When I look at my art now it's no surprise that the nature of my work has changed over the past 15 years. There are spots of time in the last ten years where I didn't create any art at all beyond a doodle or two. However, I can look at my work from college and see how my current style is worlds away from where I started.
I was primarily a drawing artist when I was college. I wasn't very interested in painting because I had only experienced oil and had not tried acrylic paint yet. I found that oil painting was stinky and annoying to wait around for. So, I studied drawing and honed my technical skill. I took everything from basic techniques to advanced experimental art and I logged hundreds of hours drawing the nude human form in all shapes and sizes. Despite the fact that I think of myself as a painter, I regret nothing about taking so many drawing classes. After all, drawing is the basis for much of painting so it ended up bolstering my skills in the long run.
One of my favorite ways to draw was with charcoal, which is messy yet wonderful. It was a natural leap for me to go from intensive drawing toward painting. The skills I learned in those classes ended up being the basis for my understanding of painting. I remember that even as a drawing artist that I would incorporate pale colors into my work using watercolor or gouache.
My present work is anything but muted in color and I'm happy to feel nothing like the student I was in college. I almost exclusively follow my intuition while creating my artwork designs and hold value the stream of consciousness creative model.
How has your art style changed?
Questions? Email Me.
I was accepted to two schools during my senior year of high school: University of Maine Orono and Lesley University. I had a big interest in Lesley after learning about their art education program in conjunction with The Art Institute of Boston. At the time, I wanted to be a teacher and their art education program was well known.
The single most important thing I learned there was abstract thought. It was in college that I learned to think in a creative way and how to better craft my ideas. Abstract thinking implies contemplating outside of reason and relies on symbols and ideas.
Here’s a very detailed and clinical sounding article about what abstract thought means.
A close second to this lesson is the art of defending your work and it’s message. Twice yearly, Lesley students at the Art Institute of Boston collect their work from the previous semester for presentation in front of 4 professor jurors. “Critique Week” it was called, and we all hated it. This biannual tear-down to my soul pushed me to defend my work which proved to be very valuable later on. Art school helped me open my eyes to the value of my strange mind. I learned that there are tons of people in the world who think like me and that we add something to society by doing what comes naturally: creating!
Questions? Email Me.
Looking up to famous artists is one of the smartest things that I can do for my prosperity. I like to read other peoples stories of success and apply their tactics to my own life. I recently finished “Tools of The Titans” by Tim Ferriss which examines the habits of very successful people. Literature like that makes me feel I’ve leveled up after I'm done. Think about it, reading is a quick way to assimilate others’ knowledge for your own use. All with no power or WiFi required. Thanks, books! Shout out to local libraries too, man. Talk about doing the good work for communities everywhere.
Anywho, I’m here today to talk to you about my favorite artists. These are the people who inspire and influence me the most. This isn’t an exhaustive list and there’s no particular order to it. I’m purposely excluding classical artists. Expect posts dedicated to these people in the future. Click through and let me know if you agree with me.
I’m actually a little late to the “Baskets” game. Have you seen this show? If not, I implore you to check it the hell out! It's great. I discovered this show embarrassingly recently: Jan. 2019 or so...and promptly binge watched it. Around this time two cloon-type things merged in my life at once which can’t be coincidence, right? After the Creative Mirror show last year, I found a mentor in Grey Anatoli Cross. He tipped me off about a show that was coming up that he was taking part in and the subject matter was clowns. I had been watching Baskets recently and was intrigued by the show, so I wrote to the art director and asked to take part. I ended up getting into the show. The Baskets piece plus some of my stream of consciousness paintings were displayed for a few weeks while the show ran here in New Orleans. I posted the painting on social media and got some serious love from the official BasketsFX account on both Twitter and Instagram. Cool!
I woke up one morning a few days later to a comment directly from Louie Anderson saying he loved it! It was really, really cool (to say the least) to see the response.
Please watch Baskets, it’s brilliant! We need as many seasons of this original and unique show as we can get. (Season 4 starts in June 2019)
Hello Party People:
I wanted to update you on which comedians I’m painting next.
Questions? Email Me
In November 2018, I went to a Doug Benson show in New Orleans at Cafe Istanbul. I had tweeted about my excitement the night before the show and Doug ended up mentioning my tweet on stage. He started reading my Twitter name aloud and said : “Hey wait, is your last name really Galactica?” I huffed loudly and just said: “NO.” I’m kinda delighted to say got a laugh or two from Doug and the crowd. Needless to say, I have been asked more than a few times if Samantha Galactica is my real name. In the interest of transparency and honesty to the people who have supported me, I’d like to clarify and share a few things:
My given name is Samantha Hayslip, I was born in 1987. I grew up in Lisbon, Maine. (Never heard of it? I’m not shocked.) I went to the local public schools and graduated from high school in 2005. After high school I moved to Cambridge, MA and started attending the Art Institute of Boston. I went there for about 2 years and learned about a few different types of art in a short amount of time. I studied art history, I learned about photography, I was taught how to paint in oil and how to draw. I struggled with the practicality of my decision to study art pretty much the whole time I was there. I left AIB sometime in 2008 because I thought I wanted to get into nursing school and secure a practical career. I had a crisis of thought about studying to be an artist because I couldn’t figure out how I’d make money or start a career. I didn’t have anyone mentoring me in one way or the other so I caved to the thought that I needed to choose something more practical. I started exploring nursing programs in Boston and applied to several schools. I got into exactly zero of those schools. Struggling to find a direction, I took the advice of a friend at the time and enrolled in some exploratory classes at Harvard Extension school. Harvard was in very close proximity to where I was living and working so it made sense to study there. I never declared a major and lasted 2 semesters. I wasn’t asked to come back after my grades dipped below a B- for too long. It was an interesting experience but now seems like time wasted because I didn’t pursue anything specific.
