By Trolf and Trippe
John and I went to visit Sam Floress studio the other day. Its in that weird, indefinite area in San Francisco that maybe isnt quite the Tenderloin and isnt quite Nob Hill. I think maybe its called the Tender Nob? Is that gross? Maybe it is. Sams studio is pretty unsavory, so maybe the gross sounding name of the neighborhood is sort of apt.
Hes got a rad space on the ground floor of the building he lives in, and when we visited Sam was busy preparing for an upcoming show at Lab 101 in LA. The show opens on the 12th and its kind of geared towards little kids, which seems oddly fitting since many of Sams paintings embrace this aesthetic of child-like fantasy land wonder and are populated by a litany of ectomorphs draped in stuffed animal pelts.
Sams been busy painting a series of wooden cutouts of his trademark figures and assembling it all into fantastical bedroom creations for the privileged children of creative types. Oddly enough, all the children in Sams work seem to be frowning. Or maybe theyre grimacing. They look sad or confused. Sam was quick to point this out to us and wondered whether it was subconscious. I just assumed it was part of the aesthetichow Sams work is footed halfways in this morass of childhood fantasy and halfways in this sort of perpetual adolescence/cusp of adulthood gray area that so many of us seem to find ourselves stuck in. I mean, how many of us are as old as our parents were when they had kids? How many of us have nowhere near that level of responsibility? That childhood/adulthood dichotomy has got to be confusing (at least it is for me), and so I imagine it would manifest itself in Sams paintings, which seem to exist at the intersection of this confusion. Either way, I like the paintings.
The walls are covered with spent paper outlines that mirror the cutouts, and the floor is lined with crate after crate of paint cans and stacks of reference books. Its a comfortable space, complete with couch and tv and a separate computer/office space in the back. Back to what I wrote earlier, though, the part about Sams studio being somewhat unsavory. Well, the thing about that is that theres this weird crawlspace under the stairs. Sam uses it for storage, but thats not the unsavory part. The thing about this crawl space is that its closed off from the rest of the studio by a thick steel door with padlocks and latches. The floor of the crawlspace has these odd tracks and runners installed. And oh yeah, theres a window in the steel door made of inch-thick bulletproof glass. Sam had no idea what the previous occupants of his space could possibly have used the room for. John and I immediately agreed that the crawlspace was some sort of torture chamber or dungeon. Fucking bulletproof glass inside? Padlocks? The whole thing had bad vibes written all over it.
Maybe Sams paintings are sad because he paints them in a torture chamber. Either way, the studio creeped me out something wicked. No amount of stuffed animal costumes can erase the bad vibes of years worth of torture and virgin sacrifice thats sure to have taken place there.
Make sure to go check out Sams show if youre down in L.A. Buy some of his paintings so he can afford to move to a non-haunted studio.
& If near LA on Saturday May 12th, check out Sam's solo show - Kid N' Play @The Lab 101.
|< Prev||Next >|