Graphic design meets the great outdoors

Sam Blake poses with one of his works in the studio.

Sean Martens

Sam Blake poses with one of his works in the studio.

Coastal native Sam Blake claims he has a craving to create that is fueled by his love of nature. He has studied in Florence, Italy and recently transferred from Santa Rosa Junior College to hone his abilities in Chico while studying graphic design. Check out his Instagram page @samblakepress.

How did you start (in printmaking)?

“I just started an intro class and fell in love with it from that. I find the process really meditational; you get to be really intimate with the plate, spending a lot of time with the art. Then I started doing screenprinting because my grandpa, in the second half of his life, started doing screenprinting, and I had a box of his scraps that he used to print. So I got to recycle those and make some of my own prints which is cool because I never got to meet him but I was able to kinda live vicariously through his art.”

How did you get started in graphic design?

“That was a decision to just pick a major that I could see myself getting through and also enjoying. I was looking at an art studio, but then I had this blessed opportunity to study abroad in Florence, and then I was thinking about doing international studies, like social development, NGO or non-profit work. I was also looking at health education at San Francisco State, but there were like nine bio and chem classes I would have to take before even transferring. I kinda went full circle and landed on something more art related, being graphic design. I chose it because I thought it could be a viable career while still giving me an outlet to express my artistic abilities.”

What are your plans for the future (after graduation)?

“I’d like to focus on logo development and branding, and maybe doing some package design. I still haven’t really identified what niche in the graphic design field I fit into, so I’m still creating that niche for myself.”

What inspires you?

“Growing up in a coastal community, nature and the ocean definitely hold a huge influence on me. I think spending time outside is super important for our psychology and overall well-being. I think by creating art that focuses on the outdoors and nature brings that topic to the viewer’s eye, brings awareness. Also, I just like working with the organic shapes as opposed to more geometrical shapes, though I have done some architectural printmaking. But mostly inspired by the California Coast.”

“My dad has always done art. He makes sculptures, but he’s also a musician and draws, and like I said, my grandpa did screenprinting and my great-grandpa made furniture, so I think working with my hands and making art has always been in my blood, so it’s almost like paying homage and keeping that in the family line.”


Mitchell Kret can be reached at @[email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.