sam spratt


samspratt​‘s sketches and alternative cover for Janelle Monae’s “Electric Lady,” album cover.

PITCHFORK: What were some of your visual inspirations?

SAM SPRATT: It was a pretty random palette: Afrofuturism, Androids, uniformity, Mod sorority, a little Prince, a little Donna Summer, a little MJ, a bit of Egypt, a hint of punk, and some cheesy 80s sci-fi. But it wasn’t until several weeks in– upon hearing some of the new tracks, actually– that I was able to bring all of these disparate ideas together.

Every visual inspiration he mentioned, I see VIVIDLY, because all of those inspirations definitely make up Janelle’s image and Cindi Mayweather’s way of expression.

I want the 2nd to last image on my wall.


Apparently my 10 year high school reunion is this weekend. While too busy to go, it did prompt me to do a deep dive through some old art from a decade ago during my last semester of Walton high school (as well as some truly harrowing photos of me as an angsty teenager). At that point I didn’t even know that I wanted to be an artist (or if that was even a real job) – but a deep fear of any career relating to math, an obsessive desire for self-improvement, and 10 years of drawing shitty drawing after shitty drawing, it eventually clicked enough that I understood that human faces didn’t look like … that. 

Now, I don’t wanna sell the whole generic motivational idea of: “SEE anyone can make it, just work really hard, look at me” line of thinking as I had/have numerous advantages that others do not – with what I look like, where I come from, what I believe, or what I was told I can reach for, never being an impedance. That being said, for any young person reading this that hasn’t been lost to cynicism yet: Man I hope you get the chance to try to do something you love. I hope you have the opportunities you should and people that tell you that you can. I hope that the only barriers for your success are talent and hard work – because that shit can be built even when everything else seems broken. And if the barriers you face are bigger than that, I hope you overcome them against the odds, working harder than I had to even when you shouldn’t have to, just so that the world gets to see what you can do too.