Senior Arts Profile// Sam Landsberg

Circus+Tent+by+Sam+Landsberg+15

Circus Tent by Sam Landsberg ’15

Photo by Zoya Haroon '15.
Photo by Zoya Haroon ’15.

Each week we get to know one senior majoring in the arts. This week we spoke with studio art major Sam Landsberg, from Los Angeles, California. Keep reading to find out more about this life-long drawer and radio station manager.

TMW: What is your major?

SL: I am a studio art major and I have a WGSS minor.

TMW: Do you see those two [disciplines] overlapping in any way?

SL: They haven’t overlapped in really direct, or I guess obvious ways, but I do think that a lot of the conceptual or theoretical frameworks that inform my work come from stuff that I’ve read in WGSS classes.

TMW: In general what is your approach to creating art?

SL: It definitely differs depending on the project. It involves a lot of drawing. Like silly, random stuff. It kind of goes one of two ways—either I have an idea for an object and then think about what meaning can be imbued in that object or I have a concept and ideas that I’m thinking about and try to conceptualize an object that would represent those ideas. So for my Senior Project, it was kind of the second route where I was thinking about these ideas and I came to this object through that.

TMW: You mentioned drawing. Is that the main media that you work with?

SL: It’s actually not. I draw constantly, kind of obsessively. My introduction to art was just constant drawing, from like third grade on. At Macalester and in general over the past few years I’ve started to focus more on printmaking and sculpture, but still constantly drawing, and I think that informs my work.

TMW: Could you tell me more about your senior show?

SL: At the end of last semester, as the product of two classes, I started thinking a lot about the relationship between art and the art market and capitalism and thinking about the way that Warhol dealt with brands on this really large, like religious, really massive scale, and how the way that we relate to brands since Warhol has kind of shifted to this really more personal thing, like having an iPhone in your pocket mediating your life through social media. The kind of emotional relationship that we have with brands is this much more personal thing now.

Photo by Olivia Natt.
Photo by Olivia Natt.
Circus Tent by Sam Landsberg '15
Circus Tent by Sam Landsberg ’15

I was thinking about that and also looking at a lot of artists in Lauren Deland’s Art and Technology class that tried to escape this constant commodification of art. I came to this conclusion that those artists were failing to do that. A lot of performance artists will try to claim that their artwork evades commodification because it can’t be recreated, but those artworks are then, you know, put in the canon of art history, created in museum settings, or tickets are sold to them, so I came to this idea that we have to embrace and try to manipulate capital within art, or commodification within art, instead of claiming to be separate from it, because doing that’s not only disingenuous but totally unproductive.

I did these self portraits where it was a catalogue of every brand that was on my body at that moment, and then my face, and those became these prints. They ended up, by accident, looking like surveillance imagery, like x-ray scans, or some sort of surveillance image, so I started thinking about the way that we feel brands and feel surveillance. There’s similarities there, there’s an intersection. They’re both very visceral, very bodily feelings and emotions, so my work for the senior show is going to pursue that idea, and I’m going to do a series of prints that are similar to those self portraits that I did and then some more stuff as well.

TMW: What are your interests outside of the art department?

SL: Well, like I said, I’m doing a WGSS minor, so that’s my other interest academically. I’m one of the managers of the radio station, so I’m interested in radio. I’m interested in food. I want to serve food at my show but that’s probably not going to happen.