One of my earliest recollections is the sawdust dancing in the basement air as I stood on my grandfather’s workbench. Together, using materials which would now be called recycled, we constructed a rambling bird-house. Since that time I’ve never lost interest inbuilding things.
School and I didn’t take – though the pencil and I got on famously! I spent many hours drawing cartoons in class but it was not on the catholic school curriculum and the nuns were not amused. So I learned to sneak my drawings out to pals at recess. Later on, in high school, I wandered into the ceramics lab and basically stayed there for the next four years.
After that, my unconventional approach for furthering my education was to never enroll in classes – just crash the ones I liked and do the assignments I choose. A timely bribe to the night janitors at three successive community colleges gave me 24-7 access to the art studios. I didn’t care about grades or degrees and never received either. My focus was ceramics but other materials started to creep in and then the clay gradually disappeared.
The mechanical madness that took root in grandpa’s basement continues to push me in new directions with diverse influences guiding the aesthetic. I draw on everything from Marx Brothers to Marks Toys, from Calder to Keaton and from Rube Goldberg to Andy Goldsworthy. These days, among my kinetic water fountains, enormous insects on buildings and confounding contraptions sits Stumble Bones -- the slap-stick star of my graphic book. Stumble heads out to meet the world in May 2015. He’ll shake your hand from the pages of his book “Stumble Bones: Da Funny Pages.”
Here in Bisbee, AZ, my home for 14 years, I opened SamPoe Gallery with my wife in 2008 and co-founded Bisbee’s annual artist’s soap box derby: Bisbee Rolling Arts Transport Society, aka BRATS. I love building coasters from scratch and you can see some of them on display around town.