Sam Mitchell is a maker, educator, and professional student currently residing in Iowa City, IA, where she maintains a home studio and an ever-evolving practice. Her work explores the vast precipice between adolescence and adulthood. Idealized memories and mashed up cartoons form the basis of her jewelry, which is worn as a badge, both an honor and reminder. Her recent work has been shown at the AV(17) Gallery in Vilnius, Lithuania (2014), The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN (2014), The Greenville Museum of Art in Greenville, NC (2013), and more. A recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts grant in 2012, she received her BFA from James Madison University in 2009, and her MFA in Metal and Jewelry Arts from the University of Iowa in 2014
Childhood is fleeting, gone the moment we realize how truly special it is. Adulthood is elusive, ever looming yet continually out of reach. At 30 years old I feel as though I am no longer a child yet not quite an adult. I am constantly in search of the moment when I will transition out of this midpoint. Adulthood is my mythical beast; something out of a storybook that many claim to exist but no one has yet to prove. I’m beginning to believe that being “grown-up” is really a state that doesn’t exist. In my current body of work I am exploring personal memories, imagery from my childhood, and experiences I gain in observing my son, all in an attempt to better understand myself, and what it means to be an adult. Drawing inspiration from the illustrations in Dr. Seuss stories and 90’s Nickelodeon cartoons, my work filters images and memories from my childhood through my continually maturing vision. This distillation explores the opposing natures of adulthood and childhood. Bright colors and simple shapes become finely crafted, sophisticated forms. Every piece is equally informed by my not too distant childhood and the ever-looming state of adulthood. These pieces hang in the same developmental limbo in which I continually find myself.