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Article: Jen Samson | Collector Profile

Jen Samson | Collector Profile - Tappan

Jen Samson | Collector Profile

Jen is the founder and principal designer of Laguna-based design firm Jen Samson Design. JSD is rooted in creative, beautiful and unexpected design that sparks intrigue and self-expression. Jen is known for combining styles to create spaces that are sophisticated but relaxed, modern, often playful and always unique. Inspired by world travel, culture, fashion and interiors both new and old, Jen's work brings a curated creative abandon to every project that inevitably leaves a lasting impression.

Jen Samson Design
Artwork by Ethan Caflisch and David Kitz
en Samson Design
Artwork by Mathew Tucker


What inspires you to collect the work of emerging artists?

I am completely enthralled by the creative process - in design, art, food - all of it. In a world where everything moves so fast, slowing down long enough to create is something that transcends takes focus and work! The discovery of new artists who are evolving, exploring and ultimately creating is so exciting to me.

What are some of the most meaningful pieces in your collection?

The first piece of original art I ever bought is a large 5’ piece called Soldier Doily, by an artist out of New York named Elissa Levy. I purchased it in my mid 20’s while in NY for fashion week. I went with a friend to an edgy gallery to preview the art of her friend Elissa, who was a young and aspiring artist at the time. I was mesmerized by the collection - all laser cut felt pieces depicting soldiers in an oversized snowflake like pattern. I had it shipped back to LA, had it mounted & framed inside of an acrylic box, and hung it in my tiny LA apartment at that time. It still holds a prominent place in my home. It will be with me forever.

What was the first work of art you fell in love with?

I remember always admiring the art that my parents collected. They had (and still have) an original Lowell Nesbit piece. This piece is a painting of an Iris 1980, but for whatever reason, all I could ever see was a puppy face. To this day, I can’t seem to get beyond the floppy ears and bright orange tongue of the colorful flower! It is a constant reminder of my childhood. That piece in particular made me realize the power of art and how it can ignite feelings, spark ideas and resurrect memories.

How has the sentimentality of your collection evolved over time?

The pieces that truly matter in my personal collection will always move me, and they will likely be with me forever. Art is an instant reminder of moments, connections and experiences. I can’t think of anything more sentimental than that.

What is the most recent piece of art you added to your collection and why?

A vintage piece from Downtown Modernism in LA. My daughter actually picked it out of a large stack of “random” art pieces. It's a 1960’s long horizontal piece by an unknown artist depicting a large flock of blue flying cranes that have been debossed into the paper.

Is there a particular type of art you collect?

Tough question. I think the answer is no. I collect pieces that spark a feeling inside of me. I am drawn to texture, abstracts, nudes and faces, repetitive patterns. Some of the pieces I tend to collect include small brutalist sculpture pieces, vintage Japanese ikebana pottery, fun oddities like Robert Maxwell’s 1960’s animals.

Where and when do you feel the most creative?

I love working in my studio in Laguna Beach. We have a lovely ocean view, and that certainly doesn’t hurt. When I have a new project and the dreaming begins, that period of time where every idea sparks another idea - there are no limits.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I am always seeking inspiration, and it comes from everywhere. I discover new art through travel, shopping at flea markets, galleries, sourcing through incredible resources like TAPPAN, and on Instagram.

How do you go about finding new pieces to expand your personal art collection?

I am always shopping for but rarely seeking out something specific when it comes to finding new pieces. I buy what I love and find a place for it. There are rarely, if ever, any rules to what I am looking for. It's more about the immediate reaction I have towards a piece of art - that’s when my collection grows. I just have to love it.

For new collectors, do you have any advice you wish to impart? Do you have a collecting ethos or philosophy that you want to share?

If it moves you, if it stirs up emotion, if it makes you think, or cry, or smile - buy it!! it doesn’t matter where you found it or how much it cost. Art is for everyone.(and start early!)

Jen Samson Design
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“I love the hand-woven works from Crystal Gregory. This piece in particular really catches my eye because of its texture, movement and saturated magenta color.”
On Crystal Gregory's Graphic Color, Cochineal 1
“This piece has such a soft and seductive quality to it. I love that it is both abstract and figurative. I am so drawn to the human form in art. Lauren Skunta is masterful in creating works that evoke energy and emotion and the use of graphite sketching paired with paint colors in the pieces create a work that I find incredibly soothing.”
On Lauren Skunta's Grouse
“Playfulness and curiosity abound in the painting by Brianna Lance! I am so enamored by her mind, and love her lips! This piece gives me joy and encourages my mind to wander and dream.”
On Brianna Lance's Attraction
“It's the juxtaposition of old and new that really draws me into this subtle yet vibrant piece by Ali Beletic. There is a joyfulness about this that plays to my visual senses.”
On Ali Beletic's The Latest
“I am forever drawn to the human form and this ceramic sculpture by Firoozeh Neman has so much character and warmth. I always bring some sort of sculpture into the final styling of a project. This is so perfect.”
On Firoozeh Neman's Mama Jaan
“What I love about this piece, and all of the pieces that Philip Soucy creates, is the laying and movement within each of his vessels. I’m mesmerized by how this bowl can appear so soft and yet so rigid at the same time. A perfect accent piece for any house, anywhere.”
On Philip Soucy's Speckled Bowl #3
Jen Samson Design
Artwork by Katie Burdon
Jen Samson Design
Artwork by Leigh Wells

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