Amazing art inside an amazing home. Get a look at Sam Malpass’s creative and bohemian-drenched world…
I found Sam via Instagram. Her feed, @badwaycreative, is a transcendent mix of art and life, dunked in the blue hues of the sea, then kissed by the sun. Give Sam a canvas, and she’ll go hard, laying color upon color to form beautiful large-scale paintings, each one showcasing bits of her personality. I met Sam at The Press Room in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to grab drinks and meet IRL. She and I, we breathe the same air. Give us a beach, some sunshine and a beer? And we’ll be good.
Sam lives and works in her studio in Rye Beach, New Hampshire.
Let me re-phrase that.
Sam lives and works in one of the most beautifully built, decorated, lit spaces I have ever seen.
Forreal. She’s got her bed, her boards (yes she surfs and snowboards) and her paints all under one roof. It’s a bohemian mecca that I had the pleasure of touring and shooting this past weekend. Be inspired by Sam’s beautiful art and life below!
Who are you, where did you grow up, what do you do, and how did you get to where you are today?
I am a creative. I love to paint, draw, surf, snowboard, do yoga, travel, and so on. After I graduated high school in Connecticut I moved to Spain for three years, Australia for a year, then New York City for 1 1/2 years — the various universities, artist communities and bars I attended shaped my style and allowed me to blossom into the artist I am today. I am mainly profitable through my paintings and often take on custom commissions to fill lacking spaces in people’s homes.
How were you introduced to painting and how old were you?
Heavy into it ever since finger painting.
What’s an average day in the life of Sam look like?
Wake up with the sun (or earlier) > coffee > yoga or surf > coffee > paint until the sun goes down > cocktails with the homies > repeat.
What specific type of mediums do you work with most?
I love the fluidity of acrylics. Fast drying time works well with my lack of patience and countless layering process.
How would you describe your art in three words?
Bold. Eclectic. Layered.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I aim to depict my world. My work is a window to my travels, the people I meet and the places I explore. My art is the translation of these experiences onto canvas.
Does your personal style relate back to your artwork in any way?
As everything inspires my artwork, it also inspires my style, whether it be clothing, furniture or outlook.
Describe your work flow from spark of idea to finished piece:
Starts off hectic and ends in controlled chaos. I begin by throwing gobs of watered-down paint onto my freshly hand-stretched canvases, as I loosely arrange the flow of color it creates an interesting underpainting (sometimes my favorite part). Then comes the initial sketch, I use anything at hand: oil pastels, pencils, paint pens, charcoal, etc. From there I add and add dozens of dripping layers until my “spark” is lit.
Do you need to be in a specific setting in order for your creativity to flow? Certain space? Certain music? Set up your ideal working environment:
I’ve painted everywhere from Costa Rica to the Australian outback — as long as there is good music, supplies and sunlight, I will be able to do my thing.
Your studio/house is probably any artist’s dream. How did you acquire such an amazing space?
My dad gutted and renovated the barn I now live and work in. My parents have been designing and building homes for as long as I can remember — usually right over our heads. I basically grew up climbing ladders to get to bed.
How would you describe your decor style?
Totally relaxed, plush and inviting. Fuzzy rugs and tons of colorful cushions and blankets everywhere – sort of hippie chic, I guess.
What’s your favorite thing about living in New Hampshire?
Waves right outside my front door, vegetable garden out back, mountains are close, and young entrepreneurs are plentiful.
Does your artwork reflect where you grew up?
I moved around a lot as a kid — with half of my family in Europe and the other half across the US — my brother, sister and I got to see a lot of the world. Between the constant change of scenery and perpetual house renovations and moves I had a very exciting, inspiring childhood.
You seem to travel quite a bit. Where are your favorite places to go? Does this inspire your work in a specific way?
My main source of inspiration comes from my travels — the rush and excitement of being in a new environment makes my mind race with ideas, whether it be the winding, cobblestone streets of Europe or the vivid, lush jungles of Costa Rica. Both speak volumes and are absorbed into my work.
If you could set up your dream project, what would it be?
My sister Charly (also an amazing artist) and I have been running an art program for a couple years now called Sea Side Art Lessons . We are hoping to set up shop in Costa Rica within the next couple years.
What’s been your favorite commission and non-commission project to date?
Favorite commissions are always the most recent ones; right now, I am working on three 5×5′ paintings of African wildlife. As for non-commissions I enjoy doing portraits of musicians — Jimi Hendrix, Debbie Harry, Gary Clark JR, Tupac, etc.
What has painting taught you about yourself?
To be free.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully pursuing the answer to the last question.
Below, get an aerial view of Sam painting on her home turf, Rye Beach, New Hampshire.
Sam, it was truly a pleasure. Thanks for letting us into your world!
Video by Matthew Larsen