There is something about Samuel Quinn’s presence that reminds me of a fella from the jazz era; maybe it’s his cool attitude and choices of apparel, or the way he slicks his gelled blond hair back with a fine-toothed comb. And when we chatted about his work in the upcoming Panopticon Gallery Summer Group Exhibition Extravaganza, I expected a pack of smokes to be folded in his shirt sleeve.
|Samuel Quinn, 743 5th Avenue, from the series DRIP, 2012|
The contemporary artist and New England School of Photography graduate describes his work as “scatter-brained, therapeutic, and purposeful.”
Having struggled with depression and drug and alcohol use, photography has become his life remedy. Passion is truly epiphanic.
“You can deal with your feelings in a healthy way,” says Samuel Quinn. “Art is my savior.”
Breaking the humerus bone in his arm in a skateboarding accident brought Samuel to a halt. It was a time when he became isolated, but also inspired. He developed Drip, a series of photographs appropriated from old images found in magazines, newspapers, books and family albums. Paint is trickled, and googly eyes are pasted on the features of individuals that make them distinct. Samuel has even scribbled on paintings by Rembrandt.
|Samuel Quinn, Manchester Googly Eye, from the series DRIP, 2011|
“I am taking famous, cherished pieces of art and devaluing them,” says Samuel about the compositions that he creates.
During this period, Samuel became interested in graffiti as well. He disliked the Boston art scene and how galleries can be “stuck in traditional sensibilities.” His rebellion later got him arrested on Newbury Street a week before meeting Jason Landry, the owner of Panopticon Gallery.
Exiting the Hotel Commonwealth lobby, Samuel and I decided to take our conversation to a park in Kenmore Square. He offered me his wool cardigan – that was more of a dress on me – and I thawed out as he sat beside me with one arm on the back of the bench and a cigarette between his index and middle fingers. We watched as a male pigeon did his mating dance, standing tall, bopping his head up and down and dragging his tail feathers, while the female walked away disinterested. Samuel chased one, hoping to get a photograph of the bird’s wingspan as a birthday present for his little sister.
Interested in documenting movement, the artist shoots Super 8mm movie film to slow action down frame by frame. Each piece is about one second in time. Samuel hopes to make short films in the future.
The products of his wayward shenanigans, Super 8mm, Polaroids, and other alternative processes can be seen in the group exhibition from July 12- September 11, 2012.
“I am most excited to see how people react to Drip,” says the artist.
To see more work by Samuel Quinn, (click here) to visit the Panopticon Gallery website.
-Marianne Salza, Panopticon Gallery Intern