Fortunately, I was able to catch Sam Dunston the week before he moved his family from the Nashville area to the suburbs of Atlanta. All hands of the family were on deck to pack and prepare and the house was turned upside down, as you would expect. But, Sam was willing to hit the pause button for an hour and take me down to the unfinished full basement that has served as his studio for the past 7 years. I’m so glad he did. It is a joy to be able to know brilliant, gifted artists, and Sam is one of those. Having enough room has not been an issue for this painter, and Sam has moved fluidly around the studded in walls, finding the best spots for the various stages of his creative process. As a professor these past several years at Tennessee State U, Sam tries to understand and comprehend his journey as he continues to grow as an artist himself, so that he can give more cogent instruction and advice to frightened but eager art students. Quite often, the learner and teacher swap roles and Sam comes back to the studio with new insights that just might change what goes on the canvases he’s working on. He describes an ongoing conversation with each piece. A conversation that is two-way, one where, if he’s listening, the image will tell him what to do next. He’s learned not to force it. He’ll teach at TSU for one more term, but then our community will lose a significant contributor to its growth and health.
From the artist: “Sometimes students are looking to me to know everything they don’t know, to answer every question they have. No one can do that