Sculptor and YouTuber Samantha Shumaker sets herself apart by letting her imagination run absolutely wild
Thinks that make you go hmmm ...
It isn’t enough to simply be a great artist anymore. To make a stink on the planet, creatives need to hone those precious skills into something that makes thumbsurfers stop, breathe and say, daaaamn.
It’s what Orlando-based sculptor, painter and YouTube creator Samantha Shumaker is all about. She’s amassed a rabid following with her time-lapse videos of paintings and sculptures that harkens back to everything from old school renaissance masterpieces to contemporary pop culture icons like Tyler, the Creator and PewDiePie.
And if you’re thinking they may be just a bit creepy, Shumaker agrees. That’s the point. “I think the juxtaposition of the uneasiness of the unknown paired with vivid color palettes and otherworldly creatures is such a wonderful blend,” she says, “a yin and yang of emotions that is thrilling for me personally.”
So, first thing's first, who are you and what do you do?
I am a self-taught sculptor, painter and YouTube creator based out of Orlando, Florida. My specialty is ethereal and creepy surrealist portraiture using a variety of mediums, usually starting with a roughed out graphite doodle and eventually morphing into a semi-realistic dimensional portrait sculpture, complete with real human hair and resin clay mounted on a piece of wood.
What are some of your first memories of creating art?
When I lived in Miami as a 5-year-old, I had a little secret book where I would draw people from a nude Playboy Magazine I would reference. When my older sister found out about my secret books, she ratted on me and I got my anatomical reference book taken away. Thankfully, my parents gave me a stack of paper and far more G-rated magazines for reference and I haven’t stopped drawing people since.
What kind of formal training, if any, have you taken?
I have no formal training, I learned everything I know through good old trial and error, YouTube tutorials, books at the library, criticism and tips I receive online, and a lot of sensible advice from artists I admire. A lot of the advice I found through these avenues are from people with formal training, so I get 'secondhand' training, if you will.
What kind of music do you vibe to while in the studio creating?
Psychedelic, electronic, groovy sounds are my favorite. Music with a sense of vertigo to it is great. I’ll listen to anything that makes you want to grow a ‘fro, grab some roller skates and a time machine.
What prices do your pieces normally go for?
My prices range depending on the medium, size and amount of time it takes to finish a piece. Drawings, paintings and sculptures can range in the hundreds to thousands, murals typically go for the thousands or tens of thousands.
As far as your sculptures go, what is the feedback you get from people? They're kinda scary ...
The feedback is mostly positive, especially when there’s a story to the piece. I am a knowledge hound and fall asleep regularly to top ten spooky fun facts videos, so I have a fun database of videos like 'Top 10 Most Mysterious Creature Sightings' in my head. That inspires my work and it adds more fun to the process, and I think that resonates with people as they can chime in with their own thoughts on the matter.
Why do you think you enjoy getting creepy with your work?
I enjoy going the creepy route because I personally love spooky stories and movies. I love movies like Annihilation, Midsommar and Pan’s Labyrinth. Especially movies that incorporate sci-fi or Fantasy elements, those movies that elicit mind-bending awe and stellar visuals are my personal favorite. I think the juxtaposition of the uneasiness of the unknown paired with vivid color palettes and otherworldly creatures is such a wonderful blend, a yin and yang of emotions that is thrilling for me personally.
What's a theme you have in your head now you really want to bring into the physical world?
I really want to go bigger and further with the themes I’ve been doing; so making it more immersive, using more textures, and making them life size or even larger than life would pose an interesting challenge. I really want to make experiencing the work a more sensory experience rather than just seeing a stationary piece of work. Hence why I love the medium of video for presenting my work; I can put it all out there in video format, for anyone to experience.
Is there anything else you want our readers to know? Upcoming projects? Shows? New releases? TELL US!
A whole mish mash of new projects are in the works. Any upcoming shows are usually announced via my social media and I’m regularly creating and posting to my YouTube channel as well. So if spooky surreal portraiture is your thing, you should definitely come join the party!