We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Matthews and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sam, what role has risk played in your life or career?
With both of my businesses, Art Across Borders and Propagate Studio, I have thought a lot about risk. With both of them I felt more angst at the thought of not taking a risk and going for it in terms of starting the businesses than I did fear of failing from taking that risk. While I am a very emotional and feelings based person I do think through the risks, best and worst case scenarios for different choices and can rationalize a reason behind the choices I make. I have found that if you don’t take a risk, there is no magic, no lessons learned through the process and no surprises that you could have never planned for. There is also an immense amount of opinion based on risk. What is viewed by some as a risk without reward may be viewed differently by me. It’s is such a personal journey that I think grows with experience.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is very fluid, materials wise. I am always trying new things and don’t stick to one medium for very long. I have never let one medium define who I am as an artist and I am always encouraging others to be open to new materials as well. I have painted, made collages, created murals, wood burned, and illustrated. Most recently I have been creating in a new form. I have created a studio space where others can come take classes, have parties, as well as shop local artists. Propagate Studio has been so much fun to create and see how I can use my artistic skills in new ways. Getting to where I am professionally has really been a journey. I knew that I always wanted to be working artist and work for myself. When I graduated art school I started selling my work here and there and worked on commissions as they came up while also having other part time creative jobs. Becoming a “professional:” artist is all about fighting for your creations and work and getting it in front of people no matter what. Selling online, through social media, at markets, at fairs, have all taught me different skills and important lessons. Whenever a challenge has come up there is always a way to pivot. I have learned to hold my idea of how something “should” be or how something “should” turn out, very loosely. There are always lessons to be learned and outcomes waiting from an opportunity you could not have planned for. I want the world to know that I am where I am because I have chosen to love myself and have given myself permission to play take risks. Loving what you do is so important. Of course there are seasons where I don’t love what I am doing but I know they serve a purpose. Making sure to balance that is so important to living an authentic and joyful life. I am where I am because I have made it work. Nothing happens overnight but choosing to work for your dream and taking action for it does.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Where I live is so beautiful. We are close to the mountains, the river, and not too far from NYC. You have to start with a NJ bagel sandwich and coffee from my favorite coffee shop called Scout’s. I would take them to some of my favorite local breweries and local farms that have pick your own days. Maybe take a hike to some local waterfalls. I love visiting antique shops in the area, there are a few really great ones. There are so many unique art galleries and experiences not far from me as well such as Grounds for Sculpture. We live 5 minutes from the river so walking down town at night is so beautiful. Well now I want to go do all these things so who is coming to visit and hang out?

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people I have to thank for where I am, like truly hundreds, but my biggest cheerleader and supporter is my mom, Heide. She is a full time working nurse who has been through it all and still has so much life and love to give. She supports all my dreams and helps me come up with game plans for every wild idea I have. She has helped me at countless markets, been my booth babe, social media pusher, and now business partner. I truly wouldn’t be where I am without her constant support and dream big work hard ethic.

Website: artacrossborders.com propagatestudionj.com

Instagram: @artacrossborders @propagate.studio

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