Meet the Artist: Samuel Karow

A still from his film 'The Splinter Palace,' which premiers on April 20 at Artless Bastard in De Pere. In what mediums do you work?

I'm a filmmaker. My background is in documentary. “The Splinter Palace," marks my first time directing a narrative feature film.

When were you first interested in art and at what time did you know it would be a part of your life?

I grew up on a farm property near Marshfield.When I was 13 my parents let me turn the barn into a haunted house. It was well received by the public and became an annual Halloween tradition. Playing with zombies, vampires and ghouls, it was a lot of fun creating a world from the ground up.And being able to share that world with a captive audience was very exciting.

From where do you draw inspiration and/or what other artists have had the greatest impact on your work?

“The Splinter Palace" began when Logan Lark, an actor I had previously worked with, told me his second passion was painting pictures. I like to take inspiration from things around me. So I got the idea of a story with a painter as the main character.Logan was also excited by the concept and we began writing a screenplay together.

Soon though, Logan was overwhelmed with the task of having to paint 40 or 50 canvases before shooting began. I suggested he create the character first and then have the character paint all the pictures. It worked.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming event at ArtlessBastard.

I'm thrilled to premiere our quirky, colorful comedy in the same town where it was shot.The event is going to be unique.We're showing a film about a painter in a space where the audience will be surrounded by all the original artwork. I think that's a rare thing.

If there is something you'd like to say with your work or a message you'd like people to walk away with, what would it be?

“The Splinter Palace" is about an individual who depends on artas a form of therapy, even as it is misunderstood by others. I notice that sometimes we pass people on the streetwho seem sort of lost, and it's easy to ignore them. But maybe they're secretly leading an extraordinary life. I wanted to make a film that lets the audience experience this paradox for themselves, and hopefully, make themlaugh at the same time.

How much of a role has living in Northeastern Wisconsin played in your work and where can your work be viewed?

Nationally, we all know Green Bay as a football mecca. But I wanted to challenge myself to showcase the hidden treasures of the area. I've always found downtown Green Bay extremely photogenic. In fact, the central location used in the film was an old mansion in historicAstor Park.

There's a vibrant network of fellow creatives here. My past documentaries have included profiles on Green Bay graphic artist Matt Bero and Neenah-based photographer Che Correa.All my films can be found on my website: www.fancyhorsefilms.com.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Collaborating with actors, rather than observing real-lifesubjects, is a somewhat recentdiscovery for me. I was very nervous about casting Gladys Chmiel as Alice in “The Splinter Palace." Gladys is a beloved veteran actress of Milwaukee stage productions. However, this was her first time playing the lead in a feature film. So it turned out to be an adventure for both of us. It was a step I'm glad I took despite being intimidated atfirst.

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