Interview: Samer Fouad
L.E. Brown: You work primarily with collage and photography. How do you take a photograph or photographs and make them into a collage? Is that a physical process with paper and scissors, or is it digital?
Samer Fouad: I would say both, a lot of my work comes from either images I appropriate or take myself. I’m taking over 50 photographs a day because I document everything I do. Sometimes it’s just details, lines, or architecture, specifically organic or brutalist buildings, or I just start pulling images from the internet and re-appropriating them to use specific details. A lot of it is exacto knife and tape, but most of it is using the lasso tool on photoshop.
LEB: In your work it seems like there are overarching themes of urbanism and futurism. Are you inspired by these ideas or does it just occur naturally?
SF: I’m definitely inspired by them; especially by post-WWI brutalism and urbanism as a whole. I think it’s interesting, especially from an immigration standpoint. People who immigrate usually move directly into cities, because it’s the easiest place to find work, but it’s also the most expensive place to live. Urbanism is a big part of that, and the idea of dystopian and utopian cultures within urban environments is really inspiring to me.
LEB: Would you say that living in New York City influences your work? When you started working with photography, were you living in a big city?
SF: I got into photography when I was living in the suburbs. I’d photograph my friends skateboarding, and we’d spend a lot of time in New York to skate. A lot of my photography was influenced by subcultures of punk rock and skateboarding, and it evolved into an art form. There’s no better city to document than New York. You can point your camera anywhere and find something beautiful.
LEB: What are some more of your influences in your art?
SF: I’m really into Italian Futurism, DaDa, Merz, and the Bauhaus. Artists like Man Ray, Magritte, Duchamp, and El Lissitzky really shaped me as a young artist. Henri Cartier-Bresson is a big influence as well. Basically, people who just said “fuck art” and reversed the role of it, and re-defined what art was. On the other hand, I have a lot of futuristic influences, like cyberpunk and sci-fi from the 60s to the 80s, before the internet age. That’s the other side of the spectrum, where social media and the internet play a big role in what’s being digested.
LEB: What are some kind of projects that you’d like to work on in the future?
SF: A big project I want to do is to create an artist commune where classes and workshops would be readily available to young artists, emerging artists, or people who just want to make art. I’d also love to work more with video, where I’d be creating stills or shorts. Earlier this year, I worked on a series called “carwash conversations,” where I filmed conversations with artists as we rolled through carwashes. I’d really love to expand on my video work.
LEB: What kind of work do you do in the art world outside of creating your own art? How do you think that affects your work?
SF: My everyday work, more than anything, probably has the biggest affect on my art. I’m mostly an art handler, and I work with installation, packing, wrapping, shipping, transportation.. I work with a lot of high-end art and I get to see the world’s most famous artists in action. It’s a big inspiration to have their work in my hands, and see how they want it installed, and working with them to put shows together. It definitely inspires how I think of expressing my own work, a lot of which is installation-based.✶