Updated: Jun 4
NHS Heroes - Sam Barroso
Art of the week
So we caught up with 19yr old Sam, a North West London based artist who has been drawing for 7 years. Me and Sam first became acquainted via Instagram, just prior to Xmas 2020. My attention was drawn to one of Sam's drawings in progress and I was astounded by it. He entitled it NHS Heroes which was beautifully named, especially during these tough COVID times we are currently living in.
COVID has hit a lot of people very hard in the last 12 months, especially NHS workers who have been working on the front line since day one, often working 10-15 hrs shifts, masked up and sometimes wearing full PPE throughout their shift. Just the thought of working in this environment alone, uncomfortable and tired, when just thinking about the fear of actually catching COVID would be enough for me.
I often see people shopping in supermarkets, without any masks, some claiming medical exemptions whilst others I firmly believe are just flouting the law and basic safety & etiquette, endangering the lives of the rest of the community. I wonder how they people would cope, in the same environment as these Dr's, nurses, cleaners and carers.
I believe we need to all work together to rid this awful COVID disease. I remember the nights we spent clapping for carers, which were worthless if, minutes later we breached the other basics of meeting up with family and friends.
In Sam's artwork you will see names, hidden in the background of the sketch. At first these names appear meaningless, until you realise what they are and represent. We put a few questions to Sam, have a read below to see how important these name are to us.........
Sam Barroso - NHS Heroes
What age did you first notice you had a talent for art and can you remember what your first big piece of artwork was?
In my early years of Secondary school, I hated art as I didn’t know how to draw, but also, I couldn’t find an art style that truly resonated with me. I finally discovered Hyperrealism and artists such as Kelvin Okafor who was the contemporary pioneer at the time. I remember studying his art style and technique for hours until I got to year 11 and finally had the courage to do my first ‘realism’ portrait which was of Samuel L. Jackson.
Who are your inspirations and why?
Many of my works, especially my Portraits are inspired by Kelvin Okafor due to the sensitive nature of my technique. Though in this recent year I have become more influenced by MC Escher, Arinze Stanley and Jono Dry as I want to shift my style from realism to exploring the figurative/portraiture realm through abstract realism. I want my art to live beyond the page, being a commentary on social/ethical issues, embedded with deep hidden meaning which the viewers can uncover and discover.
Your masterpiece NHS Heroes. What were your inspirations behind that sketch?
Since the Pandemic started the NHS Workers have been on the front line, showcasing resilience, courage and determination. These are attributes that make a hero, and as such, I felt it was important to portray every NHS worker, no matter their role or background. The Typography in the background represent the names of the NHS Workers that have tragically passed away during the fight to save people's lives. I want their names to live on in the same way that my art lives beyond the page and never be forgotten.
How did you get it noticed enough to be placed on the billboard?
I am fortunate enough to have a relationship with Kelvin Okafor, who I first met at his W1 Curates / Flannels Billboard Exhibition in Oxford Street. Since then, he has been incredibly supportive of my artistic & creative practice and was the one that made the magic happen.
What is your style of artwork and what drew you towards that style?
I would describe my style as Abstract Realism. I love the concept of interpretation and deeper meaning and hence these are attributes I wish to continue to incorporate into my work. In ways, I want my art to be more than just ‘art’, but also a voice for those who can't be heard in times of oppression and hardship.
What is a basic day in the life of Sam Barroso?
When I'm not out with friends or family, I typically start my day with some form of exercises or workout. This year I have started boxing and weightlifting in my garden which has had a positive impact on my mental/emotional wellbeing and performance. This allows me to stay focused and continue to manifest and achieve my dreams and ambitions. I will then spend the majority of the day working on commissions, packaging & shipping Etsy orders or even working towards Original pieces. In the evening I will typically relax and wind down by watching a series and meditating before bed. No two days are the same which makes the following day exciting and interesting.
If you could visit any part of the world where would you go and why?
There are so, many beautiful places I want to go to, but a hike in the Patagonia in South America seems like a nice place to start. The views and Landscape look breathtaking!
It's well worth visiting Sam's site sambarrosoart.com to have a look at some of his other artwork like his first drawing of Samuel L Jackson (aged 11). I have no doubt that Sam will do well in life and definitely feature again on our Art of the Week section.
Sam can be contacted for commissions, via Instagram, WhatsApp or personal email. All of these details are showing on his site.