Studio Visit: Sam Kieth

September 11, 2012


The first time I visited Sam Kieth's studio, about 10 years ago, he shared cubicle space directly above The Spaghetti Factory. And he had a janitor. The last time I ventured up to Sam Kieth's studio, 6 years later, he was literally working (comfortably, might I add) in a duct-tape-wrapped mummy of a chair in an underground hideout in the forests of Placerville, CA. By underground I mean UNDERGROUND. There was dirt on top of the ceiling. There were roots bulging the walls forward making it look like his quaint creative space was either breathing or trying to hug Sam constantly. At least, that's what I REMEMBER. But who know's what it really was like. Sam seems to have that effect on people, his personality being humble, comforting, and interested, while simultaneously being mysterious and often times lovingly rambling about Frank Zappa, the joys of duct tape, and secret places he had escaped to as a child. His imagination is contagious, so my case still stands: who know's what his studio in the forest was really like.


Now, however, a few years later, Sam and his wife relocated back into civilization and his new studio actually offers an invitation to the sun to visit him periodically throughout the day. And the Mummy Chair is fully intact. This new, cozy home is where Skinner, Chloe Rice & I showed up to interview him for the Halloween issue. And in addition to giving us an amazing interview, Skinner & I got Sam to open his art vaults and show us some of the original drawings and paintings that both Skinner and I had drooled over reproductions for 20 years.


Luckily, as we were all too giddy and goofy to do anything except mutter "oh this is coooool" repeatedly, CHLOE RICE (www.itschloe.com) kept her composure and photographed a little glimpse into Sam Kieth's art collection and his creative space.


-Alex Pardee