Interview with Sean Samoheyl
q)Please introduce yourself.
a)Hello I'm Sean Samoheyl
q) Where do you live and work?
a)I live and work at Twin Oaks community which
is a worker owned farm collective where I make rope,
work in forestry, work in hay, garden and other
farm tasks. As well as make art and put on performances
with improvisation and puppet shows.
q) How would you describe your work to
someone who has never seen it?
a)My work consists of carved wooden figures
varying in sizes from
and I also work larger in wood using chainsaws.
The pieces are often painted or treated with some
fiber element. The puppetry is made from chip board
and articulated with brads as hinges. I perform
using a small theater mounted on my chest like
an accordion. The work is usually funny and I
try to deal with serious issues too.
q) How did you start in the arts? How/when
did you realize you were an artist?
a)I wanted to go to art school. I was following
a lot of the skateboarders who made their own
graphics and graffiti artists from the 80's. I realized
I was an artist when I moved to Twin Oaks farm
and started selling things through a gallery.
q) What are your favorite art materials and why?
a)Wood. Wool. Metal. Pen and paper.Things
that have a long rich history. I like drawing these
days a lot with pencil and paper or colored pens
or colored pencils. I have worked in welding too
which I like but don't do as much these days.
Mostly, I'm parenting in my free time
now and doing puppetry.
q) What/who influences you most?
a)It's weird to say, but maybe Myspace. Magazines
like ANP Quarterly. Kids in art school. But also The
Nabis, David Park, The artists at Cinders Gallery.
Claes Oldenburg, Ray Johnson, Karel Appel, Misaki Kawai,
Jim Drain, Munch, Cecily Brown, Edgar Tolson,
George Condo, Mike Kelly, Skateboarding,
Tarkovsky films, Dana Schutz, Jules de Balincourt,
De Kooning, Joan Brown, Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith,
Joan Mitchell, Barry McGee, Chris Johanson,
Kathe Kollewitz, Keegan McKargue, John Currin,
Franz West. Punk music from the 90's and 80's.
Cartoons. Farm equipment. Inventions and inventors.
Miranda July. Peter Doig.
q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.
a)Fretting and pacing and then being super focused
and not stopping for hours until the work is finished.
q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to
achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?
a)I want to create a junk room of sculptures made
from all manner of appliances. I want to perform on
David Letterman on TV. I want to meet my favorite
artists and have conversations with them. I want to do
trades with my favorite artists.
q) What contemporary artists or developments in
art interest you?
a)There's too many to mention. Many are listed above.
I'm very interested in the underground as well as the
super successful. I'm interested in the super inflated
art market and how stars are made and why. I'm also
interested in the cast aside or forgotten groups of artists.
Particularly from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Women's groups
and artists who challenged the system in a powerful way.
The Black Panthers' art, feminist groups, labor oriented
groups. People who gave art away, and those who made
tons of money. Damien Hirst for example. But also Banksy.
Outsiders. I think the money aspect is funny. It's a
symbol of the priorities we have or the collectors and
gallerists who generate the interest and hype. I'm interested
in fairs, and blogs. The Black Mountain school in NC.
Joseph Albers, Twombly, Harmony Korine, Matt Leines,
it goes on and on! Taylor McKimens! I couldn't remember
his name. He's good. Nina Bovasso's good too.
q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
a)1 day to 1 week or it always remains unfinished and
has to remain that way forever because sometimes I
like it better that way.
q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally
attached to them?
a)I really enjoy selling work. I'm seldom attached to a work.
Sometimes though if it's in my home long enough and I
develop a relationship with that work the way a collector
might. I start to sort of see it like another person's work
even if I sort of think it sucks.
q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some
things you're listening to now?
a)Music is so huge to me. I listen to my wife's music a
lot. " Super Daughter", Also New Young Pony Club,
Fugazi, The Make Up, Iron and Wine, No Age, Pelican Ossman,
Sonic Youth, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Rachels,
Eric Satie. A super long list.
a)I'm sort of embarrassed to say I'm reading Harry
Potter now. I'm in the 4th book. I'm also reading
some Kenneth Koch poetry and Frank O'hara. I like Rilke,
Nabokov, and Raymon Carver.
q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding
creativity or the creative process?
a)I have a spiritual practice. I ask the creator
q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing)
when you're not creating?
a)I'm not sure I understand the question. I often take
breaks when I'm creating and listen to the radio.
I like interviews with artists and film makers. I listen
to a lot of radio. NPR, BBC. I also enjoy going skateboarding
for a break when I can to think about the things I want
to make or am in the process of making. When I'm creating
though, I guess I enjoy creating. Carving wood, drawing,
performing, goofing off.
q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that
you are particularly excited about?
a)I just found out I'm performing some time at Hope
Gallery in L.A. California. I also have a puppet show
next week in Charlottesville, VA at the Twisted Branch
Tea House. I will be doing a gallery show at ADA gallery
in Richmond where I will install a small drive-in theater
with small cars and project my films onto a small screen.
q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how?
What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?
a)Magazines like Artforum and Beautiful/Decay and ANP,
Art Papers, all of which I subscribe to. I like Parkett and
Cabinet too. Fader, I read the New Yorker obsessively as
well as the New York Times, The Guardian Weekly, the
Economist, Utne Reader, Artforum's blog, ANP's blog
is awesome! Miranda July's blog, Alec Soth used to have
a photo blog, Art in the Age of Reproduction, Zoe Strauss
is rad, Aaron Cohen's occasional photo blog, I like
Loyal Gallery in Sweden. I like surfing all over for new links.
I always follow links on artists pages and blogs. I love
trivia, doing NYT crossword puzzles and reading all the
info on the answers. I love wikipedia.
q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer,
and answer it.
a)Why do you obsess so much about information
in the art world? I want to learn as much as possible
to be able to talk on any level with gallerists, curators and
writers, directors, dancers, carnies, hobos, professors,
entrepreneurs, apiarists, gardeners, foresters, machinists,
engineers, architects, historians. I want to become or be
a polymath. Or maybe a polyglot.
q) Any advice for aspiring artists?
a)Study, work hard. But be informed. Ignorance is
annoying. Also be nice to other artists. Have interests,
the best art is informed by all sorts of other interesting
things. The poet Wallace Stevens was an insurance man.
Sophia Coppola wanted to design clothes. Goethe wanted
to be an architect. Schopenhauer wanted to play the
violin. Duchamp with chess. Cartier Bresson wanted to
be a painter. Find other interests other than art I guess.
For me, it's everything. With a focus on skateboarding.
q) Where can we see more of your work online?
myspace.com/samoheyl/ facebook, under Sean Samoheyl. Cinders Gallery used to
http://www.sanangelfolkart.com/ Molte Grazie.