Sam Chirnside x Auster

Posted by Auster Vape Co. on


Sam Chirnside is an Australian born graphic artist, based in Berlin, formerly New York & Melbourne.
Informed by the notion of altered states of consciousness, Sam’s work is an exercise in contradictions
of order and incomprehension; Collage elements, fluid oil movements & distortions, optical illusions
and esoteric iconography contrast with a balanced composition. In combination with an evident interest
in ancient civilizations and sacred geometry (a discipline that popularizes proof of cosmic significance,
divine design intervention and above all, order) the resultant body of work is as close to a disorientation
of the senses as design can achieve - and that is just how he likes it.

Auster sat down with Sam in order to bring you an exclusive interview as Auster's official launch artist
and collaborator on the Cypher Box




A: You come from a farming property in Australia,
were you able to channel your creativity on the farm?
SC: Yeah, it was nice growing up on the farm. 
I had a lot of freedom to roam around and explore.

A: How old were you when you first got into the arts?
SC: I think I was always leaning towards the creative side.
I was always painting and drawing whenever I could find the time.

A: What were some of your first influences?
SC: Growing up outdoors I think it’s natural that nature is my biggest influence.  
I use a lot of the recurring patterns & formations found in nature to inspire me


A: So you went to boarding school - how was that?
SC: Yep - I started boarding in year 9 where the school I was attending had an outdoor
year where all the kids stayed in cabins in the mountains. For this one year, it was all
focused on outdoor education. Every week we’d go on hikes and long runs in the forest.
When winter came around, we would go skiing twice a week. It was pretty crazy.
I was a teenager who was thrown into this environment that was so interesting
for my growth. After not having done much art for a few years, this is where I picked up
on my drawing and paintings again from my childhood. For one year, at this formative
stage of my life, we were totally focused on the outdoors and nature so it allowed me
to reconnect with the things that sparked my creativity in the first place.  

A: How did you end up in NYC?
SC: I was in contact with a couple studios before I came over to NY.
I was in touch with Legs Media, part of Milk Studios and one of their assistants
reached out and asked if I ever thought of moving to New York.
At the time, I was ready for a change and this was the first incentive for me
to consider a move away from Australia.

A: Do you feel like you were easily inspired in the city,
where some people find it hard without any surround nature?
SC: Yeah, completely. Arriving in NY it kind of blew me away.
The whole city is electrified with energy there. The city and it’s people pushed
me and made gave me a drive to get things done that I hadn’t had before.

A: When you collaborate with different artists,
how do you blend your aesthetic with their visual identity?
SC: I think it’s actually about artists and clients finding an element of my work
and my aesthetic they’d like to express in their visual identity. Normally they come
to me with some direction or something they have seen of mine that they’ve liked,
and then I use that a point of reference to begin. After that, I’ve been lucky in that
most projects I’m working on I have a lot of free reign on the creative process.

A: When you do album art or different art for musical talent,
how do you prepare making the art and get inspired?
SC: When I get assigned to do a cover, I’m just constantly listening to the music.
I guess trying to get a connection to the music and then project it out in a visual form.

A: Have you worked with any musicians that you’re a big fan of?
SC: Yeah actually, Danny Brown for his last album ‘Old’. I was given the project
in my first week in New York working at Doubleday & Cartwright. One of the
founders was like, “Yo Sam, you do album covers...are you interested in doing
Danny Brown’s?”. I was pretty stoked. It was a good first week.


A: Is there a time period or era that inspires you most in your work?
SC: Yeah, absolutely. The 60’s psychedelia culture is something that really
interests me quite a lot. Just the freedom that was floating around that time
is something that isn’t so present today.

A: We see some of that influence in your choice of vibrant colors...
SC: The colors I choose are meant to be suggestive of things that don’t exist
in the physical world, or are beyond the human spectrum of understanding.
There’s a bunch of stuff going on we don’t know about that I’d like people
to think about when they see my work.

A: What’s the process when you create your work, do you have something
in mind when you start 
or do you start and see where it goes?
SC: My process has changed quite a bit over time. I used to plan a lot more
and have a much clearer vision of where I would end up before I began.
But as a kid, I was a lot freer with what I was drawing and I’m trying to do more
of that now. Especially with the abstract works that I’m currently doing,
it’s all about being in the moment and present and creating without overthinking
it too much - it’s all about letting it freely come out. Some of my favorite personal
work is now being created spontaneously. It’s about having a natural momentum
when working on a piece and experimenting. I don’t want to restrict the
possibilities of what a piece could be.

A: Right, it’s almost like letting your subconscious out.
SC: Yeah totally. It’s almost like my own form of meditation.
Just recently, I’ve started to get more into meditation and creating my art is like
getting into the same headspace. A lot of things cross over that are similar.

A: Are there different types of mediums that you try to explore?
SC: I’m trying to bring in my old work of collages and mixed media into
the more abstract work I’ve been doing lately. With my collage work,
I tried to bring in my own textures, which led into me exploring painting
and new ways that painting can be represented. I like it when the viewer
isn’t sure whether the work is physically painted or digitally painted.

A: Your abstract style looks like a lot of things, especially vapor waves.
SC: My work lends itself to various representations of waves, ocean currents
and a lot of things in nature that have fluid like motions. I always see my work
as a representation of the fluid motions of nature and the essence of life itself;
waves and vibrations that surround us and are within us.

A: Do you have someone who you look to as a mentor
both in your personal life or in your work?
SC: A lot of my work is self taught and evolving through self exploration.
My ultimate goal is to be confident in knowing that I’m heading down the right
pathways to create art that represents myself and kind of what I feel inside.
Max Ernst and Salvador Dali...a lot of surrealist artists have
a big influence on my work.


Studio Sessions

A window into what inspires Sam’s best work lies

in this exclusive track list. Tune in.

Samaris - Wanted to Say

Oni Ayhun - OAR003-B

KLLO - Make Me Wonder


Francis Bebey - Africa Sanza

Romare - Motherless Child

Legowelt - Visions In My Mind

Palms Trax - In Gold

Matias Aguayo - Rollerskate

Dj Koze - Nices Wölkchen

Mark Pritchard (ft Thom Yorke) - Beautiful People

Christian Löffler - Haul (ft Mohna)




As told by Sam. 


Where to boogie late night:
Berghain and OHM


9 AM:
Roamers in Neukolln

7 PM:

Monella Pizza

3 AM: 
Mustafas Gemüsedöner

Drink and Chill: 
Nathanja & Heinrich

Morning coffee run:


Where to unplug:

Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden

Where to vintage:


Where to music:

Hard Wax

Outdoors Summer hang:

Various lakes outside of Berlin

Where to art:

CFA Gallery

Where to night cap:

Heiners Bar


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