Women We Love 2022: Sam Kirk

Sam Kirk

by Tamara Hijazi

“As a public artist, I have this amazing opportunity to make a statement that thousands of people will see,” Sam Kirk tells GO. When Kirk was young, her family moved around to a variety of Chicago neighborhoods, which inspired her fascination with the human experience and informed her own identity as a biracial queer woman. Now her award- winning multidisciplinary art, which includes 2D and 3D works, fabricated and experiential spaces, and over 60 murals and installations all over the world, continues to explore how life’s experiences affect personhood. “When I was a teenager, I used [art] as a tool to navigate my identity and explore how to communicate about it,” says Kirk, whose first children’s book, The Meaning of Pride with author Rosiee Thor, was released in April. “The value I found during those moments continues to be a key element in my practice as a visual storyteller.” As a woman on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, Kirk relishes the opportunities to think creatively. “In many ways [my identity has] forced me to create a path that is very non-traditional in an industry that loves prerequisites and standards,” she says. “I’ve avoided playing by the rules and created my own route.” Kirk’s route now includes collaborations with well-known brands, higher education institutions, non-profits and cities, and features in O Magazine, Forbes, and Travel + Leisure. A surprising fact about the Chicago-based artist: “I’m afraid of heights, but l have this crazy desire to paint multi-story murals,” she confesses. “The bigger the better!” –LE

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