Natasha Papousek

Sami Peterson

Sami Peterson comes from a “new media” perspective of art, learned from her past studies at UCSD. Generally she does not think of herself as a painter, or a sculptor. The work will demand its best medium. Sometimes this could be interactive installations or making art robots. Other times, she creates illustrations, writes fiction, or experiments with short videos.

However, she is irreversibly captivated by the process she calls, “Tangled Paper.” In the summer of 2016 she was asked to create an installation in the main compartment of a refrigerator. She chose to layer and twist recycled brown paper packaging, coating it in moody colors of spray paint. This was her first application of the process.

Now, Tangled Paper is made with acid-free sketch paper, sculpted onto rectangular frames suitable for hanging on the wall. The artist paints the textured surfaces first with gesso, then with liquid acrylics using an airbrush, and incorporates mixed media, such as gold, silver, or copper foils, or, more rarely, train hobby miniatures.

Though it appears fragile, Tangled Paper is unexpectedly durable. Sure, it can be punctured with mishandling, but it is generally resilient. It undergoes the powerful air pressure from the sprayer and is therefore inherently stress tested. The artist wishes to represent strength in vulnerability, beauty in texture, and life in color.

San Diego born and raised, Sami Peterson is elated to find a home for her art here in Balboa Park. She is inspired by plants, birds, coastlines, satellite imagery, and rich emotions.