I always appreciate those who think for themselves; Sam Haid is one of those people.
This School of the Art Institute of Chicago student, collage artist, & thinker is someone we’ve gotten to know well over here at IPaintMyMind HQ. Sam has been an intern with us for the Fall Semester, and has delivered the goods; but this feature is about his art.
We have plenty of great things to say about Sam, the human. But we have just as much praise to heap upon him for the beautiful galactic remixes he creates through his hand-made collage work. Taking inspiration from the internet, various historical and landscape magazines, then fusing those elements together by cutting, pasting, and re-thinking, Sam Haid creates interplanetary options that no one else has ever dreamed of. This is probably one of the main reasons we extoll the virtues of collage at IPaintMyMind… we love the way each artists’ subconscious, interests, and methods come together to create a brand new set of possibilities.
Ahead we chat with the Chicago-based Atlanta-born artist, Sam Haid about his influences, his process, and his high-vibe vision for our collective future.
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Sam: I’m interested in contemporaries who have elevated conscious-thought in the fine art world. Agnes Denes, Ai Wei Wei, Chris Jordan, Barbara Kruger.
Where are you from? How do you think your upbringing or surroundings influenced you creatively?
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up in an unstable and unpredictable home, and the interpersonal connections I craved so badly as a child were not met. I felt caught between worlds of masculinity and femininity, not identifying wholly with either. I was teased and bullied a lot & was sent away to a therapeutic boarding school in Montana for two years for my depression. I think as a kid my trust and love of people was abused, and that has lead me to seek connections outside of people. I found comfort in the arts, whether music or film or 2D fine art. As I have gotten older, I’ve discovered the relationship between the cosmos and the conscious mind, which has been very important to my work.
In your about section, you mention light patterns. It seems you’re more focused on those than the objects that appear between the viewer and the background…
Yes, these light patterns are the focal point. I have a hard time fully understanding it myself, but I am fascinated with the behavior of light. It’s a funny thing to me, that light from the sun travels millions of miles across space only to be blocked and absorbed once it hits matter, like a brick building. My images aren’t focusing on the abrupt halt of light though, they’re focusing on the patterns of light that pass through a window and onto a wall; evidence of the sun even within artificial barriers. I suppose that the objects between me and the background are a metaphor for the materialism that distracts us from reality.
As far as your collage work, tell me a bit about your process. Everything from sourcing images to the steps in creating final works. We’re all ears.
How has your time at SAIC shaped your trajectory as an artist? How do you think of your time in school?
I would certainly say that I’ve matured; I cringe when I think about the work I was making freshman year 😛
SAIC’s interdisciplinary program has been the biggest reward for me. Without being able to explore different departments, I’m not sure that I would still be in school. I need a lot of room for freedom and exploration and mistakes and SAIC has given that to me. With that being said, I’ve also learned what I DON’T want in the art world. The fine art world can be very cold, superficial, and trivial. I want to be a vulnerable, honest, friendly artist.
Do you think collage is becoming more popular these days? I get the feeling that there are more people making collages, whether analog or digitally, probably because there are so many more images out there in modern times. Any thoughts?
I hope so! There needs to be more exposure for collage artists. Collage is really unique in that you can create dreamlike imagery from mundane, real-life pictures. It’s a bizarre dichotomy of real and surreal. Not to mention our society is saturated with images, whether advertisements or pictures on our iPhones. Since the smartphone boom, I feel that images are almost replacing text.
What are a few collages of yours that you are particularly fond of? Why do you think you like those more?
“How Old Am I? How Many Universes Have I Lived Through?” is a special piece to me. The title is a question, along with many other questions, I ask myself constantly. I feel very out of place on Earth, and thinking with a larger, cosmic perspective makes me feel more grounded, ironically. I also just finished a piece titled, “Home”. It is the first time I’ve placed myself within a collage, which is uncomfortable to me.
Tell us more about how the cosmos plays into your work…
I think human beings have an identity-crisis of sorts. We have created a completely inaccurate story of the nature of our being, through organized religion and egocentric capitalism. We are allowing Earth’s ecosystem to be destroyed for the sake of profit, profit that does not even touch on aiding the millions of impoverished people in the world. Things feel very backwards to me, peoples priorities are in the wrong place.
I think humans need to remember that we are part of an entire organism: the Earth. We are not better than it. We are not on Earth. We ARE Earth. If we can understand how interdependent and connected we truly are, perhaps as a collective we can create a reality that more peaceful, intelligent, and equal to all of the environment. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Call me a crazy idealist, I don’t care.
We are in agreement, dude. Was there ever a point in your life where you decided you were going to be an artist? If so, what brought that to be, if not, why do you think it wasn’t ever a specific decision?
I was always a creative. When I was a young kid I wanted to be a singer, then I moved onto film and acting. My junior year in high school is when I started delving into 2D visual art. It never felt like a conscious decision, but the arts is something I was always naturally drawn to.
Name one artist IPMM readers should check out right now.
Aimee Beaubien, a fabulous Chicago-based collage sculpture artist.