Sam Weber was born in Alaska, Sam grew up in Deep River Ontario, Canada. After attending the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, he moved to New York to pursue illustration and attend graduate school at The School of Visual Arts. His studio is in Brooklyn. He is married to Jillian.
Sam Weber’s paintings are rich in colour, and full of emotion. He paints a dark world of vampires and demons, yet sustains an elegant, classical feel to his illustrations. Jessica Allan spoke to him to find out how, when and where these creations came to life.
How did you develop such a distinctive painting technique? Did you learn it at art school?
Like with most things, I think it developed over time. Art school was a great first step in getting me set on the right path, but I think I made my most important leaps and discoveries afterwards. It’s so important to keep pushing yourself after school. Illustration can be very craft oriented, and it takes time to develop the hand and observation skills necessary to make professional looking work. Working in my sketchbook and on personal projects has been essential in developing my body of work.
What materials do you employ? Do you use a computer to manipulate your images?
I use watercolour, acrylic paint and ink for the most part. Some gouache also. Inevitably everything is scanned into the computer, and the majority of my work is further finished in Photoshop.
Do you work with narrative or text when painting, if not where do your images come from?
The majority of what I do involves interpreting text or narratives. It’s one of the things that drew me to illustration in the first place. The personal images in my pictures are derived from a variety of places – mythology and fairy tales, childhood experiences, things I’ve stolen from other artists, etc.
Can you explain the concept behind Glengarry Glen Ross?
Glengarry Glen Ross is a play is about salesmen desperate to outdo each other. The art director Anthony Swaneveld and I came up with the idea of portraying them as hyenas. It seemed like a fitting symbol for the themes within the play.
What artists have inspired you in the past?
Some of my artistic influences include Max Ernst, Yoshitaka Amano, Brad Holland, Casper David Friedrich, David Lynch, Otto Dix, etc.