I ended up moving back to Maine in 2009. I took a job at the nursing agency that I had previously volunteered at and where my mother also worked. In 2009 I became certified as a nursing assistant and was able to work in many different areas of healthcare, including:
Somewhere around July 2017, I had decided to leave Maine and formulated a plan to move. I came to Louisiana in late August 2017 and it’s been a great choice so far. I feel grateful for the people I have met and the connections I’ve made. I can now be an artist again and it feels natural to be working in the way that I do. I’m always going to be Samantha Hayslip, but becoming Samantha Galactica has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Part 1: Periscope
On a random morning when I was still living in Maine, a very famous comedian showed up to my Periscope: Bert Kreischer. At first blush I thought the @bertkreischer tag was a joke and couldn’t possibly be his real account. I finally believed him as my view count went nuts, and commenced freaking out.
At one point my phone was dying and I was struggling to find a charger. I was worried at the time that I would lose the crowd that Bert so nicely brought in if my connection cut out. Eventually I managed to plug my phone in and get it together for the remainder of the broadcast. Despite this shit show that ensued, Bert retweeted my broadcast that day and followed me on Periscope. Very cool!
By the way, the periscope that I'm talking about is: here
Part 2: A Mention on YouTube
I got a notification from Instagram when leaving the movie theater a while later. It was a comment that went something like : I saw the Bertcast with Owen Benjamin and I’m from Maine too. So cool that he mentioned you, and so on. I allowed myself to melt down/freak out for a second or two and then got to researching on YouTube. The dude was right! Bert mentioned me in the episode of Bertcast Featuring Owen Benjamin starting at the 1hr, 9m mark.
Part 3: Portrait
After I moved to Louisiana and got settled in, I was able to begin painting again. I first painted Doug Benson’s portrait and we’ll talk about that some other time I bet. The second person I painted in a similar style was Bert, and I was (and continue to be) in a learning phase of portraiture so I used a photo I found easily on his website as a reference.
A few months after I completed this piece, I built up the courage to send Bert a message via his website contact form. I crafted what I felt was a nice but not creepy email saying thank you and that I would love to send him his portrait as a thank you. To my delight, I received an email just a short while later from Bert’s wife LeeAnn. She said she thought it was so cool that I had done this and that they would like to have it. I sent it off and haven't heard much since but I remain hopeful that they liked it. I am not 100% positive but am pretty sure that I saw the painting a few months back hanging on his wall in the background of an Instagram story. I only caught a glimpse for a second. I hope that he at least liked it enough to keep it. Fingers crossed!
The above image is a portrait in acrylic of Doug Benson on 24”x36” canvas. Some of the white paint (eyes, teeth) on this canvas glows in the dark!
I have been inspired to paint Doug Benson’s portrait twice, and I had the courage to ask him if he’d like his own portrait sent to him just once. (He kindly said ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’) I think I decided to paint him after I saw him for the second time live in New Orleans and I actually had to courage to say ‘hey’ in the green room after the show. He was kind to me when I was very nervous to meet him and I appreciated that.
Doug Benson is a comedian that I’ve always had a lot of love for- he consistently makes me laugh and I value that beyond most things. I have watched and listened to a wide range of everything he’s ever recorded and I think it’s fantastic how he’s found a way to make money from each ‘thing’ in life that he enjoys. It meant a lot to me when I realized that anyone with enough heart and persistence can do apply the same equation to their own life. I’m inspired by his work and so I attempted to pay tribute by creating his portrait, twice.
I have been experimenting with larger canvas sizes recently and this was the first portrait of a comedian that clocks in at 2 ft. By 3 ft on stapled canvas. The background imagery was created by making a stencil of Doug’s favorite leaf and repeating that same image in the background. For aesthetic reasons these leaves are somewhat stylized and there’s a light blue, diagonal stitch-type pattern radiating from the middle of the canvas. The clock on the bottom of the canvas features Roman numerals, the clock is conveniently set to 4:20.
I paint comedians I admire and respect the most and Joey Diaz is on that list in bold letters! It was my goal to contribute to Joey’s legacy by immortalizing him in a painted portrait.
I created this artwork in early 2019 and it’s made with acrylic paint and metallic paint pen on a 16”x20 canvas. Periscope is a main theme of this work because Joey broadcasts there often and is well-loved on the platform.
This portrait of Joey Diaz (JoeyDiaz.net) is one in a series of comedians I have painted and this piece has been reworked twice because I didn’t quite like the lettering in my first iteration. I ended up doing some research, changed my technique slightly, and started over. The reference photo I used was a simple screenshot from Periscope when Joey was laughing a hearty “HA!” into the camera.
I absolutely love Joey Diaz for being not only a hilarious genuine king of comedy but for also being a very positive influence in my own life when I needed it most. Does he realize he’s such a good motivational speaker? I sincerely hope so. It has helped me out tremendously (see what I did there?) to just listen to Joey speak from the heart on Periscope, especially on days where I felt down. In the past few years, there have been days upon days that his broadcasts shifted my perspective for the better and I’ll always be appreciative of that.