Hi, my name is Samson (aka Sam), and I am a creative artist working and living here in Tampa.
I am super happy to share my story about following my love for the arts, and my practice in creativity with you. It’s also a story about commitment, patience and perseverance.
As I mentioned, I am a creative artist. Specifically, I am a multimedia artist using a combination of oil paints, watercolors and ink along with digital tools to create pieces that have been exhibited nationally. Closer to home, I am extremely grateful that my pieces have been exhibited at the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts where I was recognized as one of 15 emerging artists exhibiting at the festival.
Additionally, I was awarded the Professional Development for Artists Grant in 2020 by the Art Council of Hillsborough County, and has recently been juried into the grand opening of the Tempus Projects gallery. Okay, I think that’s enough, with the shameless self promotion.
When I think back, close to half a century ago, how my mom, my three brothers and I packed up all our possessions, tearfully said good-bye to my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and bravely immigrated from Taiwan to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That stressful long journey on the plane with the anxiety of going through immigration processing will forever be imbedded in my memory.
You see, I was just 9 when I arrived in NYC in September of 1973. Before I had a chance to get acclimated, I was immediately enrolled into the 3rd grade without knowing a single English word or phrase. Since I was completely illiterate of the English language, I had to quickly hone in on my observational skills in order to cope with the shock of my new environment.
For the first few months, I couldn’t understand anything the teacher was saying or writing on the chalk board. It took me months before I could engage in the smallest conversation and make new friends in class. As my English improved with the help of television and thankfully for Sesame Street and Big Bird, New York City became my playground offering a vast diversity of people, places and cultures. When the realization came that the United States of America would be my permanent home, I quickly became a human sponge learning every facet of this country. My comprehension and knowledge blossomed and so did my curiosity and imagination, which I believe had a profound impact on developing my strong affinity for the creative arts.
Depicting and creating images became my expression of choice. I dove into the arts in school where my works of art caught the attention of my teachers and won competitions and awards. Luckily for me, I also kept my grades up in reading, writing and arithmetic. Although my HS counselor encouraged me to apply to some of the best art schools in this country, I chose instead to study computer engineering and subsequently enter the profession in the field of Intellectual Property, to ease the concerns of my working class immigrant parents. You see, pursuing a career as an artist in a struggling immigrant family of 6 living below the poverty level was never an option for me on the table. Nevertheless, I never abandoned my love for the arts.
Having an income from a good paying job after graduating was tremendously helpful in allowing me to self-fund my pursuit of the creative arts. Throughout different stages of my life, I stuck to my commitment to continue drawing, painting and creating art regardless of the demands of my day-to-day job. I was always looking for “spare time” to practice my art. I carried a sketch book with me at all times, taught myself both Eastern and Western art history, and studied various techniques from library books as well as attending exhibitions at galleries and museums. I was certain that my love for the creative arts is the path that I am destine to take.
With some patience and perseverance, I have been practicing my art with a portfolio of artworks spanning 25 years. I must add that I didn’t overcome the numerous challenges all by myself, and therefore I must express my deepest gratitude for the generosity, love and support from every person that helped me along the way.
Through the years of pursuing creativity, it has occurred to me that the shear act of creating, whether it be a piece of art or a nice meal for a loved one, brings tremendous peace and joy in my heart and soul. Therefore, it is my hope that my art, my creativity and my life’s experiences can be a force for good and help uplift humanity. Thank you.