Samantha Rosado is a Puerto Rican, cisgendered, gay woman who works primarily with oil paint on canvas. Though she was drawn to the arts in her youth, she began oil painting after graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 2015. In Summer 2016, Samantha attended a Puerto Rican tiple (guitar) making workshop at Trinity College. She was later offered a Hilla Rebay Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship in Fine Art and Studio Art. At Trinity College, Samantha found interest in the challenge of color, space development and compositional relationships. She carried this interest through her assistantship at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and her MFA at Louisiana State University. Samantha is a painter, poet, and storyteller. She uses humor in her work to create captivating imagery and rhythm to guide the viewer through a story of directional line and color.
My work is about identity, family culture and relationships. Storytelling is my motivation. Though subject matter demands careful consideration, I create imagery using comic relief. Humor lives within an intentional use of color, form and repetition. Painted figures lock eyes with onlooking viewers, pulling them into these staged dreamscapes. The audience gains understanding, while reconsidering their own state of affairs.
I continuously work to become more comfortable with my body, my mind, and my sexuality. I practice normalizing my same-sex relationship within myself and my immediate family. As I do so, I must also intertwine these realities on the canvas. My work acts as a journal, giving honest descriptions of the intersections of sexuality and religion, children and parents, siblings and in-laws, and Puerto Rican culture. Stories of self-esteem, body image, family, and love are told within the imagery. I use animals, characters, and symbols to create visual hierarchy. Perspective is given through the eyes of the central figure(s). This directional gaze pulls the viewer into the scene, connecting them emotionally with both character and artist. My partner and our animals dominate the picture plane, not only acting as main characters in the narrative, but also creating dynamic shape and pattern. Color brings light, humor, and emphasis into each dream-like world.
Before painting I stage photographs then create digital collage (using manipulated photos, drawn elements, and at times elements from different stages of the paintings) to develop composition, color, and light. These collages are edited while painting to further develop content and visual aesthetic. I also sketch, watercolor, write, and collect images before and during painting. Getting into character is an important part of my process- I pose as the main characters and photograph myself in position to further understand form and light. I then paint from life, drawings, collages, and collected images. Having conversation with peers, storytelling, and sitting with the work independently allows me to investigate, revise, and redirect. Content often shifts throughout my paintings as I reflect on current events that bring depth or new meaning into the developing narrative scene.
Humor and play on varying realities are recurring themes in my development as a painter. Subject matter and characters are used as motifs emblematic of an inner critic, culturally inherent shame, familial judgment, and a longing for mental freedom. Humor is tied into the titles as well as the images. A combination of English, Spanish, and Spanglish slang give the viewer context of location and culture. My intent is for the audience to feel represented, gain understanding, and/or find humor in given (and their own) circumstances.