We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Soper and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sam, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Always looking back. Reflection gives me perspective on how far I’ve come, keeps me cognizant on whether I’m moving in alignment with what I set out to do, and helps me stay present by acknowledging when I achieved that which I once only dreamed about. But most importantly, reflection is helpful in fixing the potholes I struggled with along the way to make the road easier for those just starting out. By giving others emerging into the scene the boost you wished you had, you create a community of success around you and a network of opportunities unfolds.

Beyond that, there are several other principles I live by, which have helped propel my success forward: Creation over consumption. Learning is growing. Gratitude takes practice. Kindness will carry you. Everything has something beside it. And lastly, we are all interconnected.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My murals are bright, colorful, fantasy portals and my youthful creativity is part of what makes them so magical. Growing up, I spent a lot of time hiding what lights me up for fear of rejection or being cringe. I grew bitter and cynical because it was safe. I drew a lot as a child, but gave it up for years at a time to pursue more practical hobbies, like web development and design. I was never afraid to speak my mind or be a little nerdy or weird, but expressing authentic appreciation of anything often resulted in feelings of disappointment or humiliation, so I avoided it. No one can make fun of you when you are apathetic to everything. This apathy, which I later learned was a people-pleasing behavior, extended into my career where I made myself unhappy for years trying to fit into more practical jobs. It was a valuable struggle though because I was able to learn so many lessons that help me run my creative entrepreneurship today.

It was never a “hit the ground running” sort of thing. Art eased its way back into my adult life very slowly at first. It started as a little after work decompression. Something I used to mentally recharge. A distraction from the massive amounts of stress and disillusionment I felt as I got laid off time and time again. Then I used it to start working through my trauma. Begin recovering from that. Find love. Continue unfolding everything I hid from myself. Take full independent ownership over what I wanted. It became the path through which I rediscovered my happiness, rekindled belief in my childhood dreams, and actually started taking steps towards making them a reality.

It takes practice, patience, and perseverance. But if it’s already something that makes life worth living for you, you’ll make time for it anyways.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve mostly only ever driven through Atlanta on family vacations when I was younger, but I have a handful of spots on my list that I’d love to check out someday. I’m a fan of museums so the Georgia Aquarium and High Museum of Art are priorities on the list. I love walking around any parks to get a feel for a new city and the Atlanta Botanical Garden looks beyond magical. I’d also want to check out the MLK Jr. National Historical Park and Piedmont Park. I’d definitely do a couple of the street art walks, potentially the Atlanta Eastside Beltline Trail and others listed on the Atlanta Street Art Map. It would be cool to take a hip-hop tour while in this city that was the source for such an amazing sound. As for food, I’d definitely defer to local expertise.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Almost Real Things was a huge inspiration because of everything they did to help open the doors for myself and other artists in the city. Also, big thanks to all the pals who have joined Creative Cuties, who constantly remind me of why I do the community outreach work I do, as they continue to grow and find their own footing in the art scene. It’s such a reward to see people connecting and achieving their dreams.

Website: https://samsoper.art/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samsoper.art/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanthasoper/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samjeansoper

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samsoperart

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9xt-5Jbq3aq24VGCtmYEfg

Image Credits
Frogs’ Taco Picnic feature photo by Isra Sharnez, Solace collaboration with Brooke Sipos (L. Rhae) as writer, Lotus Pond Garden assisted by DeLoné Osby

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.