Samantha Pacheco: Translating Emotions into Art & Self-Criticism

Hello! My name is Samantha Pacheco, I’m 24, currently living in Rockland County, NY, I’m Latina, and my ethnicity is Puerto Rican, Dutch and Jewish. I’m doing well, thank you for inviting me to share a piece of myself with all of you 🙂  I’m a multimedia artist based in New York, finding my way in the world, and simultaneously focusing on finding myself. 


How did you get pulled into making art? What motivates you to continue creating artwork?


Truthfully, I’m not sure if I was ever really “pulled in,” so to speak… for as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating. However, I’ve definitely grown into my artistry throughout the years. Making art comes very naturally to me; I’ve always felt most comfortable expressing myself by channeling my emotions and introspections into a tangible, physical piece to hold and connect with. I’d say that my absolute desire for self-expression and relatable human connection is what keeps me making art.  


How would you describe your pieces in 3-5 words?


This is a tricky one. I guess I’d have to say expressive, interpretive, psychedelic, juxtaposed, and dreamlike. 

What do you like most about being a visual artist?


What I like most about being an artist is definitely having the ability to translate emotion and thought trains into something more physical. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and to be able to have a healthy and creative outlet into which I can channel those feelings is really special to me. That, and the connections I’ve made, both intentionally and unintentionally, to other individuals that resonate with those translations. Without art, I don’t think I’d have the same incredible and uplifting creative community that I’ve grown into. 


Naturally, artists are critical of their own work and struggle with finishing projects. How do you know when you are done with a piece?


Oh man. I don’t even think I have a solid answer for this one…This is something I struggle with indefinitely, I don’t know if I have ever fully known when a painting of mine is totally finished. Sometimes I’ll look at a piece I haven’t seen for years and can visualize possible additions or things I could change/tweak to “complete” it. For me, one of the most frustrating things is having a solid vision of something I’d like to see myself create, and then upon the attempt, having something completely different appear. But truthfully, now that I’m writing this all down, I guess one could see this as something quite beautiful- building something out of nothing, and finding things inside of that something that you’d have never expected otherwise. It’s that neverending pull of the vision and the ultimate realization that I can never really replicate my dream exactly, or entirely. You’ve got to be comfortable with what it grows into and becomes, instead of dwelling in the thoughts that it could never be what you wanted it to be in the first place. Finishing a painting is exactly that. Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a fixed ending.


What are your inspirations for creating something? What artists inspire you?


I loooove this question, this is one of those things I’m able to talk about for hours. Inspiration is literally everywhere, in the most obvious of places, as well as in the things you’d least expect…I am constantly receiving an influx of artistic influence in all aspects of my life, in both good and bad circumstances and in people and in sound. I pull a lot of the creativity used in my art from the spectrum of both simple and complex in nature, the golden ratio, and definitely from the human body: from hues of color to the shifting of natural light over a surface. As well as my visual inspirations, I’m continually influenced by music and audible arts. Currently, some of my biggest inspirations in the visual arts world are Rob Moss Wilson, Gabriel Welch, Stephen Kruse, DR01D Visuals, and James Jean. In terms of auditory arts, I’ve been heavily inspired by Nils Frahm, Boards of Canada, Shards, Floating Points, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Uyama Hiroto, and Jade Cicada.


The theme of our first issue is ‘INTROSPECTION’. -the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings. Do you think art should result in self-reflection in the artist and/or the audience? What makes your art purposeful?


Art is so subjective, almost completely, and in being subjective, prompts self-reflection both intentionally and unintentionally. Speaking from my own personal experience with making art, I have most definitely taken some pretty deep plunges into the inner-workings of my own psyche. Making art has been a really revealing experience in terms of learning about myself and my mind, as well as dealing and coping with happenings in my life. I also think that the way I perceive art, whether it be my own or someone else’s, has a lot to do with what I personally am dealing with in that current situation. This goes for the audience as well, the viewer of the art most definitely perceives that art in relation to their own current state of mind. I think my art is purposeful in the way that it is thought-provoking and cerebral. I want my audience to want to think about it, to break it down internally in their own way, in relation to the theme of introspection.


