UGA alum offers exclusive illustrations on its new online store | Arts & Culture


Mary Mason Sams, a University of Georgia alumnus and Athens-based artist, has opened an online store featuring her original works on paper, acrylic paintings and mixed media on canvas wrapped in a gallery. The pieces include collections inspired by wildlife, joy, faith and tranquility.

Sams has always been drawn to the creative process, starting when she was young and continuing through high school and eventually college at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. For Sams, art serves as a form of expression beyond the conscious mind, exploring more deeply his innermost thoughts.

Emotional artistic process

“My mom was a psychology student in college, and she understood early on that art was my happiness and how I communicated most authentically,” Sams said. “There is nothing like the feeling of completely letting go and letting the colors and composition of the painting guide me, then stepping back and seeing with clarity something my subconscious has been confronted with. “

Describing his work as colorful streams of consciousness, Sams alternates between materials such as jewelry making, watercolor, ink, left, acrylic and oil pastels. Among these mediums, Frida Kahlo has been an unwavering inspiration to Sams due to her interest in emotions, real events, and the people in her life.

Between these different mediums, Sams expressed that his collectors notice unifying elements of spirituality, vulnerability, movement and energy across all platforms. Spirituality plays an important role in Sams’ personal life – something that has naturally translated into his works and his creative process.

“[Spirituality] is what I always go back to to base myself on, ”Sams said. “It comes out a lot in my art at difficult times. I feel like my main goal is to share what I’m doing and to help motivate and support people. I feel like people are looking for something to find peace and I want my art to bring people peace.

Ann Reynolds, owner of the Sunshine Village Art Gallery in Watkinsville where Sams ‘art was presented, called Sams’ art a “blessing.” Their connection began when Sams first visited the gallery three years ago.

“I knew Mary had a great talent and her style was something I wanted to show off at the gallery,” Reynolds said. “Mary has definitely grown in her art and in expressing her way of seeing things. Her art is emotional and she simply understands.

Open an e-shop

With the desire to expand its customer base, develop a curated collection on a platform under its control, and reach a wider market beyond local gallery visitors, Sams developed its first online store or e -shop.

The e-shop offers exclusive online collections, such as its Florals collection which will be released on Black Friday. Typically, Sams begins her painting without knowing where the canvas will take her. For Florals, she focused above all on balancing the color palette of each room before developing the overall composition.

Beth Hall Thrasher, co-founder of Thrasher Photo & Design, worked with Sams last September to design her new website and online store. After Sams gathered her works into categories that were meaningful to her, Thrasher created a responsive website to display the paintings in themed galleries.

Thrasher has placed an emphasis on displaying art vertically and full bleed to make each room the focal point of the site versus a clean overall design with an ecommerce component.

“We wanted the store to have the same feel as the galleries,” Thrasher said. “Bigger pictures tell the story better than any text. We have made the decision not to crop the product images of the squared paintings as you will see with most online stores to honor the integrity of each painting.

During Thrasher’s time digitally working with Sams ‘art, she expressed her admiration for Sams’ skills and dedication to his passions.

“I’m blown away by how prolific Mary is and how she doesn’t limit herself to any theme,” Thrasher said. “She paints what moves her at the moment and I am impressed that she devotes herself to painting every day.”

In her experience as an artist and designer, Sams’ definition of art has evolved to represent both the subconscious and a way of speaking through physical creation.

“Art for me is the way I speak,” Sams said. “Growing up I was a bit shy and I was more honest when I drew. The truth would come out and for some reason it was less scary. There was that divide where it’s written, and I don’t necessarily need to be in the room when people see it, but it’s true for me. Art is my truth and my language.

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