We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Aleks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I never thought of creating as a career, I still don’t. In a way it’s more of an extension of myself. When I was just getting into it, it helped me get a better sense of what was going on in my mind. I would paint something, whatever came out, and then try to understand what it was. This process helped me dissect how I was feeling. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to understand myself a bit more and the motivation behind painting and writing stories has evolved as well. I’ve always viewed artists as messengers. Those with creativity and skill are inherently tasked with diving into themselves and understanding the world around them. They do this to present others with a safe way of experiencing reality and making sense of their own situations. They help us feel less alone. I now view my work as playing this kind of role. In particular, the best part of pursuing a creative career has been giving my work to others. That’s ultimately the reason I’ve kept it going this far. I hope the things I make can continue to be well received because it seems unlikely that I’m ever going to stop.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m proud of my consistency and proclivity toward experimentation. I think a lot of artists today set limits on their work to fit into a particular niche. I’ve thus far resisted doing so. Maybe I haven’t found my voice yet or maybe it’s constantly changing? I’m not sure, but I’m happy that I’m able to create whatever I want and still get the reception I do. The process hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. I think a lot of people overlook the sacrifices one has to make to consistently create work and make an impact. The main challenge lies in striking a balance between work and leisure. I do have a day job and pushing my art and writing forward doesn’t leave a lot of room for socializing or even relaxing on the couch. What makes it even harder is that most artistic pursuits often go unrecognized. Artists typically get no commercial results for a long time and then suddenly break out after creating one really amazing piece of art. That being said, I’ve learned that when you are passionate about something, it becomes both your work and your play. Whenever I get a chance to paint, I’m fully immersed in and calmed by the process, it’s pretty liberating. So, the lack of grand commercial success isn’t that big of a deal at the end of the day. I can’t say much about myself or my brand, really. I think at best I want people to know that while my creative work is a big part of my life, it isn’t all there is to me. I’m also just a guy, I like board games and candy, and I have days when I don’t want to do anything too.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I absolutely love the beach, specifically Playa Del Rey Beach, it’s calm and beautiful. I enjoy book stores as well, particularly going to The Iliad here in NoHo and browsing through the fiction section. I like quiet bars, before the pandemic I’d usually go to UJPEST Sports Bar and The Other Door, great spots. If a friend was visiting and if circumstances were better, I’d likely start at either of those places. I think the most fun is had with people you can talk to and feel comfortable with. I don’t like loud places or clubs mainly because I prefer conversation to noise. Most importantly, it’s nice to spend an afternoon with someone without any obligation or pressure. I think people often put too much pressure on themselves to appear more exciting or interesting, which can ruin relationships. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been a lot of people who have encouraged or inspired me along the way. I think first and foremost, I owe a lot to my family and my parents in particular. It’s unlikely that I would have been able to do any of what I do now if we hadn’t emigrated to America back in 2001. Early on, my mom insisted that I take art lessons and my first and most impactful teacher has been Mr. Andranik Daibyan. He taught me a lot of the techniques that I employ today and if it wasn’t for his traditional Renaissance-style instruction, I don’t think I would have developed enough to break out and get into more experimental art. As for the writing, I’d give a lot of credit to my high school English teacher, Mrs. Kathryn Gullo. Her class was the first to expose me to literature and really got me into books. That interest carried over into college and ultimately inspired me to write my own work. Of course, there are a lot of friends that have encouraged and kept me going. I would also give some credit to those that have been more critical and less encouraging. I think every setback in life serves a purpose and I’m happy to have had negative experiences. Even the worst times have taught me about myself, which has helped me create better work and generally be a better person.