One to Watch

Samantha Nicole Russell

‘Our past is situated elsewhere, and both time and place are impregnated with a sense of unreality.’ – Bachelard.

Born in 1991, UK-based artist  Samantha Nicole Russell graduated from The Manchester School of Art in 2014. Armed with a vibrant color palette, she creates oil paintings whose compositions are loosely inspired by photographs and collages. Through her painting practice, she portrays the inconstancy of places in correlation to our experiences or memories of a place. Memories of a space can blur together and overlap over time, thus creating a wholly new and unrecognizable space. In order to demonstrate this concept, she merges natural landscapes with man-made architectural and interior spaces. Samantha has already started to show her work in the UK, and most recently in 2014 was nominated for the New Sensations Prize with Saatchi Art.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
Within my current practice I have recently explored place, escapism, and the natural landscape. I am interested in the constant movement of time; how the spaces we grow attached to and experience have the capacity to be continuously changing.

I have focused on merging different aspects of various spaces together in reflection of the everyday movement we experience whilst going from one place to the next. This constant movement of our lives and ongoing change produces a fleeting beauty and a nostalgia that I wish to capture within my work. I exaggerate the idea of this changeability by merging imagery from different places whilst also incorporating the everyday non-tangible spaces we escape to within our mind through automatic painting and vivid colours.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I was told by another artist and friend to always be honest with my work. It’s good to take risks, but never produce work just because it may please someone else. Instead, produce work that is genuinely inspired and comes from your mind, heart and soul. If it pleases and inspires others, then it’s an added bonus.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
It really depends on what type of day I’m having; I listen to music to relax which sometimes helps if you don’t want a stressful day to impact on your work. However, sometimes silence helps me to see what’s really happening on a piece of paper or canvas.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
I would have ‘Rain Dance’ by Tamsin Morse hanging up in my front room.  I’ve loved her paintings ever since I saw her work in Art World Magazine when I was about 16.  That particular painting evokes a lot of emotion for me, and I’ve gone back to look at it so often it would be sad to not be able to see it.

Who are your favorite writers?
Gaston Bachelard, Simone de Beauvoir, Alain de Botton, Angela Carter and Georges Perec, to name just a few.