Provocation is a common theme for Sam Kirk, a multidisciplinary and multicultural artist. It is at the center of not only her work but also her personal journey. Unintended at times and wielded at others, Sam uses art to provoke people to feel, see or understand things differently.

Throughout her academic career Sam learned about divine proportion, scale and visual aesthetics. However, when it came to creating her artwork she learned by doing, experimenting and practicing. She sought out help from other local artists in the community and learned how to create by giving her brain what it needed, hands on instruction.

After graduating with a BFA in interior architecture and marketing she got a job in advertising. At the same time she worked her way into an artist community through gallery connections and studio interactions. Using moments of mentorship as a guide, she discovered how to extend materials, play with texture and perfect her creative process as an artist.

“The way I experience painting a canvas is in my mind. I put myself into the piece. My emotions spread out on the canvas to re-experience the memories and culture that existed in neighborhoods that have since been gentrified, to re-experience people that I have met at one time or another.”

The process of placing herself into a piece started when Sam was a young girl. She painted what she knew, what she saw and that was the South side of Chicago. Her environment was full of the physical manifestations of her own multicultural upbringing. Mexican, Puerto Rican and European heritage gave her an identity she loved and celebrated. Experiencing these cultures in the people and places surrounding her let her brain and imagination sink further into them.