Feeding the Beast: Sam Rolfes on multi-hyphenate careers, platform capitalism & riding the wave of the moment for AQNB’s Artist Statement podcast

, 17 November 2021

“It’s funny that the the lifestyle of the starving artist has been democratized. Everybody is their own individual entrepreneur who takes on the risk of trying to do anything these days,” says Sam Rolfes, about the precarious reality of the ‘freelance multi-hyphenate culture’ of contemporary labour. “People have been giving up a certain stability or bargaining rights… and what we’ve been getting in return is consumer comfort.” Speaking to editor Steph Kretowicz for AQNB’s latest Artist Statement podcast, the digital performance artist and designer works with sound, animation and online culture to create work that is entertaining and alluring, while having a hard edge of humour and criticality.

Born in Dallas, educated in Chicago and now based in New York, Rolfes started in painting before pivoting into the smart, noisy and raucous mixed format art revealing a rough-edged digital aesthetic that’s aware of its own artifice. It’s made Rolfes a highly sought-after artist and designer across scenes, fields and industries. He often collaborates with his brother Andy as Team Rolfes, where he’s worked with such big names a Lady Gaga, Danny Elfman and Rihanna, while presenting his solo real-time 3D improvisations and other collaborations with the likes of House of Kenzo, Rabit, Danny L Harle, Kai Whiston, umru and many, many more. 

‘Feeding the Beast’ is the latest in our Artist Statement podcast series, with past episodes featuring umruDeForrest Brown, JrAdham FaramawyTianzhuo Chen, and others. The full episode is accessible to our subscribers right now on Patreon. Sign up now: www.patreon.com/aqnb.**