Artist Feature: Samantha Stephens

Samantha Stephens studies Visual Communication Design with a focus around illustration at Massey’s Wellington campus. Stephens has just returned from a trip to the United States where she travelled from New York down to Sunset Beach for a family reunion. As part of the trip she got to see some of the amazing art the Big Apple has to offer.

What inspires you?

The colour yellow, traveling, political unrest, women, my beautiful friends and my mother.

What is your aesthetic?

Animal-friendly, rainbow-covered public transport.

What was a turning point in your life as an artist?

Right now, going to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, North Carolina Museum of Art and The Museum of Art and Design. I studied these amazing artists in high school and these first couple years at Massey and seeing the works in person has rekindled my fire. Making art and design for class is hard because I love to make things, it’s all I can do. But it becomes a chore and making things outside of class makes me feel guilty that I’m not doing homework. Seeing the immense bodies of work created by Renoir, Kiki Smith and Mondrian has reminded me that there is time for me to achieve everything I want to.

Who is your favourite artist?

Ania Gareeva. She is an Australian artist inspired by Russian and Japanese art, making prints and painting. Her Tumblr is inkyhaus, check it out.

Do you think art can make a difference in the world?

Art documents our past and imagines the future, as well as expressing the moment we are in right now. Photography captured of the Black Lives Matter protests are some of the most charged pieces of art in Western movements. These works can change the world.

What do you see in your future as an artist?

I have literally no clue at the moment other than I need to paint more. I think traveling at the end of this degree will point me towards my future more.

If you could invite five people to dinner, dead or alive, who would they be?

Well the meal would be vegan so I’d invite Bill Clinton, Ellen Page, Ariana Grande, Woody Harrelson and Wacka Flocka.

As an artist what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Keep practising.

What is the centrefold piece about?

I saw that this issue is about alcohol so I thought I’d base it on my recent experiences. I had my drink spiked at a party and it really messed with my head. I had never started to lose vision from two drinks before and so I noticed something was wrong and took an Uber home. My friends looked after me the rest of the night. I love going and having a good night out. But there are people out there that are either malicious or do not understand the consequences of their actions. You shouldn’t have to be afraid of the punch everyone is drinking. So this piece is about the gamble you take; you could have a great night, you could have a bad one, you could bring home a lemon.

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