Inspired by sci-fi and myths, Sammy Stein’s illustrations are a postmodern ode to the past

Inspired by sci-fi and myths, Sammy Stein’s illustrations are a postmodern ode to the past

Despite the current climate, Sammy’s work has flourished since his last feature. After his studies in art at les Beaux-Arts de Paris, he began to experiment with sound, video and drawings, which transpired into the making of his first-ever comic book. Since then, he’s continued to work in his chosen medium, taking walks in the cities “weird areas”, ruins, natural or fake landscapes for daily inspiration. “A mysterious monster garden in Italy, an old 70s park in Osaka, speaking with people, listening to synthesiser music, visits bookshops around the world” – these, he tells us, are just a few small moments that effortlessly influence him.

Sammy’s working process tends to revolve around the juggling of various projects – whether that’s a comic book, illustration, exhibition or for one of his two magazines. At the start of a new project, Sammy points out the importance of a narrative. “I try to find different ways to tell stories, by changing the point of view of the narrator or finding some new tricks; I have several lines of research, but I’m really interested in objects that tell stories.” An example of this can be seen from a comic he created last year, a printed zine titled The Boardgames for Marecage (Lagon #5). A story about people playing a board game, he challenged himself by creating it without any direct references to the world of board games – no elves, trolls or creatures.

Then, last summer, Sammy and his long-term collaborator Séverine – plus 10 other artists – were invited to an artist residency put together by artist Margaux Duseigneur, Antoine Marchalot, Chloé Munich, Vincent Lalanne and Pauline Barzilaï. They all moved to a “little middle-aged town” named Uzerche to work for two weeks, whereby Sammy decided to create a zine inspired by the town and its surrounding area. “I wanted to give the city a fantastical atmosphere,” he says. The book was then translated into three different languages, including Occitan, an old french language from the area – “nobody speaks this language anymore, except some old people, nice professors and accapella singers”.

It’s clear that Sammy’s interests lay predominantly among the tales and folklore of the past, with an added zest of sci-fi, art and graphic design. Next, he will continue to work on a 200-page anthology of several zines that he’s released over the last few years – published by Matière Editions. To top it all off, Sammy has more zines in progress, some self-produced whiles others are published independently. “One work in particular, which is almost finished, is a zine named Pompei 2079,” he concludes. “This is a story of a traveller, who walks across a giant landscape and volcano area. We follow this character during the four seasons. In summer, he meets a potter who shows him his ceramic collection and tells the story of each, before a volcano awakening” – so keep your eyes peeled!