For artist Samantha Schmitz, sunset walks lead to moonlit evenings that come alive. This painter, illustrator, and jewelry maker uses color and crystal to take her lucid dreams and turn them into paintings and wearable art. As an advocator for taking sleep seriously these pieces are first recorded in dream journals that serve as inspiration of the truest kind. As a child, Schmitz was inspired the night sky and continues to find its allure and imagination. This Moonchild speaks on growing up outside, being chased by the moon and chasing dreams.
Maker Market: When and what drew you to your artistic side? Were you a creative kid?
Samantha Schmitz: I was most definitely a creative kid! Some of my first memories are of coloring with my Mom and Dad. I don’t even know what initially drew me to my artistic side, I think I just always had it in me. Making art was always my favorite thing. I remember the first things that made me want to specifically want to be an illustrator though, were Ren & Stimpy, and those “Scary Stories” books. The illustrations in those books were so exciting to me. As for Ren & Stimpy, there are a lot of moments in that cartoon where they’ll have a still frame watercolor illustration that is super detailed and sometimes grotesque - that would just amplify emotion of the characters in a certain moment. Those still frames still give me chills and make me want to draw!
MM: What about the female face do you find inspiring? Does each piece have its own identity?
SS: In most of my paintings, the female face is a representation of me in my different dream states, and also different aspects of my higher self. I also gravitate towards the feminine because, to me, it embodies our connection to love, intuition, creation and creativity.
I think each piece does have its own identity though during the actual creation process. I start with a message or dream memory that I want to bring to life, but while I’m making the painting I really let it lead me to where it wants to go - like it is its own being that talks and shows me where to put each line and brush stroke.
MM: Do you do custom work? How does doing custom work different than creating from your own ideas?
SS: I do custom pieces! I’ve worked on tattoo designs, custom illustrations/paintings, and jewelry pieces for people. Most of the people that ask me to do custom work know my style and are interested in pieces that reflect that. Doing custom paintings is obviously different than letting my dream memories fly - but I love a challenge and really end up digging the problem solving that comes along with all custom work. Custom jewelry work is so fun for me too. I have the resources to get a vast array of different crystals and materials, so there are tons of possibilities.
MM: What about the moon and stars inspire you creatively?
SS: The night sky is just one of those things that has always played a big role in my life. I’ve always been immensely fascinated by it. Some of my favorite memories are playing in the summertime at night in my old backyard when the moon was so bright it almost seemed like daylight. That calming blue moonlight was always something that made me happy, and I realized at a young age that I was my most creative self during the nighttime hours.
I’m also extremely interested in otherworldly things…like UFOs and aliens. Having so many dreams involving these subjects has only deepened my fascination. Staring at the night sky is something I could do for hours, especially when I’m watching and waiting to see something flash or move in the sky. I’ve even been UFO hunting in Sedona, AZ with military-grade night vision goggles in the middle of the desert. I’m really into it.
MM: What does it mean to be a "Moonchild?"
SS: I think “Moonchild” means something a little different to everyone. For me, it’s something I think I’ve always been. I realized at a young age that I felt most like myself and was the most creative and happy at night. I always have felt that my vibration rises when I’m in the presence of the moon, and “Moonchild” was a term that resonated with me instantly. One of my favorite songs by Dave Matthews has lyrics that go:
“It’s funny when you’re small
The moon follows the car
Does no one but you see?
Hey, the moon is chasing me”
(I always thought the moon was chasing me while riding in the car, too.)
I think if you can find an aspect of nature that makes you that happy, energetic and creative - you need to surround yourself with it and incorporate it into your life the best you can.
MM: Can you describe lucid dreaming and what it means to you and your process?
SS: Ever since I was really young, my dreams have been so vivid they’ve felt real. I have remembered most of my dreams almost every night of the week for as long as I can remember. I have so many old dream journals, and I still keep up with them to this day.
Most of the dreams I’ve had have been wild, colorful, and exciting (flying through space, meeting yetis, talking to sea creatures, chatting with blue aliens) but some dreams haven’t been as fun. Around ten years ago I started having really intense nightmares. They were so draining and terrifying that they were affecting me in my daily life. I decided I needed to do some research and see if there was anything that could help - and that is when I came across lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is something a lot of people have actually experienced at some time or another. Have you ever had a dream where you knew you were dreaming? That is lucid dreaming - being aware inside of a dream. The research I was doing was looking into taking lucid dreaming to the next level, and actually controlling your dreams after becoming aware - which can be hard because once you realize you’re dreaming - you get so excited you usually jolt awake! But this was exactly what I needed because my dreams were so bad - and now I could learn to change the negative events if they began to take place. Being aware inside of a dream is unexplainably incredible - but manipulating your dreams too? You can do anything you want!
