Post 1612 with Kevin Samp and Brandon Scott

Project 1612: Can you give us a brief overview of your work individually and collaboratively. 

Kevin: Most of my writing is done is very short form, be it a collection of poems or a stand-alone short story. I’m a devout follower of Jefferson’s quote, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” I work to distill a piece to only the most honest, valuable words. In working with Brandon, I’ve found he takes a similar approach to his visual art. Regardless of the style of a piece, he takes great care to include that which is invaluable and to avoid that which is simply wasted strokes. It makes for a comfortable and cohesive collaboration. 

Brandon: Independently my work tends to deal with the juxtaposition of the micro vs the macro. During my undergrad I started exploring visuals under a microscope and then building those textures up on a larger scale to represent something more cosmic. Collaboratively we tend to play off each others own themes to find a medium balance. 

Project 1612: Considering you both live in Peoria, have you shown work in the area before? 

Kevin: I haven’t. 

Brandon: Neither have I, besides some student exhibitions. 

Project 1612: As local artists, you were able to come visit the space a couple months before your exhibition. Did you stick with your initial plans or alter them once you started making the work?

Kevin: Although the content of the work itself stayed pretty much the same, we did work with the layout of the space to find a great pattern for installation. The two-directional, sequential flow of the project worked perfectly within the symmetrical box that the space provided. It forced the viewer to walk through both sides of the story independently while still seeing them in concert inside four walls. It allowed us to use one central starting point with two equidistant paths in a clean way.

Brandon: The theme remained the same, but the overall execution changed a few times between discussing/viewing/ and eventually setting up the show. 

Project 1612: This was more of a collaborative exhibition. Can you talk more about the content of the work and how you made it a collaborative effort. 

Kevin: About a decade ago, my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a neurological disorder that has no known cure. It’s been something of a nightmare to watch it progress over the years, but it’s also proven to me what role someone’s attitude plays in life. There are days where her willpower, grace and kindness are strengthened by how she decides to live with the disease. There are days, too, where it breaks her. I wanted to illustrate the effects on the mind that such a diagnoses can do. The viewer starts in a central point and takes one of two paths. One path dives deeper into madness, the loosening of reality that can creep into your heart if you let it. The other path moves up and into hope with acceptance and bravery being the catalysts for that type of progression. I wanted to include both paths in one piece to give the viewer the sense that, on any given day, you can find yourself on either path. Both sides live within one brain. And as with the choice of path the viewer takes, so, too, does a person living with a terminal disease. 

Brandon: Kevin really took lead on this project, I know the subject matter was really close to him personally. I felt where I could strongly contribute was to visually display his words, and illustrate the scenes that he and his mother were dealing with. I had done a study a few years back where I had sketched hundred of pages of chaotic, organic lines. I knew immediately that this matrix of neurons would be a perfect foundation to this overall theme in exploring the connections between the brain and then metaphysical.

Project 1612: Have you worked collaboratively before? And have you continued to work collaboratively since Project 1612? 

Kevin: Brandon and I have worked together in a professional and casual setting for a number of years, but this was the first time we completed a fine art project together. We have continued to work together since Project 1612 on various video projects.

Brandon: As Kevin stated this was the first time we’ve applied our partnership to a fine art setting. We have several video projects we have completed and are looking to complete in the future. 

Project 1612: In what ways has your work developed since your residency at Project 1612? How did this experience influence your practice?

Kevin: This was frankly the first time I had ever shown my writing to an audience outside my family and close friends. As something of a bucket list item, our residency at Project 1612 gave me a sense of completion by showcasing my work in a public forum. I’ve continued to write personally since Project 1612, but have yet to work on another exhibition. 

Brandon: Since 1612 I’ve started looking into expanding the mediums that I work in, and ways to display that. Professionally I work in video and graphic arts, but I have tried now to develop different audiences and work then my usual 9-5. 

Installation view

Installation view

Project 1612: Do you have any projects you're currently working on or any upcoming projects we should know about? 

Kevin: Nothing formal.

Brandon: I’m currently working on two short films that I would like to start production on by the end of the year. I’m also working on a few short video pieces. Nothing in the way of printmaking, besides some personal work here and there.