As an artist, why have you chosen to work in Chicago?
I was born and raised in Chicago. If I were born to a wealthy family, maybe I'd be an artist painting somewhere else, but I'd eventually come back home to Chicago. I adore this city. It's impossible to stop learning or finding inspiration here.
How do you describe your artwork?
I'm a multidisciplinary artist with works ranging from paintings to sculpture to interior home renovations and design. Primarily, I focus on acrylic paintings—everything from small pieces to murals. I particularly like to paint on wood but will use any material as a canvas as long as it fits my themes. I prefer to paint on a larger scale, but it really depends on what I'm feeling.
All of my artwork is created from emotion, and this begins at the very first step of selecting the base. I never know what I am going to paint or construct when I begin. My process is all based on my emotion and surroundings. An initial idea can change 10 to 20 times in a matter of hours. I paint as the images come into my mind, second by second.
What inspires your art?
Everything from music, other artists, fonts, writing, love, and violence influences my art. My art is created to tell a story, so my surroundings naturally influence everything that I create. I am made up of multiple nationalities and was raised on the South Side of Chicago; both are sources for my stories. I love to learn about new cultures and to observe emerging street culture. Everyday people influence my art—the struggle for survival on the streets, the random conversations.
What job has been the most useful to your artistic career, and how did you get it?
I have worked in advertising for the past seven years. As a fast-paced, creative business industry that is constantly changing and requires you to keep up with the trends, this career more than any other has helped me as an artist. It has helped me understand how to run and maintain the business side of a business, how to market myself and my work, and the tools necessary to reach my target audience. Because of my experience in marketing I have not only been able to help myself, but I've also assisted other artists with their marketing and brand-building needs.
What's next for you in terms of upcoming art projects or exhibitions?
I am currently working with a music venue in Lincolnshire, Illinois, to produce a wide variety of art that will allow me to use all of my artistic skills, including painting, interiors design, graphic design, and sculpture. I am also working on a series about Mexican Luchador Wrestling. It will be my first touring series, and I am working with galleries in six different cities to show this work. It's very exciting for me, because it allows me to use paint and wood in a way I haven't before and in a way that keeps the majority of the wood in its natural state.
Sam Kirk is a multidisciplinary artist who was born on the South Side of Chicago and is of Mexican, Irish, German, Native American, and Puerto Rican descent. Her artwork explores the concepts of merging cultures and intentional/unintentional conflict, and she incorporates raw materials such as wood, steel, and glass into her paintings. She double majored in marketing and interior architecture.