Following a two-year stint of treatment for borderline personality disorder and heroin addiction, I re-entered the world with the moniker “Sammy thrashLife” and the resolve to build a life on the new passion I discovered while institutionalized. On Friday afternoons, theyʼd make us draw or paint. I hated it until, one day, it just clicked and became my favorite thing in the world.
A graduate of the Law Center at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, I have no formal arts training. I like colors and funny faces. Admittedly, itʼs more than that but Iʼm the first to admit Iʼve got zero technical ability.
Bright colors, rotten smiles, and snarky captions in bold block-letters characterize my work but a closer look reveals intensely honest, reflective, personal journals in small print. I donʼt shoot heroin anymore but Iʼm still an emotional basketcase. Paints and pens are the tools I use to balance myself out.
I had my first exhibition in November 2013 and, soon after, decided I was too ambitious to stay in one city. In January of 2014, I set out traveling the country, meeting with galleries and creating, exhibiting, and selling my art in new cities. Art became my full-time job.
In the fall of 2015, my life fell apart and – by February of 2016 – I had stopped making art and was back to shooting heroin on a daily basis.
After a suicide attempt and a slew of criminal charges in the fall of 2016, I’m trying harder than ever to stay clean and to start painting and writing again. You can probably get an idea of how well that’s going at any given moment by checking the most recent entry on my blog.
Selected press and media:
Folio (magazine; Florida)
“Sam’s brutal honesty, always with a dose of narcissism and boyish charm … leaves an impact on almost everyone he meets. He gives so much of himself, both through his art and the short biographical stories he includes with each piece — which is exactly why it’s selling.” (Read the full story).
NPR (radio; Minnesota)
“Sporting a shock of blond hair and an impish grin, thrashLife has a presence that verges on performance art… His paintings are brash and colorful, mixed with small-print streams of consciousness and topped with a larger, more snarky or witty comment to grab the eye.” (Listen to the full report).
You can also read about Sammy thrashLife on Wikipedia, follow his Facebook page and Instagram account, and get the most information and most regular updates from his personal Facebook profile. (Updates from the Facebook profile are mostly “friends only” and so require approval of a “friend request”; if yours goes unanswered, try sending a message either through Facebook’s Messenger or with the contact form).