Back in 2003-2004 I had the pleasure of teaching an Illustration Pre-College class at The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. One of my students was a very talented young man named Sam Shapiro. His energy truly amazed me. He helped by showing other students his skill and how it just seemed to flow from his fingers without effort. His humor along with his eye for color, composition and character were years ahead of his age. His talent and helpfulness was truly an inspiration to not only myself but to other students in the class. Years after that moment, I repeatdly often wondered what he was up to. What he had become with all that he had, and how he had used his talents. Was he working at Pixar? Was he showing in a select New York gallery? Was he himself now a teacher? The possibilities he had in front of him were endless.
This past September I received a letter from his mother telling me that Sam had passed away this past June. I found out he had been battling with depression and anxiety for the past 6 years, and had been self-medicating himself with drugs and alcohol.It is sad to see such a talented and gifted person get lost to the shadows when they bring so much light to the world around them. His family has put together a gallery showing of his work entitled The Addiction of Art and the Art of Addiction. It is located in The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Designs student union and showcases Sam’s life as an artist, the struggles he had with drug and alcohol addiction, and the effects that these struggles had on his creative output.
I would encourage anyone who is in the Milwaukee area over the next month to go and take a look at his work and meet Sam for the first time.
The Addiction of Art and the Art of Addiction
Type: Music/Arts - Exhibit
Start Time: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 6:00pm
End Time: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 10:00pm
Location: Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Student Union
266 E. Erie St. Milwaukee, WI