Learning to lucid dream is easier than you might think. There are lots of different ways to start, but my favorite (and I think easiest) way is to just go to bed and relax. While laying in bed, make sure you have peaceful music on or no noise at all, whatever works best for you. I then bring my hand in front of my face, and just focus on the palm of my hand. I repeat in my head, “When I see my hand in my dream, I will know that I am dreaming”.
I just relax, breathe, and well, stare at my hand and repeat that mantra. I use my hand as a tool, because most of the time - you will come across your hand while you’re doing something in a dream. Some people focus on a light switch, and then when they turn a light on or off in a dream - that activates the lucid state.
Whatever way works best for you - keep practicing it, even if it seems like nothing is happening. If manipulating and remembering your dreams interests you, seriously don’t give up. So much can change in only a week of practicing. And I promise you, it is the most INCREDIBLE and untapped experience that we can have as humans (in my opinion).
I know a lot of people who always say “I never remember my dreams”…but I promise you, you can! Also, keep a dream journal. Even if you wake up in the morning and only remember a color, or an object from the night before - write it down. Every night you’ll remember more and more.
MM: In addition to your illustration you also make jewelry. What inspires this other medium and how is the process different?
SS: I just recently began working with jewelry last year, and am so in love with it! I love painting, drawing, and illustrating…but I started having a craving to create tangible objects that also reflected that certain magic that I try to express through my 2D work. I’ve always loved crystals - even since I was a kid. So, working with raw crystals and their natural energy was my first gut reaction when I was thinking about 3D magical objects. I wanted to bring my artwork to life - and to me, my jewelry is wearable art. I also cleanse all of my crystals with sage (and sometimes in the moonlight!) so that their energies are at their peak when going to a new home.
MM: What can shoppers expect to see from you at the upcoming Maker Market?
SS: Lots of jewelry - necklaces, rings, bracelets, and anklets! I’m also going to have a bunch of prints of my paintings, and some original paintings - old and new. Outside of jewelry and paintings, I’ll have some other handmade crafts - like painted zodiac log slices and hand painted boxes filled with crystals (and moon magic).
MM: What have you been working on lately and where else can people see your work? Do you have any shows (aside from Maker Market) coming up?
SS: Lately I’ve been really caught up in experimenting with my jewelry making. Each piece I make is more exciting to me than the last - its addicting! I love working with all of the crystals and their energies. There is always an ebb and flow to the way I work though - I’m so excited to breathe for a second from the jewelry - and dive into a new series of paintings later this month.
As of right now, I don’t have any other shows planned for a little while - I’m getting married September 9th, so I’ve got a lot of wedding planning to finish! After the wedding though, I’ll be moving right back into my jewelry and painting, and hopefully showing again before the end of the year. People can always view my Etsy shop - www.etsy.com/shop/geminiandsage to view and purchase my jewelry and artwork, and can go to www.samanthaschmitzart.com to view more of my paintings.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Blogs? Movies? Music? Books? IG Feeds?
SS: Currently, I’ve been inspired by just walking. I started taking really long walks this summer along the lake, and I try to go around sunset to see all the beautiful colors. It’s amazing what putting your phone down for a few hours and breathing in some stinky Lake Michigan air will do for your mind! It feels nice just being physically next to trees and flora. I think you soak in more of their energy than you think when you’re near them. I always feel very creative after my walks.
Besides walking, I’ve been reading a lot of books about Near Death Experiences. It sounds daunting, but the stories are so beautiful and powerful. Hearing about people’s brilliant experiences of the afterlife, heaven, or whatever you resonate with calling it - makes you
really want to take life a little less seriously, and just do what make *you* happy. So I’m going to keep working with my crystals, practicing lucid dreaming, and painting my dreamtime characters - all in the loving company of my fiancé and my three funny cats..
To meet artist and maker Samantha Schmitz, talk UFOs and see all of her amazing new pieces check out the upcoming Maker Market at Colectivo in Bay View this Sunday July 17th. Im sure there will be Pokemon to catch too..;)