Samita Chatterjee, 32
Samita Chatterjee aka Sam Sam’s work speaks for itself on the walls of the town, though she doesn’t say much herself. The bespectacled urban artist ties her T-shirt into a knot and dips her fingers into a bucket of orange paint. For the next couple of hours, she is out of reach (mentally). Graffiti is her priority.
It’s not easy being her. The primary reason is that her area of work is largely uninstitutionalised. The stigma revolving around the free expression of ideas, especially sexual content, often makes street artists go underground.
Not enough has been written about her. Why is simple. She doesn’t talk much. But her monsters and shiny objects do. “I paint because I want to paint. If it communicates something, it’s a byproduct,” she says. She hates talking about what she does and who she is. The medium of language is an imperfect way to communicate. “Many words have baggage. Words like ‘art’ or ‘artist’ are too heavy for me to use. Even tags like ‘graffiti artist’ or ‘street artist’ have their own problems which make me wary of using them,” she says.
Sometimes art feels easy. At other times she fails miserably. She turns into a ball of anxiety and abruptly halts whatever she is making if she cannot feel it right. Only once she gets into the right mindspace to think things through, does she start again. She is brutally unembarrassed about speaking her mind or manifesting her thoughts and beliefs on the walls.
“Revolution comes from revulsion. If you hate something enough, you’ll be inspired to find a way of doing it differently, or at least hate it a little less,” she shares.
The last few years have been Proust like in the contemplation department. “I’ve mostly been on the ‘I’ll figure it out’ phase which I don’t recommend to anybody unless you’re a reckless nut. In which case, go ahead and have fun,” she says.