Sam Trout is an artist who came to Seattle in September 2000 at age 25 after spending almost 20 years in Anchorage, Alaska. Sam moved to Seattle with the intention of becoming a freelance illustrator and make a splash as an artist. His first week selling his new line of coasters and t-shirts featuring his art landed him a mention in The Stranger column “In Arts News.” From there the attention grew quickly as he produced art shows, curated the monthly art and craft sale I Heart Rummage and helped organize the Capitol Hill Block Party.
After a few years, the tireless promoter began to back off. His last art show in 2004 felt like closing a chapter in his life as he felt that he did not have anything left to say as an artist. The following years he concentrated on producing only his t-shirts and pursuing freelance graphic design and illustration clients.
In 2009 Sam enrolled in the Landmark Education curriculum. These seminars gave him the space to examine his roll in life as an artist and ask himself what is important to him. Three things came to prominence: community, personal relationships and self-expression for all involved. With this realization he found a need to curate art in a whole new way. He decided to direct shows and window displays that use various artists’ work in a way that each artist had not previously envisioned. A true collaboration between artworks where the line of ownership is blurred, bringing together his three ideas of community, relationships and expression.
He was quickly given a few opportunities to produce this direction in 2010. Sound Transit and their Community Outreach program asked Sam to produce some window displays that would fill empty storefronts along Broadway and most recently has been given the opportunity by Seattle Storefronts to produce another display (2011), again curating a collection of artworks joined together as a single piece.
Between 2005 and 2010 Sam discovered an emerging trend in painting that fascinated him; a new form of abstract paintings that borrow heavily from graffiti, pop culture and graphic design without being literal or traditional. One of his last large art pieces from 2004 followed this direction where he had photocopied over 100 of his own illustrations onto transparencies and cut them up to reassemble them over eight canvases. Finding more of this ‘new abstract’ continued to fuel his psyche and artistic urges. Since then, he has been exploring this direction in his work.
Sam’s early artistic influences include Japanimation cartoons, comic books, advertisements, Andy Warhol, rock posters, hip-hop, punk rock and stylish art movies. More currently his influences have expanded to include his contemporaries like Bayu Angermeyer, Erin Franklyn, Ryan McGinness, Robert Hardgrave and Oliver Vernon. All of these influences are prominent once viewing his work.