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Roger D. "Sam" Wilson

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Roger D. "Sam" Wilson

(Kansas City, Missouri, 1943 - )

Sam Wilson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943; then his family moved west, living first in Golden, Colorado, and eventually staying in the Los Angeles, California area, mostly in Long Beach. He graduated from high school in 1961, an experience he says is "best forgotten. I was too young to be a Beatnik and too old to be a Hippie. I owe my career to Lyndon Baines Johnson. I went to school without much direction. I guess it was partly to avoid getting drafted. I was drafted. After service, mostly in Barstow, California and Viet Nam (Barstow was the scary place), I resumed my education with the crucial G.I. Bill. My education was completed with a Masters from California State University, Long Beach." Currently, Sam Wilson is Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Utah Department of Art. His varied career includes a number of teaching positions in California and Colorado, being an illustrator for Carl Sagen's Cosmos on PBS, a "Magician" with Paramount Pictures, and working in stage design, construction, and silkscreening for Silent Running for Universal Studios. Wilson's work has been exhibited throughout the Intermountain Region and in California, earning him numerous awards. In 1992-93 he spent 16 months doing the interior of the Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake City, Utah. He said, "They let me do 'Wilson' stuff." Talking about his work, Wilson said, since I never could figure out the right way to start a painting, I would look at a piece of 'stuff,' thinking that it may be a way of generating a picture. It's like those horse-cart, chicken-egg questions. Do I collect stuff to paint or do I paint to collect stuff? By way of paint or pencil, I display objects both exotic and mundane on desk tops or in caves. This stuff I use may be replicas of other cultures or junk and tools from my work place. Masks may be people, people are animals or a rock is a place,it doesn't matter. I entertain myself and satisfy my curiosities by accumulating and arranging the items on the surface of the picture in a manner as unpredictable as possible. I believe that these oblique references and nonsense relationships open to me (and you) greater possibilities, more surprises and a justification for such a quiet and solitary entertainment. I use the techniques of realism and illusionism as a medium to present these harmless dramas. The pictures are just hanging around on the wall, I mean they are static. I assume the role of magician to add a helpful tension. The game of what's 'real' or not is a ploy, a device to catch your eye. The final result of this labor would be, for you, a trip with no passport, a contest with no clock and a visual snack without the predictable flavor of a franchised fun house.

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