Street Artist Samuel Molina is coming back to Plano.
Bold. Colorful. Non-conformist. Street Art is a worldwide phenomenon and has emerged out of the shadows as an authentic means of creative expression in the United States. More and more, artists are invited to design murals and other works for public spaces in cities across the nation. Plano is no exception.
Street Artist Samuel Molina
Samuel Molina has always been painting. As a youth he claims he was “bad” at street art, but he had a passion and a vision. Persistent practice developed his skills, and he is now known for his bold, bright designs. Growing up in Puerto Rico, Molina began doing murals and street art around town with other kids. The environment was friendly to street art, with individuals and businesses often granting permission for murals and such on walls, fences, and even homes. Public art festivals are held regularly with music, art and children’s activities. These community events are spirited and embrace creativity.
One of the unique elements of street art is that the canvas is not always blank to start with…and street art is temporary, often painted over by others. It’s not guaranteed to last. “That just comes with the territory,” says Samuel. His largest solo project was by his description humongous, painting a private home in Puerto Rico about three years ago. The paint alone cost about $2,000. He was given creative carte blanche for the project, and incorporated cartoon characters and bright colors. He recently went back to Puerto Rico to help out his family there and found his work still intact.
For Molina, street art is exciting because he starts with a vision, but the design is fluid, even experimental. The outcome develops as the piece is created. The process is natural. He is inspired by color and combinations of color which bring energy and positive outlook to a piece. He also enjoys typography and lettering. Most of his works combine words and graphic elements “mashed up”. The artistic designs are not always readable and he often adds cartoon characters. And cats. He loves cats.
As an artist, Molina has found Texas, and Plano in particular, to be a very welcoming environment. He has mostly adjusted to the “twang” of the southern drawl, and enjoys what he calls the “sugar treatment” of southern hospitality. “I like North Texas. The support I’ve found here for artists is strong and growing,” says Molina.
With a degree in graphic design, Molina spent six years as a corporate graphic designer before venturing out on his own. Since that time, he has continued to accept corporate design jobs working on t-shirt designs, logos for new developing companies, and other projects, while pursuing the creative endeavor he most enjoys…street art. “To me the greatest enjoyment in art is not being told what to do, but bringing creativity to the project and discovering it along the way,” says Molina.
Molina initially entered into the local art scene through Plano’s Art & Wine Walks. He was invited to paint on a tarp at his first Walk, and enjoyed painting live as well as displaying his art on canvases at subsequent Walks. An interesting project at Plano Art Fest had Molina creating art on Saran Wrap which was wrapped around trees. Afterward, a local family seeking a unique celebration experience booked Molina for their daughter’s high school graduation party and college send-off, at which Samuel replicated the concept and designed several caricatures on plastic wrap around trees. The teenagers watched with interest and excitedly exclaimed, “Look, that’s me!” or “Look, that’s you” as the likenesses took shape.
Molina has been involved in a number of collaborative projects in various communities such as Albuquerque, Denver, Palm Springs and Fresno. He worked solo on a large scale mural for a private company near Fair Park in Dallas, as well as a community project in Oak Cliff’s The Fabrication Yard. He’s participated in the Trinity Wind Festival and a community-building event following the shooting of a Dallas police officer last year.
One of Molina’s favorite opportunities was appearing at Plano Public Library as the Artist In Residence for August 2017. He had not taught art, nor interacted much with children, so he was surprised at how much fun he had teaching people of all ages. “I found it to be such a rewarding experience to work with people starting at ground zero, showing them techniques and watching their work develop as they let their creativity flow,” Molina reflects. “It is a privilege to influence others’ enjoyment of art and the creative process.” His approach is similar to the adage of teaching a man to fish rather than feeding him fish…he gives others artistic guidance and an example to reference, demonstrates the steps he uses then watches with interest as the student chooses his/her own path of expression.
Two sisters, ages 7 and 9, enjoyed interacting with Molina so much they wanted to come back every day, and they did come by the AIRSpace several times to work on lettering and designs with Samuel. He is happy to answer questions from the public and finds value in the exchange of ideas. The energy he gains from talking with others as he creates, and bouncing ideas off of others is beneficial. Molina is very personable and absolutely thrives on public engagement/interaction, which he credits with contributing to his success.
Recently, Molina discovered his young daughter drawing all over the wall in a closet. She’s already showing the influence and artistic flair of her father. Is art in her future? Some would say the writing is on the wall.
Samuel Molina at Plano Public Library’s 18st AIRSpace
Molina returns to Plano Public Library’s 18st AIRSpace as the Artist In Residence for March. The public is welcome to watch the artist engage in his work, interact with questions and dialogue, and to try their hand at this unique art form with simple colorful letters.
“Anyone can do it,” states Molina.
Find the artist in the AIRSpace at Harrington Library (1501 18th Street, Plano) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 4 – 9 pm.
Two-hour workshops offer the opportunity for guests to learn techniques from Molina and create their own unique artwork at 2 pm on Saturdays, March 10 and 24 at Harrington Library.
Find more information at www.planolibrary.org or in Engage.