Expanded Horizons: Samara Shuter

‘Expanded Horizons’ showcases how personal discovery is intricately linked to environmental exposure. No one is more representative of this interplay than Samara Shuter, whose reputation and work have often preceded her physical presence. I caught up with her during a short stint in New York and discussed how culture influences her craft.

Have you logged how many cities/countries your work has reached? How does it feel to be building a global brand?

I recently started keeping track of who was logging onto my work from where. I have to tell you- it’s pretty amazing and mind boggling to be able to keep track of who is looking at what work and when. Being from Toronto and Montreal- a bulk of my visitors come from my support network where I grew up, and where my friends live. Lately, the seed has spread wide into Europe and Asia, as I’ve been focusing some of my energy into branching out in those art markets, and planning on taking my work overseas next year. It’s cool to see that one blog post from the U.K, has helped me reach Berlin, Moscow…all over Italy and beyond. It’s very exciting and the numbers are climbing. I am very much a part of my artwork- so it’s funny and foreign to me to be referred to as a “brand”. I don’t know how I feel- other than there is way more work to be done! It’s hard to step outside of the work and see how far I’ve come in such a short period of time. I’m just so grateful that so many people are expressing their appreciation for my work and projects to come. The feeling of building anything is great!

You could set up anywhere, in any acclaimed “art centric” city. Why do you work at home? What is special about Toronto?

Right now I’ve chosen to work at home because it helps me manage the rest of my work life, and there is space. My environment changes pretty often- so I can’t say I’ll work where I sleep for long. I want to go bigger- and that will require a warehouse, and a very big mess I don’t want to live in. I flirt with the idea of setting up shop in London, Miami and/or perhaps New York City. I love those places (and more). Luckily, I can move around if I had to, but the truth is… I prefer to know what to expect when it comes to my workspace… it takes time to find my flow and set up my materials before I can get started. I am also in a relationship, and relocating would have to work for the both of us. The good thing is, I can and do travel often for work and I am able to ship pieces anywhere as I have been already. Toronto is an amazing home-base. Some of my best friends are in and around the city-and it is a wonderful, cultural melting pot with a fun nightlife, always something to do and brewing up, and lots of green!

Has travel influenced how you blend your business and passion? What lessons have different atmospheres delivered?

Visiting different cities has certainly taught me a lot about different business culture. It’s so fascinating to witness and experience the ways in which we all operate on our own turf. You have to watch your etiquette- and societally… people’s expectations are different… whether it be good or bad. I’ve come across a lot, and it’s surely exposed me to things I want to try in my own work, and other things and people who I wouldn’t work with again. All important to learn and ongoing. I’m influenced by everything–aren’t we all? I digest 100 different ideas between here and “traveling” to my grocery store. Ok, more like 3… it’s close.

Keep up with Samara here.

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