Sam Falls

Born in 1984 in San Diego, CA, Sam Falls, an American photographer/painter, lived in Vermont for the majority of his childhood. In 2007, Falls earned his BA in Studio Art from Reed College in Portland, Oragon and went on to earn his MFA in 2010 from International Center of Photography-Bard in New York.

Sam Falls' artist statement reveals that he believes art is the safe haven we turn to in times of dispare just as we would turn to religion. "It seems like art is a good alternative given its relevant and parallel history to religion, replicating transcendent themes in the corporeal world. I'm interested in the development of color and composition throughout art history to the point where it was attacked, torn apart, and dispersed. I'm rebuilding elements of more traditional form and content in the studio and documenting them with large format photography to enliven a dialogue with the rigor of art history and its artists, hopefully applying it to essentially timeless themes with updated themes".[1]

Falls has a sort of mystery behind his photography and seems to give his subjects, as you will, a more abstract quality than their given defining characteristic. His photography background was formed by shooting mostly outdoors, but when Falls moved to New York for graduate school, he took this as an opportunity to take his art in a different direction. As a photography assitant/retoucher for Nemo Design, a studio/branding agency, he gained studio knowledge of using different formats, lighting, and creating backdrops. But, being an assistant also had it's boring moments and after spending hours upon of deleting imperfections off faces of subjects, Falls changed approach to photography. He rented his own studio and felt that he wanted to break away from traditional photography and not be bound to distinctions between mediums and genres. Falls began to work on his studio methodology by executing the experience he had gained as a retoucher with Nemo using photoshop and, instead of deleting imperfections, he added splashes of carefully studied color using the paint brush tool and intensifying the color with adding acrylic paint, pastels and/or watercolor to the printed large scale photo. This gave him the opportunity to return to his love of painting but incorporate his love of photography.

In his pieces entitled, Oranges, 2010 and Spare Tire, 2010, Falls has taken a photograph of an ordinary subject, and then, using the tools of the Photoshop program, has addes shapes and color to create an appealing work.
Oranges, 2010
Spare Tire, 2010

With this process, Falls begins with a photo, which is taken digitally or scanned from another source, and then manipulates the image in photoshop by moving, adding and subtracting color. For his abstract pieces, such as in Untitled, 2009, he photographs squares of construction paper and then once the image is printed on paper he adds other mediums such as acrylic paint, pastels and watercolor. He sees his work as a collage of mediums and has also said of his work as being "one-third photography, but the other two-thirds are just as iimportant." [2] He believes that photography is only part of the artistic equation in each piece.

Untitled, 2009

Sam Falls' recent solo exhibit at Higher Pictures in New York, entitled Everything Keeps Being Nothing, is a great group of examples which are expressions his talent. Falls currently lives in New York City and is the 2010 recipient of the Tierney Fellowship.
  1. ^ MOMA PS1 Studio Visit-Sam Falls,
  2. ^ Robertson, Rebecca. "Building Pictures." Art News, March (2011).


    Robertson, Rebecca. "Building Pictures." Art News, March (2011).
    Rieke, Joanne. "Sam Falls’ Everything Keeps Being Nothing « AHORA." AHORA. (accessed April 27, 2011).
    Falls, Sam.;
    Falls, Sam.
    Higher Pictures Gallery.
    Stangel, Jake. "Interview: Sam Falls ." Too Much Chocolate . (accessed April 27, 2011).