Samantha Totty

When did you start painting, drawing and creating and what pushed you towards it?

My parents are both creative and encouraged me to make things from a young age. My dad was a ceramic artist throughout my childhood and would bring me along to his studio during the school holidays. He would give me a chunk of clay to keep me occupied and I would spend the day making little animal ornaments. My mum painted most Sunday’s outside on the balcony. I often joined her and she would let me paint over her unsuccessful canvas paintings. I always painted the same thing as a child, usually a harbour filled with boats or the skyline of a city. My upbringing definitely played a key role in fostering my creative growth.


How do you find the balance between the vision you have and the mediums you are using?

Through adding, rotating, taking away, cutting, gluing and repeating this process. I rarely have a specific vision in mind. Instead, I prefer a more spontaneous approach and allow my works to evolve organically. I’m drawn to materials, especially fabric, paint and paper. I’ll assemble these elements in various ways, almost like a jigsaw puzzle, until the elements move in harmony with one another. I always know when a work is complete purely by the feeling I get in my stomach. My process is highly intuitive and free-flowing. 

Samantha Totty


What inspired your style of work? Where do you get inspiration from? Are there any particular artists, photographers, painters drawers you look up to their works? 

My everyday surroundings are an endless inspiration source for me. I’m drawn to the details, it could be the subtle texture of some fabric or the organic forms found in a landscape. I remember discovering the work of Agnes Martin during my last year of design school. It was the simplicity and calmness of her paintings that captivated me. I was lucky enough to see a few of her works in the flesh at the MOMA last year in New York. I was staring at them for hours…it was a very memorable moment. 


Samantha Totty

What is the process behind the creation of a piece?

Even though my works appear refined and simplistic in nature, my process is very experimental. I get lost in thoughts and feelings and then my work usually evolves from there. I have a giant box filled with collage material sitting in my studio. I’ll usually sit on the floor with a cup of tea and have a good old rummage. I like finding bits of paper, fabric, shapes and colours that work well together. I’ll keep playing and arranging the pieces until I find a composition that speaks to me.


Would you say that there is a main thread connecting all your artworks and if so, which is it?

I would say the main thread is my desire to explore both contemporary and organic shapes. There is always an element of playfulness in my works. I want the shapes to communicate with each other in unexpected ways, dace with each other across the page whilst keeping that visual balance and refinement. 

Samantha Totty