The art and mind of Samuel Dunn

Arts&Minds is an Anglicare program that brings emerging and established artists together while raising awareness of mental issues. This year they paired five emerging artists with five renowned Australian artists to create a work of art at a studio session in Brisbane. One of these five artists was Southport-based Samuel Dunn.

“I found [Arts&Minds] by chance actually, so thank you Facebook! I sent an application and thought nothing of it- usually I wouldn’t but I was feeling incredibly brave at the time. I took a chance, powered through a lot of discomfort and I came out alive”, Samuel described the project and the process.

When asked about his art, Samuel described it as “typographic vomit with illustrative prose, or, pop-art. It’s an exercise in bad rhetoric- a message (in most cases, banal in nature) burdened with aestheticism and conformity”.  Others, then again, have described it as tongue-in-cheek, pop art with a twist of nostalgia, focusing on consumerism and capitalism. Either way, it is an interesting blend of satire, critique and contemporary with a hint of mid-century.

“I like to think my art is a reflection of the nature of the modern identity: how, in the age of hyper-connectivity, we feel the need to constantly assert and express ourselves and, in particular, how none of us have anything truly valuable or ‘good’ to contribute. Though I may just be ‘manifesting”, Samuel in his intriguing, self-conscious way explained.

“Currently I’m experimenting with the concept of Chinese whispers; disguising the message with misinterpretation by knocking-off knock-off culture and industry. Ultimately, is there any value in art, illustration or design if the message is unimportant, useless or common knowledge?”

In Arts&Minds 2018 studio session, Samuel was paired with cartoonist Sean Leahy, a political cartoonist for The Courier Mail. The session produced collaboratively created individual canvases to add to the discussion on mental health. A topic Samuel knows all too well after managing depression and learning how to use art as a tool to avoid negative thought processes. The partnership left an impression and positive influence on Samuel who hopes to continue the cooperation in the future.

“With Arts&Minds, I hope to have contributed even a little to the platform. I think raising the topic of mental health is a super important one and art is a great way to start the conversation”, Samuel continued.

The canvas created by Samuel Dunn and Sea Leahy as part of Arts&Minds 2018 will be auctioned off at a gala event in May to raise money for Anglicare Southern Queensland. You can find out more on the project at For those who wish to see the art and follow the career of a young and upcoming talent, get online and follow Samuel on Instagram @samjohndone.


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