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Abstractions of the human form
from The Palette Pages

We are honoured to feature the stupendous artwork of Sam Shendi an incredible talent that we are totally captivated by.  Graduating in 1997 with a first class BA degree with honors from Helwen University of Fine Arts in Cairo, Egyptian born sculptor Sam Shendi creates colourful abstractions of the human form that hints at the complexity of human interactions.  We first discovered Sam after seeing his work ‘The Branch’ a sculpture that is smooth, sexy and stylish with a rigid formality that is combined with the freeness and flight of the female form and a bird, work that is impactful in a way that is typical of Sam.   The sculptures that Sam creates are generating worldwide attention, he was winner of the £10,000 opportunity to create a new piece of public sculpture—the FIRST@108 Public Art Award and his work is being exhibited widely throughout the UK and collected worldwide.   Blurring the line between representation and abstraction Sam creates work that is playful and universal in appeal, work that leans towards his background in monumental sculpture.  Mixing bold colour blocks or monochrome into his work and often conjuring associations with children’s toys Sam’s work is loved by all generations.  The simplicity of form, the curves, the sharp edges and the beautiful transformation of industrial material all mixed with dramatic and emotive stories make the sculptures intriguing, unique and totally inspiring.  Sam we love your art, your craftmanship and your passion.  We are  proud to feature you on The Palette Pages and are exceptionally excited to follow your journey as an artist making your unique mark on the art world.

Self taught or art school?

Faculty of Fine Arts Cairo graduated in 1997 with a first class BA degree(hons) in Monumental and architectural sculpture.

If you could own one work of art what would it be?

mmmmm…”De Nachtwacht” (The night watch) by Rembrandt.

Is there meaning behind your use of colour within your sculpture?

I use colours to present mood, movement, feelings, emotion, differences. Colour for me is the final touches to my concepts and completes the sculpture.

Is it important for you to have your own distinctive style?

Yes, I think so. It has taken me over 12 years to achieve my style, in my opinion it it is very important for the art work to give recognition to the artist.

How much does your background and upbringing in Egypt influence your art?

The influence of Ancient Egyptian practice has influenced my work. I always try to use strong material and mathematic geometric design to make the sculpture last for a long time after me and I believe that the Ancient Egyptians used the same method, that’s why the monuments and artefacts have lasted all this time.  Most of my inspiration and ideas are from my own experience that I have lived or felt in my life in Egypt.

How would you describe your style?

Minimalistic, figurative, colourful. I want to find the most minimalistic way to present the human figure but without loosing the visual engagement and the emotional depth behind the concept.

Can you tell us more about the techniques you use to create you art?

I work mostly with metal therefore welding and folding, techniques are used. Then the process of hours of sanding and grinding to prepare the surfaces to then apply the paint. After this the paint needs flattening to get rid of any imperfections and marks and then highly polished to give you a mirrored reflection.

Where are your favourite places to view art?

The truth is I tried for along period of time to avoid galleries and museums, as much as I would love to visit, somehow my visions get affected and influenced by other artists and art work. For me any place which shows an art work is important. You could be anywhere regardless of location or venue and see an amazing piece.

Who are your favourite artists and why?

I could write a list…..I would need another 10 interviews. There are many artists that touch me when I see the work. Some of them in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s but truly I have met in the past few years some artists who are established and trying to establish themselves, that have had a bigger impact on me more than the famous ones.

What or who inspires your art?

Inspiration for me could be anything. It is enough for me to open my eyes and the inspiration is all around. Could be a person or a view or an idea or an experience. No matter where it comes from, it comes from human beings and humanity.

Where’s your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is in a small village in the countryside of Yorkshire hidden from the world by giant trees. When you go inside it feels like you have stepped into a sweetshop, like a giant toy box, full of sculptures.

Do you have any studio rituals?

I don’t have any rituals. Normally I have a few sculptures on the go and I want to find the fastest way to get them finished and start again. Sometimes I just go to clean and tidy.

What are you working on currently?

I am working on a body of 14 sculptures at the moment. They could be shown individually but 11 of them could be exhibited together as one concept. This is the first time I have worked on such a large number of sculptures at the same time.

Where can we buy your art?

A few places currently sell my work and a few agents but the best price is buying from me direct.

What are your ambitions?

I am hoping one day that future generations will speak about me in the way that past artists are spoken of and maybe my work will influence somebody years from now.

Sam Shendi | Selection of works here

An interview by Lisa Gray
Originally published in The Palette Pages
The Palette Pages website
© 2014 Lisa Gray

NAU NUA | ART MAGAZINE edition by Juan Carlos Romero
Interview and photograph courtesy of Lisa Gray
Sam Shendi website
All rights reserved