Hi! My name is Sam Matthews and I am the creator behind Art Across Borders, a vintage VW bus mobile art studio in New Jersey.
My life has always been colorful and chaotic like a Jackson Pollock painting. I was raised by divorced parents who are both hard working and creative. I was taught to pursue whatever my passion was and was encouraged from the time I could hold a crayon that what I made mattered. I spent much of my free time drawing, coloring, painting, stamping, anything creative, because many of my immediate family members were artists and supplied me with materials of all kinds. Working hard to make my dreams a reality was a big part of my upbringing.
When I graduated college with my bachelors in fine art, that’s exactly what I intended on doing. The short version of how I came to own my own business is this: I turned my senior art show title and concept into my passion project. Art Across Borders originated as an art exhibition about my travels throughout 4 different countries where I developed my passion for creative outlets, specifically for kids (to read the whole story and see pictures of the show visit the about me at artacrossborders.com). When I realized I would be stateside after graduation, I wanted to take my passion on the road. I was inspired by an organization I interned for (Art Feeds, check them out), and wanted to find a vehicle that would cart around all of my supplies as I mobilized my classes and workshops. We had a VW when I was in high school that tragically burned down and ever since I dreamed of having another one in the family. It was one night that the inspiration struck and I realized I had to seek out my own bus and make my dreams a reality. Something incredible always happens to me when I am pursuing big plans. I am constantly supported by my community of friends and family. As I was searching for the right bus, so many incredible people donated toward my goal. I found Flo, shipped her up to NJ, and have been working on her mechanically while successfully using her as Art Across Borders’ mobile art studio since 2016.
I love encouraging others to tap into their own creativity and encourage everyone to make something different. Folks who don’t have creative jobs often don’t make time for themselves to be creative and experiment with artistic and crafty materials. That’s why I decided the main goal for my workshops is to offer people the time, space, and materials to explore their own creativity. It has been a wild journey of many peaks and valleys but every part of my adventure has lead to another amazing opportunity. I love selling my artwork next to Flo at events and sharing our story with people who come by. I’ve taken on various part time jobs to help support the start of this business but have always kept my dreams first and foremost. I have the pleasure of being a teaching artist at 2 art centers during the week and fill the rest of my time with hosting northern NJ and central NJ art workshops in addition to commissioned work.
The fun thing about having a fine art degree from a liberal arts college is that I was able to experience and learn all different kinds of mediums, adding tools to my creative tool belt. I love mixing mediums and coming up with unique pieces. My favorite thing to make is marbled paper that I later use for cards and prints. My top seller is custom pet portrait ornaments. Customers also really love my paintings of VW buses in different landscapes as well as my mini inspirational paintings. A surprise hit this past year were my adult humor greeting cards and ornaments. I sold out of them at every market I did!
I have a lot of goals for Art Across Borders. A huge goal of mine is to offer free or low cost creative workshops and classes for kids in areas that don’t have many creative outlets. Another is to open a creative co-working space for artists and aspiring artists. I also hope to get Flo’s rust repaired so I can transform her into a photo-booth set up at weddings or the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in August. I am hoping to partner with Marketspace Vendor Events on a Millennial Makers NJ group market in the near future. I loved having my set up at The Marketspace at Westfield holiday market this winter (photo below) and am excited to be a vendor at their unique locations in 2019!
Art Across Borders will be at this upcoming event!
March 30, 2019 - Crafts and Drafts at Lone Eagle Brewing Spring in Flemington, NJ