If you spy artist Sammantha Marie Sanchez bespectacled in her pink, lensless glasses, know that she’s most likely hyper-focused.
She discovered the glasses frames in the midst of a house party, and after inquiring about their source, was gifted them by the owner. Sanchez dons the specs in order to find concentration and calm, and those around her know that when she whips them out, she’s diving deep into a project.
There’s a tongue-in-cheek irony to wearing them as Sanchez has 20-20 vision. They also give her confidence when she’s feeling self conscious and, in a way, relate to her questions about beauty standards that commonly come up in her art making. What the beholder considers attractive is explored in her upcoming exhibition, “Golden Year,” at The Nan Boynton Memorial Gallery, which will open on May 3 with an artist talk at 6:30 p.m.
“I just turned 23 on the 23rd which makes it my ‘golden year,’” explains Sanchez of the birthday tradition. “That’s where my idea for the show came from, so I made 23 shoes. I hate high heels, but I still find them beautiful.”
Moving from Miami to Tallahassee for school, Sanchez earned her AA from TCC before attending and completing FSU’s BFA art program. As an amasser of objects, she uses materials from her childhood toy collections, scavenges in stores and online, and even delves into her grandmother’s hoard of possessions.
Sanchez’ first pair of shoes came from her roommate after a dog chewed through her sparkly pair of Steve Madden heels. She nailed tacks into them, thinking about the common idiom that beauty is pain, but was surprised by the wide range of responses she received by viewers at her BFA exhibition. One gentleman bent down to see the shoes and said he completely understood the pun which made them “tacky shoes.”
She’ll soon complete her master’s in art education at FSU, and themes on innocence and beauty are still central to many of Sanchez’ soft sculpture installations. She also aims to make work that is friendly for all audiences, while posing serious questions. She considers local artist Tenee’ Hart a mentor and influence, after taking her art class at FSU, and following a prompt to make a selfportrait out of shoes that later inspired her high heels project.
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