Samantha Grr Ectoplasm
year of birth: 1986
Q1: When did you start making art?
I started as a child, encouraged by my mother who’s an artist. At first, i wanted to be a poet and a writer since i was 8 years old. I thought for a long time that i was destined to be a writer, i loved litterature and pictured myself in that field. Slowly visual art became a medium i enjoyed to express myself. At 18, after high school, i chose to go study visual arts at university, so i guess i could say it began there, althought i experimented different mediums before i knew i wanted to specify myself in drawing. A turning point was in 2009, when i moved from France to Canada and started to draw and exhibit more consistently.
Q2: What does inspire you?
I’m inspired by what i live, the existencial questions, the feelings and views i have on what it’s like to be human. My drawings reflects what i understand about the psyche and its different states. I’m driven by the desire to create beauty, whatever that means, in what usually looks depressing or disturbing.
I’m influenced by symbolist painters from the 19th century, contemporary drawing, archetypal psychology, anatomy books, mythology and religion.
Q3: What are your techniques?
I use black pen on paper to draw the lines. I color with pencils, sometimes watercolor, or ink.
Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
The main idea is that the experience of being human is in constant motion, a work in progress. We go throught cycles of spiritual growth, death and renewal. Aesthetically, i deform anatomy as a way to express mutations of the mind, vulnerability of existence, complexity of oneself as i believe the langage of emotions is very linked to parts of the body. The characters i depict are often tortured, literally rip open, in sacrificial and/or ecstatic position. I like to reflect on how we are chained to our past, self-destructive patterns, heritage and we have to recognize it, honor it to go beyond it. So there’s a coexistence of violence, tension, control and letting go.The idea is that to evolve, we have to face the dark feelings to appreciate them for the way it makes us multidimentional humans. My work is very introspective, as I want to create something meaningful to me, symbols, images to remember a phase i was in.
Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I mainly use black, white, red, some blue and fleshtones. I like mute colors and I seldom use bright colors.
Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
There’s a lot of things i’d like to improve. It’s very difficult for me to feel satisfied about what i do, thanks to my natural shitty perfectionism! I think it’s doing me no favor because it ruins a bit the spontaneous pleasure of creating. So i would say that what i would like to improve is how i perceive myself and my practice, and not putting too much pressure on improving and just trusting anything that will come out of it.
Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
I don’t have much plans, except keep on trying to be true to myself and create art that makes your skin crawl.
Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of Ectoplasm.
Tortured, raw, symbolic.
Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
”Eros & Thanatos” February 2012 HERE. I chose this drawing, even if it’s not my very first drawing (as i said, i’ve always been drawing) but for me it’s the first one where i really challenged myself and started an aesthetic is still have now. I drew it twice before i was satisfied with the result, i did put a lot of time to do it, unlike before where i was more rushed to draw quickly and consider it finished!
It was the first time i used pen and drew shades (before, my bodies were very flat!) and i drew from photos for the characters faces. It put a lot of myself in it since it described the exciting but scaring feeling of falling in love and open it up to someone else. I represent it as a vulnerable state where you feel stripped down by this feeling and you must show what you have inside, all the fears, expectations, scars, althought you’d like to hide them. Some people see it as very morbid and scary, the woman being torn and the man trying to hold her back from something. Althought it’s not how i see it, it’s an interesting thought!
Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
I see a lot of anatomical mistakes and akwardness in this drawing, thought its endearing, sincere qualities. I guess now, i try to be more acurate for proportions, shades, ect. Also now, i add colors, which was really intimidating at that time, because i didn’t trust myself as an artist. This has been the first one of works where i really wanted to improve my skills and my ideas, and slowly gained more confidence in my practice.
Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
Art is the most honest way for me to communicate with others. It’s also the most enigmatic, the one that calls a part in the self that is more inconscious. It’s not escaping, it’s reveling one of the reality in the multiple reality that exist, like another dimension. It’s also confronting me, by creating or viewing, with what the least desirable things in us, our frailty, our self-destruction, our slow decay, and our blindness in order to be able to see all the subtle variations, all the shades of grey. It’s a reflective but also reactive way of understanding myself and how the world unfurls. It’s also the meaningful initiatic rites the modern society we live in didn’t manage to give me. I could go on and on and on about this topic, but i’ll stop here!