“I see I have a couple of fans here,” Sampson said as he began his lecture.
Pointing to the ceiling, a friend in the audience heckled Sampson and said, “Yeah, two fans.”
Such was the light and humorous tone of the artist’s talk and demonstration hosted by the Blueline.
A group of art-minded individuals gathered at the Blueline to listen to a lecture and demonstration by Sampson Thursday.
After the talk, Blueline Director Erin Ritchie said she was happy with the vast range of ages present to listen to Sampson’s advice.
“Oh, it was a really good turnout,” Ritchie said. “I was kind of expecting a pretty decent turnout just because Jim is so well-known, but I was surprised that so many different age groups came.”
Sophomore art majors Lexie Bluhm and Jason Fruits attended out of interest and a requirement for ?a class.
Both said this was their first trip to the gallery, but it left a lasting impression on them.
“I liked this one because it was a printmaker and I’m in a printmaking class, so I’ll be doing the kind of system he does here in a few months,” Bluhm said.
During the talk, Sampson spoke about his printmaking method, which he said he developed over years of practice.
“I devised this thing where you print all colors first then put all colors in what’s called registration,” Sampson said.
Sampson showed an example of his templates from stage one, the outline, all the way until the final template, which he prefers to stamp in using just his metal spoon.
All work not produced using the traditional spoon method is stamped out using a homemade press, which Sampson said he crafted from “junk” he found in alleys or at the hardware store.
“I’m not into high-tech at all, and here I am in this high-tech place,” Sampson said.
Sampson’s talk was also partially dedicated to his inspirations, which range from his childhood during World War II to contemporary artists to everyday life.
A few of his pieces used a fish template he crafted from leftover materials.
“With fish in a bowl, there’s no composition,” Sampson said. “They’re everywhere. It can be any number of ways because there is continuous ?movement.”
Sampson took some inspiration from pieces by Henri Matisse, quoting him in his lecture.
Ritchie said that reference was the part of the speech that surprised her the most.
“That quote he said about Matisse, that art should be colorful and seem like an old chair, that really stuck out and made me want to buy that painting,” Ritchie said.
The Blueline will sell Sampson’s work for the remainder of the exhibition, which runs through Jan. 30.
Sampson said his work has transitioned from black and white to color, as well as scaled down in size.
“I used to work very large but I’ve moved to a very small space,” Sampson said. “I did one that was 64 feet of printmaking, and my work was next to Andy Warhol and I thought, ‘Oh man, this pop-art stuff, you can’t be serious.’ It was probably the biggest and most important show I’ve ever done.”
Sampson said his next step is unclear, though he enjoyed the experience of sharing his work.
“I don’t have anything right now, but this has been fun,” Sampson said.