We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Jacobson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, how does your business help the community?
As an artist who is passionate about painting murals, my business helps the community by injecting rich color, joy and personality into an otherwise typical man-made structure. We take for granted how amazing humans are at building the world we wish to see around us. Filling a public space with artwork calls people to stop and take a moment to appreciate that big painted wall, then perhaps keep looking up to notice the beautiful crown molding they never saw before, then on to the fluffy shapes of clouds in the sky. Giving people a larger-than-life moment gets them out of their head and back into the world, allowing them to flip the switch to entertain and nurture their inner child. With my studio pieces and reproductions, I’m able to infuse that same experience into people’s personal lives. Choosing a picture to hang is an important way for people to express themselves in their safe space. Art makes a house a home, an office a gathering place, a restaurant a getaway. In other words, I get to help people feel one with their environments which is very special to me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is heavily influenced by storytelling, the people in them, and the worlds in which those stories are set. Before moving to Austin I was a costume designer in NYC; prior to that, I had the magical experience of earning a Bachelor’s degree in theatrical costume design, also in NYC. Because of this, my brain has been wired to wonder about every detail that has gone into the creation of a person, place, or thing and what colors, textures, silhouettes, and sizes will say about that story. Add to that my experience in silversmithing, wigs & makeup, upholstery, floral design, and a lifetime of painting and other creative play – I’m a mixed media machine! I think this adds a dimension to my work that allows me to dig deeper into my intention than a lot of people are willing to go. I’m proud of the work I’ve done to understand how art influences people and I don’t take it’s power lightly. I see it as a gift with a level of responsibility attached to it, which has come with its challenges. In particular, overthinking myself into a frozen state of perfectionism that makes it hard to create at times. I know a lot of artists experience this, especially when just starting out. Learning that in itself was a big lesson – that I am not alone! Another crucial way I’ve overcome this challenge was by completing the course book called The Artist’s Way by writer Julia Cameron. After years of teaching in-person classes to anyone wanting to overcome a creative block (as we are all creatives in some way), she organized these amazing tools into a book broken down to 12 weeks, helping transform your approach to creativity. I think embarking on the journey she offers is an excellent example of asking for help, which is another thing I’ve learned to do – it takes a village they say! What I want the world to know about me as an artist is my goal is help people tell their stories through art, whether that be on a big wall in their town square, as illustrations in a book, or as a gift to a loved one. My time in theater has given me great collaborative skills and communal projects are one of my greatest joys. I intend to keep telling visual stories through my work, growing my ability to connect with the worldview of others, and inspire them to express their own stories too.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What a challenge – Austin has so many fun things to do! For breakfast, migas and coffee at Cenoté is a must! A morning walk around the Hike & Bike trail is a nice way to soak in Austin’s active outdoor culture while also getting a great view of the city – my favorite spot in particular is the boardwalk in the water on the southern side of the river. A visit to locally owned shops on South Congress is always fun, a lot of Austin artists sell their work in those shops. Some favorites are Limbo Jewelry (I worked for them too!) and Triple Z Threads, Parts & Labour and Big Top Candy. Lunch will be at Guero’s taco stand, especially if a band is playing in the oak garden. The first time I went I thought I was crashing someone’s private party! Or, if you’re more into vintage clothes the shops on North Loop are some of my favorites – particularly Ermine Vintage and Big Bertha’s Paradise (they have the $$$$ stuff, so I go more for inspiration). Next, a dip in Barton Springs and a nap on the hill in the sun to rejuvenate. Go home, crack open a can of one of Austin’s many local craft beers and get done up for a night out on the town while listening to KUTX – and if it’s Friday it’s the Old School Dance Party with John E. Dee!! Then over to East Austin. Tamale House is one of my favorites for dinner, also because it’s a stone’s throw from Yellow Jacket Social Club and The White Horse. Or if you’re fancy, Justine’s Brasserie for delicious French food and wine then you’re very close to the original Lustre Pearl which is home to a lot of great artwork from a lot of my muralist friends. I also highly suggest making it to Austin for one of the East Austin Studio Tour weekends that takes place annually in November – hundreds of artists open their creative spaces to the public by day, with celebrations sponsored by local beverage brands by night.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to my former mentor and forever friend Haley Lebeuf! Haley took me under her wing as a silversmith apprentice with no former experience when she was growing her modern and ethereal jewelry business Haley Lebeuf Jewelry. I was exploring my professional options as a creative, as many other paths I tried didn’t feel quite right. Haley not only taught me everything I know about jewelry making (she got me working at the bench on my own in under a year!) but she also introduced me to the behind-the-scenes of what it is to be a small creative business owner. Her love and trust provided me with so many opportunities to learn not only about creative production processes, but also marketing, branding, delegating, how to have a successful market booth, online store management, retailer interactions, you name it! The example she set for me and the confidence she had in my abilities gave me the self-confidence to start my own creative business. To this day she’s one of my biggest supporters and I count myself lucky to have learned so much from such a boss lady!