I have always embraced a great love for nature, with its endless array of plants, environments, and living organisms. In my art, and in life in general, I am most interested in observing and exploring our human relationship to the earth. I feel a strong spiritual interconnection with our living planet and strive to include it as a constant part of my life. However, in this modern world, we are instead taught how to live without it, and often even led to believe that the wild is "dangerous" and "primitive." But it is there, where subconsciously we all find true happiness, love, and peace. We feel it when we get the chance to go to the park, mountains, or beach. The cool air, the stimulating scents, the diverse life all around us; it's where we go to find peace and freedom; it's where we grow with one another, cultivating community.
As an artist who strives to use found natural materials and harvested waste-stream materials, I have adopted a new title, of climate artist—an artist who is focused on eliminating his or her carbon footprint by creating art that is (1) repurposed—using already existing or manufactured materials (in order to not feed into raw material production streams) ; and (2) nature-based—which influences environmental awareness or ecological remediation projects. In my work I fuse my sculpture and horticulture backgrounds with my mission to spread sustainability education to generate projects that portray the earth’s beauty, fragility, and importance to humanity's well-being. I design living systems, coupled with environmental awareness components, in order to bring attention to our current global crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and nutrient/waste pollution. I am currently focusing on showcasing how municipalities can enhance well-being via increasing home and community food growing and by planning urban development through an equitable, nature-based approach.
I am passionate about working with schools and youth, and have a particular interest in enhancing children's neurological development through gardening and food growing. I want to help open people's minds to the concept of healthier living through home food growing, even in urban areas without any land or much money.
Born in 1987, in some remote Andean village in Peru, Samuel S. T. Pressman was adopted in 1994 and moved to San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from St. Mary's Hall prep school in 2006, and received a scholarship to SCAD-Atlanta, where, in 2012, he graduated with a BFA in Sculpture. He was part of several Best-of SCAD exhibitions, including "Beyond The Dot" (May 2010, 2011) and "Open Studio Night" (Nov. 2011). In the summer of 2010, he volunteered in the Andean region of Ecuador (Cotopaxi), where he taught basic English oral skills and basic Spanish writing skills to about 40 children (ages 6–14). He also worked with several indigenous villages to coordinate environmental awareness and social engagement projects with local youth as leaders. He then spent a semester living on a regenerative farm in Ohio in order to understand more about natural food systems—this inspired him to start creating urban food gardens. For his SCAD graduation project, he curated his own show, “Natural Interconnections,” that sought to enlighten people about the importance of nature, growing food, and finding balance between the earth and humanity. Between 2012 and 2017, he expanded his artistic and business knowledge via working alongside established professional artists.
In 2017 he received a scholarship to Pratt Institute, where, in December 2019, he completed his Master's of Science in Sustainable Environmental Systems. Throughout his Pratt career, he concentrated on working with ecological systems design, for the benefit of helping cities to sustainably manage water, manage pollution, and increase urban food growing—with the objective of creating more community gardens, green infrastructure systems, and inclusive socio-educational programming. His master's thesis project, "Money Does Grow on Trees"—an in-depth framework for an open-source platform to showcase the economic values of existing Ecosystem Services in Community Gardens—made a case for why it is vital for real estate and land use policy to observe community gardens as land to protect from development, for the benefit of urban well-being. The project won the Pratt Research Open House Impact Award ('19).
In early 2020, with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, Samuel immediately began organizing with his core team to develop the Micro Food Hub project—which models hyper-localized equitable and transparent fresh food systems as the basis for circular community development. To give people a concrete understanding of such concepts, Samuel simultaneously transformed his rooftop patio from a hot conventional rooftop into the first of Samuel's Food Gardens—to showcase DIY modular food-growing systems that can be applied throughout cities. The project's mission is to inspire city dwellers to grow food at home, even without access to land or much money. Most recently, he and his teammate founded Homegrow, a digital educational platform, and Community Managed Systems (COMAS), which creates resource management networks at a local scale. His team looks forward to collaborating with other professionals, organizations, community gardens, schools, and city agencies with the mission to encourage sustainable circular community development, equitable hyper-localized food systems, and an overall return to balanced urban living between humans and our living planet.