As the sun beats down there is nothing better than sitting back with a drink in comfortable surroundings, decorated with interesting art. Whenever I have a free hour or two, that’s exactly what I try to do and there are few places better than The English Muse on Newland Avenue.
A great little place with all of the usual coffee shop offerings and an added splash of art and culture. Poetry nights, books, photography and walls decorated with local artists work make the venue a fantastic place to discover local creative gems. One such gem is the weird, surreal, clever and captivating artwork by Hull based illustrator Sam Fowler, who I caught up with to talk about her work and influences.
The walls of The English Muse are home to a number of pieces by the artist who’s work can most accurately be described as Naive art or Outsider art. It’s elegant in it’s simplicity while being thought provoking and often quite moving. Sam, by her own admission often creates work with an element of sadness or melancholy, not because she herself feels that way but because of a need to explore the sadness she occasionally sees in others. This approach means that the artwork she produces manages to be simultaneously uplifting and mournful.
The quirky and surreal work of Danish artist Henrik Drescher and the distinctive illustrations of David Shrigley can clearly be seen as an influence on Sam’s work. Alongside Drescher and Shrigley, Sam lists her influences as Jean Dubuffet, David Hockny and most profoundly on a personal level, her children.
“I steal my children’s drawings all the time as they are bonkers and tell some mad stories.”
Recent work by the artist, who studied illustration and animation at Lincoln University, has involved telling tragic love stories, featuring mutations of human like animals. The mixed media pieces are the latest from an artist who creates art that is endlessly creative. At her hands each canvas or piece of paper becomes something truly unique.
Sam, who recently gave away a selection of original pieces to the #FreeArtHull movement is currently preparing new work for future exhibitions, alongside several commissioned pieces.
As an artist who was born in Hull, works in Hull and has raised a family in the city, I asked Sam what 2017 will mean to her. “I like the buzz in the city, around 2017. I’m excited to see more people visiting the city, which I have found has always been full of culture and creativity.”
You can view more of Sam Fowler’s work at www.facebook.com/samfowlerartist