We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Sherry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, what inspires you?
The short answer is horses but it’s not quite that simple. Horses have always been my point of entry into the world, a way of framing, questioning, understanding, connecting, and commemorating. Drawing upon my equestrian past (and present) horse forms and fragments become the language through which these ideas are explored and articulated.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It was nothing short of an epiphany. Many years ago, while wandering the wet streets of Soho, I happened upon an unexpected and yet familiar sight that stopped me cold. There, in the window of an unmarked storefront, was an enormous sepia-toned image of a windblown horse. I stood frozen on the sidewalk, oblivious to the steady drizzle. I was transfixed. It was this serendipitous discovery of a gallery in SoHo, which featured an entire exhibition of massive, wall-sized horse images that freed me.
Still licking my metaphorical wounds from graduate school, I was floundering artistically. The internal battle between what I wanted to make and what I thought I should be making paralyzed me. Voices of past professors who had openly doubted my abilities and dismissed my chosen imagery as trite and cliché, echoed loudly and constantly through my mind. But there, in that gallery, surrounded by Robert Dutesco’s spectacular photos of the Horses of Sable Island, I felt inspired and validated. It was the “permission” I needed to return to the horse.
Sometimes all an artist needs is (perceived) permission. Validated by the show in Soho, I finally allowed myself to use equine imagery in my work. Often varied in style and media, my pieces are unified by subject and theme. Within the work, equine imagery is symbolic and provides the vocabulary and distance necessary to explore deeply personal issues and motifs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a week to share my some of my favorite Arizona spots, I think I’d start in Scottsdale. I can spend days visiting all the incredible museums and galleries. Follow up an afternoon wandering through the shops in Old Town, with dinner and drinks on the patio at Cien Agaves.
Then we’d drive out to Wickenburg for a couple of days. Every March the Desert Caballeros Western Museum hosts a weekend long celebration for the opening of Cowgirl Up! Sale and Exhibition and while I’m admittedly biased, it’s my favorite show of the year. And Wickenburg is great little town to explore In between the events at the museum. I recommend Anita Cocina for lunch.
After a packed weekend in Wickenburg, we drive over to Sedona, stopping for a few hours to check out Jerome. Sedona is one of the most magical places I’ve been and there’s no better way to end a day of hiking than with a great dinner. It’s no secret – evidenced by the line out the door – but Elote is always worth the wait.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, my family and friends. I am beyond lucky to have incredibly caring, supportive parents and wildly encouraging friends. I can’t imagine trying to negotiate my way through life without them.