Our Public Engagement Manager, Cathy Lee, explores the meaning of art with Lead Security Officer and artist, Samantha Darling, who is a featured artist at Art Crawl on Thursday, October 20th, from 6-8 p.m.


Image courtesy of Samantha Darling.

“Are you a history museum or an art museum” is something I hear a version of almost daily from visitors who want to know what kind of museum we are. I’d like the answer to that question to simply be “yes” because we are both things all at once.

We’re a museum that focuses on studying humans and human experiences, and art is a major part of our daily lives as humans, whether we’re actually artists or not. But what is art? What kind of art is worthy of display in a museum? Here at the Museum of Man, we celebrate the diversity of the human race. We look for similarities across cultures that connect us to one another. Art and beauty connect us.

Art Crawl is our next evening event on Thursday, October 20th, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. This event is a celebration of art from the streets because, no matter where it comes from or who creates it, we believe that art is art…and it’s beautiful and museum-worthy.

One of our featured artists for Art Crawl was found within our own ranks, our Lead Security Officer, Samantha Darling. Samantha will be our Chalkboard Art Master. Throughout the night, she’ll be inviting our visitors to join her in creating a San Diego neighborhood-themed chalkboard mural. The mural will explore the idea of who we are as San Diegans, what our ideal neighborhoods look like, and what we, as a community, see as our future.

Samantha and I sat down together to talk art and her experiences and inspiration as an artist.


Cathy: What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?


Samantha Darling at work creating her art.

Samantha: I believe I was born in the wrong century. I wish I could have been a Renaissance painter, or in among the brilliant minds of the French Revolutionaries. The world today does not have enough reverence for artists; money is considered more important. The economy trumps beauty, and that is unfortunate.

Today being an artist is not a sustainable practice, yet it’s so necessary. Without beauty, what’s the point?

I think art is more important than money. I would rather be broke and painting, than driving a Maserati and living in a mansion in Point Loma.

Cathy: If we are going to talk about your art, where do you want to start?

Samantha: You need a muse, for one, I draw when I am sad. It’s like how some people work through things differently—they work out, go for drives, go out with friends. I paint. It’s cathartic for me.

Cathy: Where does your inspiration/creativity come from when you’re creating?


Image courtesy of Samantha Darling.

Samantha: Love. And heartbreak. My art is extremely personal. All of my pieces draw on life events.  I am happy in love now, so I haven’t painted in almost a year. Navigating art during happiness is something I am currently figuring out.

Cathy: How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?

Samantha: Empowered. Justified.

Cathy: When did you start considering yourself an artist?

Samantha: When I was six years old, I would sit in the back seat of my mom’s jeep and I would draw for hours and hours, listening to music. My first drawing was of a horse and carriage…I was hooked.

Cathy: What art movement or artist would you say influences your work most?

Samantha: My favorite artist is Jacques-Louis David, in particular his painting called The Death of Marat. I love art from the French Revolution, in particular, because of their use of shadows.


Image courtesy of Samantha Darling.

Cathy: If there were a magic power you could use in your art making, what would it be?

Samantha: I am a realist painter, so the ability to obtain perfection. Or maybe the ability to pause time so I can paint every idea that comes to me throughout the day, which is thousands.


It’s time to explore your own definition of art and what it means to be an artist. Please join Samantha Darling in the creation of the “ideal” San Diego by contributing to her mural at Art Crawl on Thursday, October 20th, from 6-8 p.m.

Buy discounted tickets here!