30 UNDER 35

Borna Sammak: Young Artists 2018

Kat Herriman

Photography by Jason Schmidt

Borna Sammak

Borna Sammak’s restless energy flows into his work. Moving fluidly from medium to medium, the New York-based artist creates sculptures, paintings and photographs that keep the eye moving. “Pictorially I’ve been trying to make the same thing since I was a kid,” Sammak says. “When I was in high school in 2001 or 2002, I was an apprentice at at fabric workshop and I made this repeating screen print all made of arrows. If you look at what my work does now, it operates the same way. It doesn’t let your eye leave the pictoral; you are in a kind of figure eight or ouroboros or something.”

Borna Sammak

Borna Sammak’s Not Yet Titled, 2017. Courtesy of artist and JTT.

Sammak draws his mesmerizing imagery from the everyday. Take for example paintings like Hoagie Nose (2015) and You Could (2017), which the artist made from layering ironing t-shirt decals on a canvas. “I try to keep what winds up in the art, whether it’s the t-shirt decals or the signage, to real life,” he says. “I never want to put something in my work that you don’t see out in the world.” Another piece, Two Full Height Turnstiles Stuck In Each Other (2016), shows the way the architecture and street culture of New York intervenes directly into his formal, albeit humorous, investigations.

This spring, Sammak will stage solo exhibitions at his two main galleries, JTT and Sadie Coles. When we spoke in the fall, the ideas for the show were still percolating but Sammak’s focus was on expanding his vocabulary, specifically his talents as a draftsman and a sewer. “If I could draw, maybe I could plan for once,” he says.