Lucas Sams

There’s really nothing like young art. Be it raw and edgy, or crisp and clean, fresh art offered by fledgling artists, especially when the work is good, holds the promise of potential; the possibility of even better things to come. Jasper takes notice of new artists on the Columbia arts scene and strives to be sure everyone is aware of the energy their new art brings.

This issue’s Newly Noticed Artist is Lucas Sams.

A young artist exploring both abstraction and realism, Sams was born and raised in Greenwood, South Carolina where he attended a local Christian school, but received no formal education in art or arts appreciation. In 2006, Sams left home to live and study at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Prior to attending the Governor’s School, Sams had worked primarily with illustrations, graphic arts, and ceramics. But his new environment and the influence of innovative instructors, such as artist and teacher Paul Yanko, opened up fresh ideas to Sams and he soon began to work with oils. “I had never really considered working with paint until I took Yanko’s class,” Sams says. “He made me want to paint.”

Upon graduation from the Governor’s School, Sams traveled to Tokyo where he studied painting at the Temple University Tokyo Campus. His major professor there was the Brazilian-born eco-artist, Walderedo De Oleveira. De Oleveira taught Sams the technique that he most often uses in his work today.  After returning to the US in 2008, Sams enrolled at the University of South Carolina and began working on an undergraduate degree.

“During the first half or so of my career at USC I didn’t enjoy the department or feel like I fit in at all. It wasn’t until my senior year that things finally clicked and I started doing installation, particularly Site Specific art,” Sams says. Site Specific art is any artwork that is created to exist in a specific space, typically exploring themes and relationships within the conceptual environment. Sams also began working with found objects, which he says helped him with his painting.

Sams credits his major professors David Voros and Sara Schneckloth with huge leaps in his growth as an artist. Of Schneckloth he says, “She was the first person who told me to do whatever insane thing I could come up with to do. I had said that I wanted to branch out and experiment, and she said, ‘do it.’ Now I do a fusion of classical painting and abstraction – I prefer working with oils, but I also use a lot of unorthodox mediums like toothpaste and bodily fluids.”

Sams’ versatility caught the eye of Jasper; that, and his ease with full round strokes. He has shown his work in Columbia at the Tapp’s Arts Center, Gallery 80808, 701Whaley, Anastasia and FRIENDS, and the McMaster Student Gallery and the McMaster Gallery on the campus of USC. Outside of Columbia, Sams has exhibited at the McCormick County Artists Guild and the Lipscomb Gallery at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.

Jasper is watching you, Lucas. No pressure.

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