Updated: Oct 4
Samantha Redfern is a visual artist based in Singapore. She has been featured in many exhibitions both locally and internationally and will be exhibiting at Art Vancouver in May.
“I love the art world,” Samantha says. “Exhibitions like Art Vancouver can be a great platform to meet other artists. I think artists are just the most supportive group of people.”
Collaborating and supporting other artists
Samantha loves collaborating with and supporting other artists. Samantha booked a large booth at Art Vancouver because the smaller booths were all reserved. She did this knowing she needed to fill the space, so she reached out to another artist on Instagram and asked if they would like to share the space. The artist agreed, and they’ll meet for the first time in-person at Art Vancouver.
“Meeting over Instagram is just how things are done these days, and you can build up friendships over time. Painting can be quite lonely. You can spend a lot of time alone, and you don’t really see anybody. This is why I love exhibitions: collaborating, sharing spaces and talking with other artists.”
Samantha goes on to say you don’t need an official exhibition to collaborate.
“You don't need a gallery to be represented. Get some artists. Get some wine. Get a venue, and then just do it yourself.”
Bigger is not necessarily better
Samantha has gained experience from exhibiting at festivals and shared her key takeaways.
“I found that art fairs are not necessarily the best place to sell big pieces. I've seen people prefer smaller pieces because they're affordable. I know when I go to an art fair myself and other artists quite like to buy a piece as a memento. Most people aren’t going to spend thousands of dollars.”
“Secondly, people prefer small pieces because they are more flexible. Smaller pieces can fit anywhere.
Its different now people don’t have the space at home or the finances. My biggest seller is just under a metre. Smaller pieces equal high volume.”
“However, small pieces can be tricky,” Samantha says. “People think because it's smaller they shouldn't pay that much. The psychology is that a big art piece equals expensive. People don’t appreciate that a small piece can take the same time as a big piece to create. So, I'm trying to find a way where I can make my time cost-effective, creating small eye-catching pieces that I can sell at an affordable rate. That's a tricky thing to do.”
Framing is another key element Samantha says to think about when exhibiting.
“Going abroad, for instance, can be difficult and expensive if you've got loads of clunky, heavy frames such as glass. You must think logistically.
I make my pieces easily transportable, so they won’t cost a fortune in transportation and taxes. This is another reason why taking smaller pieces is beneficial.”
Empty exhibitions can still be useful
One exhibition taught Samantha that there can still be positive takeaways from empty exhibitions.
“You can't look at it as black and white. Thanks to one empty exhibition, I was invited to another art show by a connection I made, and that led to more doors being open. I met loads of people and made loads of connections and it gave me opportunities going forward. I think if I was busy selling, I wouldn't have had any chance to go around and meet all the galleries and make all those connections. So, a flop ended up spring-boarding me.”
Samantha's collection: Jungle
Jungle is Samantha's latest collection she is currently working on and will be shown at Art Vancouver.
“I’m spontaneous with my collections. I don’t stick to one style. Because I live in Singapore, it's a city and jungle. I used to create more cityscapes, and then I moved on to abstract expressionism. Now I'm combining the two and creating jungle mixed media pieces.”
Samantha has added small amounts of glitter to the pieces because it adds another dimension.
“At first, I worried that people won’t think I’m serious if I use glitter, but then I thought I don’t need to be serious. It becomes an interactive experience for the viewer. When the light changes it reflects different parts of the painting. From daylight to switching on evening lights they end up viewing new stuff. It's fun for the viewer and me and I give them something new.”
Samantha felt liberated when she chose to experiment.
“For so many years I thought I've got to paint realistically to be a valid artist. And of course, that's not true at all. It was liberating and freeing to create abstract art. And a lot of artists who start with realism, love going into abstract. You find your real voice, like your inner child, and it makes me happy. Because art isn't just about painting something to sell. It's a process, a journey.”
Samantha primarily paints on canvas, but she’s just started experimenting with rice paper. At one recent exhibition in Singapore that featured primarily female Asian artists, one piece caught her eye.
“The rice paper was saturated and absorbed the pigment more so than the traditional Chinese paintings. Because I use inks, I hadn’t thought about using this thin, delicate paper before, but I like to keep experimenting. I'm constantly excited to try new things and new materials, so I went to my local art shop and bought some. It's an interesting material.”
Samantha is planning on bringing a couple of pieces created on rice paper to Art Vancouver, so come and see the pieces for yourself.
Come meet Samantha
Samantha would love to connect with you at Art Vancouver.
“I want other artists to come over and say hi. Introduce yourselves and create those connections, because one of the top reasons I am coming to Art Vancouver isn't about selling, it's about life experience. That's why I love doing this kind of thing because it enables me to have these adventures, meet people and have a bit of fun.”
By: Wendy Cooper