We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Rueter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In the very beginning there were never any set plans- only a yearning to get back into what made me feel most alive. I had been an educator for nearly four years after I graduated, and had no plans of ever moving forward in an arts career outside of the classroom. When I relocated from New York to Charleston, things shifted a bit when I decided to decline the teaching positions I had been offered, and I was feeling a bit lost. I turned the spare bedroom in my new apartment into a studio and was working part time as a barista and painting every other hour of the day. All of my spare time was spent researching, creating, experimenting, and learning as much as I possibly could. I was able to utilize the variety of skills I had gained from my art education degree in order to build my website and get my small little brand up and running. I worked hard to break into new markets in the local area and kept pushing. Most importantly, I kept painting. Through the last several years my main focus was to develop an authentic voice through my art in order to connect with others. That had always been the main goal of my business- to reach other people and start a conversation around the human experience as a whole.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Women, in general, inspire my work and creative process. More specifically, the human experience as a woman. The relationship we have with ourselves is often formulated by the world around us at a young age. The way we subconsciously walk through the world on a tightrope, clinging to perceptions of who we believe we should be. I like to think my work is the journey of flipping these concepts on their head. Reformatting what it means to be a woman and how we validate our own experiences. As I began to own my femininity and shift these negative cultural perspectives; my work became an outlet for healing. Once I became curious about these ideologies, my creative process gave me the permission I was so deeply craving to be a vulnerable, yet compassionate person—toward myself. Nothing worthwhile is ever effortless, and the same goes for developing a brand or a career from the ground up. Challenges tend to only fuel the fire for me. Having compassion for myself has been the most challenging part– because I’m always searching for more. I think the most important lesson to learn is that the fear will always be there, no matter how far along you are. Learning to accept that it’s along for the ride can be liberating. I have a wonderful group of people who continually push me and call me out when I’m hiding. It’s much easier to hide away behind the work. I’m fortunate enough to have formed some incredible connects with other artists who have taught me to break free of that- that my voice and story matter. Community can be the greatest force to push forward. I think the most important element I hope viewers take away from my work is honesty. I want to be sure it’s the most important element of my work, especially for women. It never occurred to me that women had the power to create their own stories. I was too fixated on conforming my viewpoints (and overall achievements) to the box that had been built for me as a young woman—rather than working to break the mold. My art has allowed me to begin this process of unlearning; to dig out all of the distasteful limitations we are born carrying as the female gender. Painting is a very personal form of discovery and healing. Picking up the brush means honoring my journey. As my journey inward blossomed, the passion for my work did as well.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My introvert self would prefer the sunshine and quiet of long beach days. Waking up and walking the beach at sunrise is always a favorite; maybe walking along the shoreline of the lighthouse county park to collect shark teeth, sun bathe and grab dinner and drinks at my favorite spot, Jack of Cups. So good!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It would be impossible to name every individual or experience who has helped push me to the place I am today, especially with my art. It stems from a cumulation of my life experiences. Fear does play a big role in defeating many of us in pursuing our truth; but I’ve found the greatest balance to this is the encouragement and support of those around us. I have been fortunate enough to have had a great deal of love from the very beginning; starting with my partner and blossoming into the incredible group of creative friends here in the Charleston community; those who have turned into family. Each and every client who supports my process, my work, my efforts….I’m so deeply thankful.
Nicole Mickle, Charleston, SC https://nmicklephotography.com