Skinned: Sam Octigan
Our monthly feature where we give over the website to the work of the artists we love!
We look at our website all day, every single day and as some of you may have noticed there are blocks of real estate on the outer edges of the browser that are more often than not empty. We sometimes fill these with advertising so that we can keep eating, but we also see this as an opportunity and on a monthly basis have decided to give it over to the artists we love as a monthly feature to help help grow the networks and awareness of the creatives we love! We'll be having chats to the people we feature and if you are a regular visitor to Pilerats.com you will be seeing their visuals everytime you visit!
After giving it to Sean Morris last time around, meet this month's "Skinned" Artist - Sam Octigan.
So how are you mate? Where are you? What are you doing? What have you been up to lately?
I’m good mate, right now I’m in Collingwood, sitting in on the RVCA Corner Gallery. Been helping out with the space on occasion for the past 12 months or so when they’ve needed a hand. It’s been good! Lately I’ve been working on a lot of commercial projects and have just handed in my submission for the Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary show coming up next month.
So I guess going back to the beginning - what was it that motivated you to want to work in creative fields? What or who was it that made you want to originally pick it up and also what then motivated you to take it from something you did because you enjoyed it to something that was going to be a career?
It’s a common answer for an artist/illustrator, but I’ve always drawn and done creative things ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil or brush. In high school and the first couple of years following I was really into animation, but it wasn’t for me. I remember picking up one of the first issues of Monster Children and reading interviews with the artist/illustrators they were into back then and being drawn to the idea of being able to work on personal projects and commercial projects as a freelancer. I never even considered pursuing a career in a non-creative field, but figuring out exactly what that field would be has taken a bit of time.
Was there ever a low point for you where things weren't going your way and you were rethinking making this your career maybe just relegating it to an after hours pursuit?
There’s been low points, but I’ve never considered making what I do a hobby - a big part of what drives me forward is making sure I get to spend my time creating things and doing what I love. The challenge is getting the balance in projects right, which over the past couple of years has definitely been a focus for me. I do spend a lot of time considering how and where to focus my efforts and adjusting that balance.
The last time we did a Q&A was in 2013 for our magazine (which we don’t do anymore and evolved into this website!). In that same time we’ve seen you work evolve a lot as well. Has that evolution been something that was conscious or something that just happened quite naturally?
That’s right, the digital mag! I guess a bit of both. Around the time we last spoke I would have recently had my first solo exhibition and been preparing for the first Studio 615 group show. The work I produced for the latter was a big turning point creatively I think and the work I’ve created since then has been informed by it a lot. Also around that time I was going a bit nuts with experimentation, using all sorts of mediums and techniques and taking on any and all projects that came my way. Since then I’ve worked quite hard to refine and narrow down what I produce. It’s a process that takes time I’ve learned, you have to be patient and let it evolve naturally to an extent.
What is your time mainly split between these days? What worlds do most of your work come from?
It’s always fluctuating, but right now I’d say most of my work is coming from commercial or client-driven work and projects. I’m about to start on my next body of personal work to be exhibited though so that will no doubt see-saw a little.
Are the gallery shows good for business or is it more for brand building and exposure? Or just a reason to explore personal ideas and work?
It’s hard to say exactly, perhaps all of the above. Definitely the main motivation is personal enjoyment in creating the work and then directly connecting with an audience and community. Exposure is there for sure, but the benefits of that tend to appear further down the track so you don’t always make the connection right away. I’ve always been a slowburn kind of guy I think.
How’s things in the Iron Mind camp? I know you guys have stepped back from it a little but what are the bands plans going forward? Are we going to see you guys write/record and do more in the future?
No concrete plans right now. We played a great sold out show at the Bendigo a couple of months ago which I’d say was the last of the era when Iron Mind was touring regularly and actively trying to do as much as possible and to be honest, we had a pretty damn good run. We all still love the band and the music etc, but have other life priorities pulling us in other directions. We might get together and write our best stuff yet, or we might not depending on how busy we all are in the future. Don’t mean to be vague but there’s no crystal balls, haha. Shout outs to Planet Perth!
So what's next for you, what do you want to do that you haven't done yet? What are you up to for the rest of the year and what are your plans and goals long term as well?
Well speaking of heavy music, I’ve just signed on to work with Mizery from Southern California on the art and packaging for their debut LP with Flatspot Records and I am excited about it. The ideas that have been kicked around over Skype are sick and it’s turning out to be a bit of a dream project. That will definitely keep me busy for the next minute. Next year I plan on working overseas for a spell, I want to do something different for my next solo show and really just keep doing what I’m doing. There’s actually a bit cooking right now but might be a bit premature to spill it.
What have you been listening to lately? What’s on rotation in the studio at the moment?
Alison Wonderland - Run
Shlohmo - Dark Red
Forced Order - Vanished Crusade
Bad Brains - I Against I
Alchemist - Israeli Salad
Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon
Good luck with everything man. Thanks for the skin and thanks for the chat! Any parting words, life advice etc for those reading?
Cheers man same to you! Love watching Pilerats evolve over the past couple of years, what you guys are doing is super sick. Keep it up, thanks for the interview and cheers to anyone taking an interest in what I do.