Sam Hernandez

Sam Hernandez


   Watsonville, CA

Sam Hernández is a sculptor primarily known for his innovative work in wood. Hernández achieves poetic yet vigorous free-standing abstractions through such widely-varying tools as African adzes, Japanese saws, Native American crook knives, and high-powered sandblasters. From early work referencing the totemic, his more recent sculpture has moved in a looser, more lyrical direction as it simultaneously moves towards a powerful asymmetry and a more intuitively based manner of working. Although the work remains characteristically based in abstraction, the direction is being nourished by a more expressionist tone; works in steel and bronze, as well as inks and acrylics on paper, and oils on canvas and board, round out his current explorations.

Recipient of numerous honors including a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship, a Senior Fulbright Scholar Award, and Silicon Valley’s Artist Laureate, Hernandez’s work has been featured in numerous books, exhibition catalogues, and articles, and has been shown in museum and gallery exhibitions internationally. It is included in numerous public collections including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Macedonia, the Cantor Center at Stanford University, the Oakland Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Professor of Art at Santa Clara University 1977-2013, Hernandez divides his time between California and Spanish Catalunya.


What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?

I received the Laureate just before I retired from four decades of teaching, so it was a terrific boost for me to get back into my studio on a full-time basis.

What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?

I work full-time in my studio, and my work continues to grow.?Since receiving this award, one of my large sculptures has been purchased by and exhibited in the San Jose Museum of Art. I had a solo exhibition at the Alex Bult Gallery in Sacramento in Jan-Feb 2015, before that at Cabrillo College Art Gallery in Aptos in Nov-Dec 2014, and earlier exhibited several sculptures at the?Kondos Gallery at Sacramento City College. Please see my website to see samples of my sculpture, painting, and prints:?

What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?

Follow your passion.

Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?

There could always be more support.