What would you say is a common misconception people have about artists?


This question is a little more difficult for me, particularly because I know so many wonderful artists personally, and not one of them fits exactly the same bill as another. We are all so unique and face so many different things, in not only our lives but in our work and our experience as artists. To someone who is not an artist, or part of the arts community, a common misconception could be that artists are the individuals, in working society, that face more adversity and struggle in their field, or are stereotyped as lazy, ill (Van Gogh-esque), or constantly “struggling” (i.e. starving artist). I feel like that stereotype can apply to any other profession as well,  and can definitely be damaging to people that make art in the way that we are not taken seriously. Personally, I feel that we artists are not taken as seriously as we should be, by many. There are some that don’t see the creation of fine art as a job, and more so as a hobby or something on the side. That may be true for some, but not at all true for many, including myself.

What do you want an audience to take away from your work?

I definitely appreciate when viewers interpret my work in their own way- I usually leave it up to them instead of setting the guidelines for a more specific interpretation. It also is very dependant on what kind of piece it is; for example, my one-line series, titled “Whispers”, are sometimes looked at in a more technical way, as an abstraction or modern contemporary-ish type of thing, but I’ve also had individuals tell me they’ve felt warmth and visual jazz, and a sense of togetherness in the warmth. From my “Smoke Spots” series, I’ve been told viewers feel a comfortable sense of isolation, and a desire to be a part of this fantasy location. As a whole, I want those who view my work to feel the warmth and to feel the dreamlike comfort that I feel from my work- sort of a visual getaway, and the gateway to a new and imaginative world.


What else are you up to? Any upcoming projects? Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?


Currently, I’m working on broadening my use of different artistic mediums, I’ve been doing a lot of illustration graffiti and honing in on some spray painting skills, and I’m working on a series of my single-line paintings. As this series is gradually sold, I’m hoping to donate at least 50% of my profits to Black Lives Matter organizations, bail funds, and individual queer, trans, BIPOC who’ve been hit hard financially by the pandemic. It’s hard to really prioritize just one thing at a time when it comes to my art, I’m always looking to branch out and explore new things, but the number one thing on my list of art goals is to apprentice and eventually earn my license to tattoo. That goal, as well as traveling and learning to produce my own music, definitely tie into the vision I have of my life in 5-10 years.


Is there anything else you want us to know about you and your beautiful work?


I definitely want to be candid about how art has shaped my life. Through art, and the wonderful arts community I’m proud to say I’m a part of, I’ve discovered so many facets of myself I never thought possible. I’ve learned true self-expression, I’ve learned how to write, how to make a mess, and how to make something extraordinary out of almost nothing. Art has changed the way my mind works; this has allowed me to see beauty in the most unexpected places, and to hear music in the most mundane, everyday things- such as the skid of a car on the road, or the hum of someone’s conversation- and for that, I am so so grateful. My work has shaped me and has grown with me. 


One of the biggest things I struggle with, in terms of my art, is my internal criticism. My Self is my biggest hindrance above all else, the source of my procrastination and long periods of refusing to/not being able to create. I’ve had an account on Instagram dedicated to posting my art for about 5 years now, but have posted the bare minimum because of that critic telling me it wasn’t “insta-worthy” or good enough to post in general. I opened up to a friend of mine about this exact thing the other day, and what he said to me really resonated well: “not everything you make is gonna be gold, but if you’re always working and putting stuff out you’re always progressing. It’s good to be critical for sure, just not worth getting hung up on. Just move on.” I think that was really important for me to hear, and I’d like to share that with you all, and whomever else needs to hear it.


 Art is underrated, and artists even more so. Art is everywhere- not only in paintings and drawings and music, but it’s the movies and television shows you watch, your dental work, the advertisements you see every single day. It’s in your video games and entertainment, your clothing, and fashion, from pottery to prosthetics. The more anyone realizes that their lives are surrounded by and supported by art, the more us artists will receive the recognition and appreciation that we deserve. 🙂