Art Chowder May | June 2017, Issue 9 - Page 36

The Great Support of a Mentor & Military Life In 1979 Sam, with good fortune, met his mentor-to-be Milan, who was twenty years his senior and retired from the Coast Guard. Through conversations he convinced Sam to join the service, which he did at twen- ty-three. Upon completion of basic training in San Antonio, Sam was stationed at Fair- child Air Force Base from 1982-1983. Next Sam found himself stationed at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. During this time a love for motorbikes developed and Sam purchased a 1954 Harley Trike. Sam continued to find some time for art with a concentration on drawing. After six years in the Philippines, Sam returned stateside to Spokane and continued to collect Harley Davidson paraphernalia, as he still does today. Art in Spokane Comes Back To Life 1999 Sam began painting and showing art in Spokane, after finding a “mother lode” of oil pastels at a yard sale, and his art began to flow again. He connected with Conrad Bagley, who owned the Cat’s Eye Gallery, and other galleries and venues moving for- ward. Although unsure exactly how many people paintings he has completed, Sam believes the number is in the thousands. He also has five sketchbooks filled with a varied selection of people art. 36 ART CHOWDER MAGAZINE The Unlikely Art of Leather Sam learned to use a swivel knife from a biker friend who creates leather bags, vests and belts. Sam has created over two hundred pieces of leather art including fifty-three portraits of the Seahawks team, owner and staff, which he individually sent to them. Many responded with return gifts for him. One special leather por- trait was sent to then- President Obama and Sam received a lovely thank you card from both the President and Mrs. Obama. Tandy Leather displays Sam’s leather- work. His leather art was featured in an article, written by Jennifer LaRue, for the Spokesman Review. The Palomino Club has also shown his leather and acrylic art. The Day As It Rolls - Sam the Plumber and Sam the Artist Sam owns a long-term plumbing business which provides for his family. He is ex- tremely proud of his five children and ten grandchildren. Just about every day Sam begins the morning with a cup of coffee and paints for about an hour at his studio, then goes to work. He returns to his studio at lunch to touch up his art, then returns to more afternoon plumbing. At the end of the workday, it’s not unusual for Sam to often paint until 10 pm. Sam participates in Spokane First Fridays; he has been in Art on the Ave and con- tinues to be invited to be on Spokane Talk Radio Shows. He has appeared as well with Bob Lawrence for “Northwest Profiles” on KSPS TV (you may view this video at He has participated with other local venues such as Marmot Art Space, RLH Art Hour and others. He consistently donates his art to several local and national causes. Sam’s outlook on his art is driven by his interest in giving people something that they enjoy looking at—the artist in him truly enjoys the sound of “I gotta have one of those.” Sam starts his colorful people art by looking at the eyes and what people are wearing. He loves capturing whimsical, colorful people in their daily life. He is a prolific painter and currently has seventeen pieces that he is working on all at the same time. A dream for Sam is that his art be in a museum for people to view and for his work to be well-received as well as well-known. Sam reveals he would enjoy hearing something like this: “Oh! I like Picasso!” and “Oh! I like Sam the Plumber!”