Sasha Samuels

A New York native born into an artistic family and surrounded by European immigrants, Samuels developed her creative passions early. By age twelve she was selling her small sculptures. By age eighteen Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had commissioned her for portraiture. A graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design, her senior year was spent abroad in RISD's European Honors Program, Rome, Italy.

Overwhelmed by Italy's art, history, and overarching sensuality, Samuels immersed herself in this deep pool of Italian inspiration, studying with several masters. She emerged with indescribable inspiration born of daily contact with the timelessness and monumentality that is Rome. She has held her own work against this standard of excellence ever since.

This unwavering standard, coupled with Samuels' raw artistic talent has led to over two dozen awards in juried exhibitions for her jewelry and paintings. Her work has appeared in over fifty publications and her jewelry designs cited as spearheading global design trends. She received the national grand prize from the American Jewelry Design Council, naming her the year's top new American designer. Her success expanded internationally with a museum award and exhibition at "The Contemporary Etruscan Jewel" in Salerno, Italy.

"I seek out mastery in those visionaries who have gone before me, striving to achieve that degree of excellence in my own work; Gauguin for his use of color and symbolism, Cezanne for his brushwork, the Italian Renaissance masters for their sensitivity, and the Etruscans for their simplicity of line and form." Samuels' paintings are bold, representational works often bordering on impressionism and fauvism.

For a time Samuels made her home in a 14th century canonic house and church in eastern Tuscany. "When I first leased the place, there was no electricity, no running water. Bats flew in over my head through its broken windows. I was camped out in more of a grotto than a house." She carefully rescued the building from the elements while allowing the exquisite views and local color to permeate her paintings. This symbiotic relationship between place and artist manifested in a collection of paintings in oil and watercolor, works begun in situ, later completed on the altar of her abandoned church. Her images are saturated with the valley's atmosphere, its luminosity and flowing contours. Moving back and forth between the natural cathedral of ancient oaks and her own personal temple was a powerful reminder to the artist of her own sensuality and spirituality. "This is why I sought out this place - a harmonious combination of nature and chapel. I place an unfinished canvas on the altar, step back, feel the sacred, lift the brush, actively awaiting that gift that all artists hope for - the possibility of creating something that delights and astonishes oneself. I have been very fortunate here..."

Samuels now splits her time between Portland, Oregon and Silicon Valley, California. "The brilliance and innovation found in the Bay Area is unlike anywhere else; a modern equivalent to my old world experiences in Italy". She is presently exploring a mash-up of technologies old and new in her work.