- Arts and Design
New Art - Conceptual Realism - Isabel Samaras
Isabel Samaras Beginnings
Updated November 5, 2012
Ms. Samaras has a knack. She takes classic images and juxtaposes popular television culture characters upon them. The effect is an odd, yet delightful combination of images.
Ms. Samaras studied at Parsons in NYC and does not remember a time when she did not want to be an artist. She claims to have even had a "minor freakout" in her junior year in college when she realized she'd never considered another profession.
As a student she acquired an old metal lunchbox, sanded it down, and painted her own scene on it. The scene was one of Batman, Catwoman and Batgirl frolicking around naked in the woods. She called this her "adult themed" lunchbox.
Her introduction to a more public venue for her art was serendipitous. Samaras had seen an ad for an Elvis themed art show and determined to be part of it. Though she'd never painted an "Elvis" before she felt inspired. The result was a transformed a dinner tray into an homage to "The King." Her painting was an assumption scene with a corpulent Elvis being borne into heaven by a crowd of little cherubs. This was the first of her many dinner tray pieces. (see below)
Afterward she did pin-ups and portraits until she encountered a book called A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. In it was a painting called "Raft of the Medusa," this inspired her to do a similar painting, but with the crew of the S.S. Minnow of Gilligan's Island. (see image below).
Technique and Materials
Ms. Samaras states that she used to paint with acrylics and enamel on metal (lunchboxes and trays). After speaking with Mark Ryden and Eric White she switched to oils. Ms. Samaras states that painting and blending fleshy tones is much easier with oil than with acrylics.
As with Amy Sol and Audrey Kawasaki, Ms. Samaras has found wood panel to be the perfect "canvas," as the actual material (canvas) is "too bumpy."
For a time she was painting actual models rather than the television icons of the past. Recently she has reintroduced her 1960s television characters along with real models.
Making a Better Yesterday TodayClick thumbnail to view full-size
Many, though not all, of Samaras' works are featured in the videos below.
Fair warning, some of the images presented contain partial nudity. If you are sharing this hub with younger readers be aware of this fact.
To protect Ms. Samaras' works the images above are purposely "pixelated." The originals are far finer in detail and depth.