Samantha Fried Creates Art Inspired By Diverse Women

What inspired you to collaborate with Gilda Graham on Penumbra?

Gilda Graham has been my best friend since I was 19 years old.  I have always wanted to collaborate with her and join our creative forces. When she asked if I wanted to use my art to showcase her poetry book, Penumbra, I jumped at the chance.

You designed the layout of the book, how did you decide which images to use with the poetry?

Joining an image with each poem was difficult. I had to think of what the poems meant to me personally. Then, I would decide on a couple different images to go with each poem. As said before, this was a collaboration and I was helping represent Gilda Graham’s words so we would discuss together on the artwork for each poem. I made sure Gilda gave the ‘okay’ to each piece I chose for her book.

Is this your first book collaboration?

This is definitely my first book collaboration. I look forward to having the chance to do more in the future.

How do you manage work life balance as a mother of a toddler?

I became a mother and my priorities shifted towards my daughter, Ivy Lane Wilson. After 2 years of being a stay-at-home mother, my daughter has helped me become a more focused artist. I literally don’t have time to second guess myself because Ivy might wake up from her nap at any moment (if she naps). It has been hard to manage, but I’m learning to create a balance so I can continue to pursue the passion I had prior to becoming a mother.

What challenges have you faced as an art entrepreneur?

I’ve faced many challenges as an artist, from getting many “we regret to inform you,” letters to the biggest challenge of all, which is my own self doubt. It’s easy to be hard on yourself and compare yourself to those around you that are more successful. I’ve been lucky to have a very supportive husband and family that always ground me. They always help remind me that this is what I love to do and have worked so hard to achieve, that success doesn’t happen overnight, and I have people that believe in me so I should believe in myself as well.

What piece of advice do you offer to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

I’ve found as a woman, I’ve always been so hard on myself. We live in a world of such high expectations to conform to the labels we are given. If we don’t fit perfectly into our own little box somehow we are doing ourselves a disservice. I would say to aspiring women entrepreneurs that life is a balance between all the identities that make up who you are. Personal growth does not end with an education, a career, a ring or even a child. Continue to grow and learn, continue to support women around you, and if self doubt creeps in know that everyone faces it.

What is next for you as an artist?

What’s next for me as an artist is finding the time to paint with a very active toddler. Also, I’m in the process of applying to a couple art fellowships at a few colleges for 2020.

Share your favorite quote.

“Creativity takes courage.” — Henri Matisse

For more inof on Samantha and her artwork, visit

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