Sound and rhythm seem like a constant concern for Sam. He is always humming, blowing air through his fingers. I have been taken by his crisp packets and chocolate wrappers that he brings into the studio after lunch. They develop into beautifully delicate sound sculptures throughout the afternoon, alongside his canvas which he intermittently beats with his brushes like a drum, they are shiny and quivering – ethereal. He will tear them with his teeth in such a way that they become fringed and fluttering as he moves them through the air, blows through them.
Sam will never tell me what he is interested and why. At most he will say ‘blue’ or ‘red’ when offered brushes dipped in different colours of paint – colours which seem like signifiers of movement and sound, heightening his experience of them. When he lets his brushes fall to the ground and stands up to dance back and forth next to his canvas, singing without words, he seems happy. The paintings are traces, as are his torn wrappers, one as much an artwork as the other.
In lockdown I would imagine the way he handles materials. I made things that flutter, things that fold, things to tap, rub, shake and make marks on – marks that make sounds. I sent them to him each week. But I know that Sam will do this anyway, he will tear and listen to wrappers, he will tap and blow and hum and make marks. I make things for him in response to how I see him move through the material world, and then present them to him to use. By doing this am I simply saying I am thinking of you?
Written by Parachute Club Artist, Maya Shapiro Steen.