Sam Shendi | Interview
SAM SHENDI, SCULPTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE!
Sam Shendi's work is unmistakable. This is an artist who has deleoped a unique sense of shape, form and colour which leaves you in absolutley doubt that when you see one of his pieces, it's a Shendi! We get to know this creative genius in more detail in this exclusive interview.
- What has changed for you creatively speaking since being in lockdown?
- It hasn’t affected my creativity, my studio is close to my house.
- What do you find to be the most challenging part about the work you do right now?
- The problem at the moment is that there is no certainty about what will happen next, or what the future will hold. In fact, life as we know it will change forever. Perhaps the art movement will change too. I still create as much as I did in the past but at the back of my mind, I’m aware of the fact that when we come out of this lockdown things will be very different.
- What are the main tools that make up your current workflow?
- Believing in what you do helps to keep you moving forward.
- What is your favourite tool in the studio?
- I don’t have a favorite tool, I have so many! But if I were to choose one..... or two, as objects it would be my spray gun and my sanding machine. If we are not talking about objects then it’s my brain and my hands. I tend to think so much about things I will do in the future, up to the point where my brain thinks that the sculpture has already been created (but not in the physical world).
- Being a practicing artist, what do you think would come as a surprise to people in terms of what the actual work includes?
- When it comes to my work, my medium is always hidden beneath layers of colours, a lot of people get surprised about the medium I’m using before I cover it in paint. I always invest in high quality material to produce my work. Not to add value, but to respect the connection between my sculptures and I. As with generations of Egyptians before me, they still surprise people today with the quality of craftsmanship, and the difficult mediums which they used to present their concepts. I’ve always tried to do the same by giving the sculpture the best presentation that I can afford. So many people get surprised by how much money I spend to produce my work without caring if it will be sold or not.
- Is anyone in your family an artist or a creative of any type?
- I think I’m the only artist in my family but there are several creatives in my family. I think I took after my dad, but he didn’t pursue his art because he believed it wouldn’t feed anyone. So my family weren’t passionate about encouraging me to be an artist and I don’t think it’s something you choose - you are chosen for it. Also my wife and children are creative.
- What were some of the biggest challenges, or maybe some of the most notable failures that you faced in the process of becoming a full-time artist?
- Becoming a father. My children come before me and my career. For a very long time I had a part time job to be able to support my family and create art work. This also has a negative affect though, working long hours without spending enough time with the children.
- Do you have phases where you become disconnected from your work, or burnt out on what you’re doing? How do you deal with that and continue to create during those times?
- It’s very easy for me to create but I don’t create unless I have reason. So I don’t force myself to create anything. My head is full of endless ideas, so I’m constantly picking up some new idea and creating it. I never try to create all the time, but I always find a philosophical reason to create each concept. If I don’t have a reason or a philosophy then I don’t create and it doesn’t bother me. My work is very labour intensive and from time to time it’s good for my brain and body to stop! It seems for me, my ideas are ‘there’ I just choose when I can bring it to the physical world.
- Have you developed routines or a structure for yourself that's helped you be the most efficient, or is it more of going with the flow?
- I don’t go with the flow when it come to my art. I work a few hours a day, 4-6 on average 7 days a week. This allows me to have my time as an artist daily, but also time with my children.
- What is your favourite piece of work and why?
- I have so many pieces that I don’t have a particular favorite. I don’t create until I’m certain of what I’m going to do, so i don't experiment like other artists. So as a result each time I create a sculpture it has to be worth the time and money I put in to it, so it has to be a favorite. Having said that, sometimes I do change, improve or adapt my sculptures from time to time. Maybe like a painter who overpaints a canvas. I like doing this from time to time, as they grow and develop.