We first met freelance designer and illustrator Sam Larson the way most people do: through social media. He had sketched up one of our paper coffee cups and posted it on Instagram. His Old West, detailed, hand-drawn vibe was right up our alley. We got in touch and tasked him about working with us to design our next paper cup design and artist series mug.
Sam’s fascination with the West runs deep, though he’s a fairly recent transplant. He originally hails from a tiny town of 3500 in Wisconsin. “My high school actually had a drive your tractor to school day,” he says.
He moved to Portland after living in San Diego, looking for a new home with epic landscapes, wildlife, a good art scene and a mild winter.
Naming nature, wildlife and western iconography as his primary inspirations, he fills his journals and camera rolls with sketches and photos from frequent trips to the great wild lands of the West. Recent trips to Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the San Juan Islands have given him the opportunity to observe and come back to town with new sketch ideas.
“You see what’s in my studio, that’s what I like and that’s what I draw. I like wildlife, animals, and landscapes, maybe I even do it too much but I’m just being as honest as I can with my art. I’m not trying to follow any trends,” he says, adding, “I like pizza, so I’ll draw pizza.”
Thanks for having us over Sam! See more of his work in his shop Steel Bison.