Major: Marketing, 2004
Sam Kirk is Chicago based multidisciplinary artist, who explores culture and identity politics. Her artwork focuses on a variety of intersections which encompass a call to celebrate differences and enact change. Vivid and powerful images of women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and those who have historically been underrepresented are celebrated in narratives that share the journeys that have made them who they are.
Throughout her childhood, her family’s frequent moves to a variety of Chicago neighborhoods sparked her fascination with the nuances of the human experience. It was during these moments where she found herself discovering the cultures of the city and sorting through her own identity as a bi-racial, queer woman. Kirk’s artwork, much like her life has been an on-going narrative about how life’s experiences impact our identity. Her vibrant color palette, intricate line-work and layered backgrounds highlight cultural communities via multi-toned figures recalled from memories of her travels throughout the world.
Kirk’s public murals often address social issues, as she intentionally uses the public space to spark dialogue around topics of equality and visibility for women, communities of color, and the LGBTQIA community. She is the first woman and American to participate in the Annual CASAMOUJA Street Art Festival in Casablanca, Morocco. A commission by World Business Chicago and the City of Casablanca, Kirk created the “Sister Cities” mural as a celebration of 35 years of programming between Chicago and Casablanca.
Her work has been featured in top publications such as O Magazine, Forbes, and recently was listed as one of the top 50 Artists of 2020 in Chicago by New City Magazine. Her collaborations include global brands and US based non-profit organizations such as Houghton Mifflin, Xfinity/Comcast, World Business Chicago, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and WBEZ.