Samuel Ross on artistic expression, his work as a sculptor and Virgil Abloh’s latest Louis Vuitton collection

“It will be made of fired wood, probably West African hardwood, with a molasses lacquer…it’s this idea of ​​exploding the body of a raw material as a reflection of that material first having a sensible property.” He adds: “This idea came from the groundbreaking play, trauma chair, which treated the material as if it had the personified characteristics of the body. And it reflects a subject that I always grapple with: that the idea of ​​subverting existence is tied to a POC experience within Western society, and always has. This is where the multiple layers, planes and plateaus of the piece also come into play. They refer to the urban landscape, the landscape, the staggered positionings within society: all these axioms emerge in a very visual and primary language. .

Adama Jalloh

Now we are getting there. By contrasting hyper-technical materials with those from the cultural tradition of West Africa, then carving them into forms that are both painful and beautiful that are pushed and pulled and taut and stretched and yet decidedly straight, it mirrors and canonizes the black experience within the furnace of otherness. Cultural tension is inherent in the materials Ross works with, and the relationship placed between these materials serves to illuminate and deepen cultural hegemony. Or, as Ross puts it, as we view this sculpture in the making: “I have to create to stay sane and function – it’s my way of meeting the world and venting frustrations. To express the things that annoy me, the things that I feel.

Back in Miami, having just landed the Saturday before Art Basel opened, he was the DM of Virgil Abloh, a man who had played a key role in Samuel Ross’ progress. The famous old story, that Ross mailed Abloh for advice and was offered a job is, according to Ross, not entirely accurate. “I had tried to email him, but I couldn’t reach him. But I had liked some photos on his Instagram, and then he liked some of mine, and because my dotcom was on the bio, he was able to email me, and he did – and then it went back and forth from there. It was around 2010. First of all, it was about Donda, then he said, ‘I have this thing called Pyrex®’ – which I knew of course – then the focus shifted to Off-White. It’s working for and with Abloh on these projects that, at least in part, Ross gained the momentum to found his fashion line, A-Cold-Wall*, in 2015.

Comments are closed.