in 1936 in Brussels, Sam Kirszencwajg has had a dramatic and
eventful life. During WWII, he and his younger sister were placed
in foster homes and hidden by the Belgian underground; his father
died in a concentration camp. In 1952, he and his sister and
mother immigrated to the United States. In the early 1950's,
he received a scholarship to study drawing at the Silvermine
Guild in New Canaan, Connecticut; this was followed by attending
Parsons School of Design (NYC) on a working scholarship. Among
his teachers were Richard Linder, Stephen Greene, Paul Brach
and critic/historian Leo Steinberg. During that time he came
in personal contact with the abstract expressionists, early
pop artists, conceptualists and photographers of that era. In
1958 he was working for Macy's and in '59 he joined the Army
Reserve, spending six months of active duty at Fort Jackson,
South Carolina. By '63 he was in St. Croix working with a disciple
of Buckminster Fuller on geodesic domes.
.....Returning to NYC in 1964,
he married and lived in the East Village. He continued to illustrate
and design for various magazines and animated films. In 1969,
he and his wife and their two small children sold all their
possessions and went to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. There,
he taught drawing, painting and multi-media sculpture at the
Instituto Allende and began his series of paintings: "Les
Demoiselles de San Miguel". After teaching and painting
in Mexico for three years, he and his family moved to Los Angeles
where he resumed his career in illustration working in
animation and feature films.
In 1973 he became gravely ill with hemolytic anemia. Told his
illness was terminal, he was put on a heavy regimen of steroids.
During this period, struck by the dehumanization of the patient
thrust into an institutional situation, he began a new series
of drawings, using only hospital materials (barium, mercurochrome,
gentian violet, cotton swabs, etc.). This body of work, titled
"The Hospital Series", is surrealistic
and reflects the artist's concept (and personal experience)
of the effect of modern technology on man.
In 1975, his ilness receded and he returned to working in animation.
He was involved in various projects as a designer and as a director
of T.V. commercials, T.V. specials and films.
In 1983, he decided to resume drawing and painting on a full
time basis. He moved to a downtown L.A. studio and began to
work again. This work followed progressively from his "Hospital
Series". The theme was: "dehumanization of the
body buoyed by the spiritual source".
In 1989, he returned to New York where he again fell ill and
was hospitalized with pneumonia. He began to paint again and
rented a loft in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. During that time he exhibited
at the Strauss Gallery in NYC and was awarded a Pollack-Krasner
grant for painting. In 1992, he returned to California and settled
in San Pedro, where he still presently resides and occupies
a hillside studio at the Angels
Gate Culture Center overlooking the vast Port of Los Angeles.