name’s Sam, a soon-to-be nurse who also happens to do art! My primary medium is digital art and I focus on Australian landscapes and character art. I love expressing the world around me through my art, whether it be the country I walk on, its histories or my own personal experiences.

How did you first get into art?

When I was around 4 years old I used to obsessively watch art-related kids shows like Mister Maker and Art Attack, always dreaming up of doing all the cool art projects they did (with none of the materials).

Realising that the only art supplies at my disposal was a pencil and paper though, I resorted to flicking through illustration books to copy the drawings off there: Disney Princess stories, The Little Prince, you name it. Eventually I decided to venture out, drawing from imagination and real life… and now here I am.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I love learning about the histories and cultures of the places I’ve been to / want to go to, especially in Australia! My family have always been travel bugs, joining up with family friends to travel across WA from Esperance to Exmouth. I express my passion for travelling, history and culture via drawing Australian landscapes and characters.

In terms of digital art itself, I’m also inspired by my own art mutuals on social media as well as several artists I follow.

Do you have a favourite artist?

I can’t name just one, that’s just cruel. Instead, I’ll give you some of visual artists I admire off the top of my head:

  • In terms of what I want my art to look like/convey, Pascal Campion (@pascalcampionart on Insta) is one of my all-time favourites. His digital landscape paintings are incredibly atmospheric in nature, using textured brushes and minimal strokes to make it as if you’re in those paintings, watching people go about life from afar. In between those pieces he also has his comic series “Kitty Cat and Manly Man” in which he explores ideas of human nature. I strive for my art to evoke emotions like he does.
  • An artist that captures my ideal “vibe” is Rachel Yumi Chung (@yumiincolor on Insta)! I adore her use of warm, saturated hues in her botanical and landscape illustrations, as well as the textures she conveys (parallel rhythmic lines, hatching) through the use of coloured pencils. Her technique inspires me to include these sorts of textures in my art, evoking a “hand-made” feel.

For my character art, no one can go past my art mutual and good friend Ifa (@eskrimko on Insta). A Darwin artist, I was drawn to her work due to our shared interests of drawing Australian cities as people! She’s amazing in capturing the “feel” of a city – for example, her design of Perth really exemplifies it as the sunniest capital of Australia through Perth’s bright and bubbly personality. Speaking of, the way she draws her characters’ emotions not only through facial expressions but also body language is something I strive to practice and achieve. This July I actually had the honour of flying out to Darwin to meet with her in person, which is an experience I’ll never forget!

Can you tell us about any other amazing experiences you’ve had?

One thing I’ve done was participating in a charity fanzine last year where all the proceeds went towards the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Community Fund. It was an awesome effort from dozens of online artists (both visual and written), and we raised $347.00 USD in total! I even won a few stickers out of it.

You can find out more about it on Instagram and Tumblr (my name on there is JUKKBOX by the way)!

You’re finishing school as well! How do you make sure to find time for yourself when you’re super busy?

To be honest, for the entirety of Year 11/12 my motto has been “she’ll be right” – even if I come back from an exam or a ten hour shift, I know that at least art has my back. It’s my way of de-stressing, where I can take my mind off all the worries I have. While I draw I also listen to music, play a video or call my friends. Other ways I find time for myself is by going outside to take walks and reading a book that I haven’t touched since buying it a year ago.

What’s next for you?

After graduating this year I’ll be taking a gap year in 2023, which allows me to both earn some money as well as focus on my art more intensively. After my WACE exams I’ll also be opening my Instagram account back to show my art to the public again! However I’ll try my hardest to avoid the one pitfall of social media: making art a chore, whether it be through trying to keep up a consistent post schedule or trying to maximise my follower base. I want to do art for what it’s intended for: fun!

What recommendations do you have for other young artists wanting to learn?

Do you enjoy doing art? If your answer is “yes”, then do it for the sake of fun! No amount of followers or engagement should dictate how you do art – do it because you want to. You don’t have to do it alone either: find art mutuals as well who might share your interests and/or passion for art! The mutuals I’ve met over the years have contributed in fuelling my love for art and creating, and you could make a huge impact on them as well.

Drug Aware YCulture Regional is funded by Healthway to promote the Drug Aware message. If you know a young artist aged 12-26 living in regional WA who wants to run their own arts project, we have up to $6,000 to make it happen. Grants are closing on 16 December 2022, so get in touch today!

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