Artists ~ Sam White ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Sam White
Shop name: Ghostbutter Studios
Twitter: fakesamwhite
Facebook: samwhite

1. Tell us about your work
I am a Providence-based illustrator, muralist, and screen printer. I work out of the Nicholson File studio complex, which is a wonderful community of wing nut artists of all types. My work life has a tremendous amount of variety. In a month, I'll be painting a commissioned mural on the exterior of the Dean Hotel. In June, I'll be leading an ambitious world building exercise in Buffalo where the environments are created entirely from painter's tape. In the meantime, I've been designing and printing custom shirts for various clients around town. I also print and sell my own work -- on etsy and elsewhere. I'm eager to get to work on some new paper and ceramic tile prints this Spring.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
Ghostbutter was an old internet handle of mine that I now use as a business name. The tagline is Spooky Fat. I feel like the name Ghostbutter incorporates several elements that appeal to me in one moniker -- the paranormal, the dairy, the methyl ketones. That's the best I can do putting it into words.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I became a professional with all this after failing to find happiness with an office job (I worked various office jobs for around ten years) and after ruling other professions out -- taxi driver (got lost too much), bartender (couldn't finish a shift without overly sweating). The good news about what I do now is that it involves a lot of collaboration, and that's where I excel. I do enjoy helping to bring ideas to life that were born of brains not my own.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
Looking out the window on the Providence skyline. My wife. My kids. My immediate community. Instagram. Books by George Saunders. Paintings by Phillip Guston. The street artist Blu. Music by Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Nirvana.

5. What’s your favorite item to create? 
Probably a good mural, though I'm really digging screen printing of late. I've done a bunch of street art and that might take the cake for best the ratio of cardio vascular activity to artistic output.

6. What’s your best seller? 
If we're talking strict product-based commerce then The Oysteroid. A print of an astronaut planting a flag on an oyster/asteroid. If we're talking overall lifetime everything, then Wooly Fair, an arts carnival I used to direct at the Steel Yard.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island? 
14 years or so.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
It's affordable with an authentic creative culture built by people who are making their own worlds from scratch. Worlds I love in Providence include: Nicholson File, The Wurks, The Steel Yard, Monohasset Mill, The Dirt Palace. Providence has some great restaurants. The beaches. I also love the beaches.

9. Favorite place to take out-of-towners? 
The Steel Yard and Lincoln Woods. The restaurants Oberlin and Olyneville New York System.

10. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Go all in and don't look back. Find a good community of other makers who you can positively contribute to while drawing on their knowledge and support. Know that it's an at times unstable and terrifying process but also know that if you succeed you will have succeeded at a job that no one will ever fire you from. Know that the promotion and admin side of the business will likely take 50% of your time. Sell your work locally. Cultivate local networks.


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