Reading: Samara Shuter Suits Up

Samara Shuter Suits Up

If menswear looked a little more like the beautiful images created by Canadian artist Samara Shuter the world would be a much more magical place.


When you are painting do you imagine the man behind the suit? Where is he going dressed like that? Or whom he is going to meet?

I use the suit and the male form to discuss issues that resonate with me, and that are present while trying to navigate my own life – where powers lie, societal pressure, gender roles, beauty, passion and developing ones own character. Normal stuff! He is the every man (and woman).

Why is the lapel your favourite part to paint? What does it say about a man when he wears/doesn’t wear one? 

Wearing a lapel exhibits an eye for detail. However, it’s not important to me as a fashion reference, as much as I enjoy sharp edges and following a line.

It is a fun place where people can express their individuality when it comes to showing their personality via their suit choices. Finishing details vary, and the only way I ever know if a painting is truly “finished”, is if there is nowhere else to go… nothing else I can explore. Sometimes less really is more.

If you could give advice to a designer on how to make a suit that would inspire you, what would you tell them? Or conversely, how do you think things would be different if every man in Toronto walked the streets in a suit inspired by your paintings.

Seeing people wear my painting style in real life, would probably seem a little outrageous, but to each their own. I think it would be fabulous and fun. If I were working with a clothing designer I probably wouldn’t design suits at all. Maybe the liner. Or perhaps where I’d love to see more detail whether it be extra pockets or zippers. I love the details. I’d sooner make an awesome pant, or design a wicked leather jacket where traditional meets a detailed colour explosion of awesomeness.

For those who missed out on your limited edition ties with Everett is there another collaboration that’s in the works?

Ah yes, the tie collab… that was a lot of fun. There are a couple of great things I can’t yet speak of publicly, but fashion aside, I am moving into a new work space as well as taking my show on the road. I will be showing work in a few new cities later this year and for the first time ever, I will be painting on a pair of shoes. That’s as much as I can give up right now.

Best advice for young entrepreneurs?

Great advice I once received is that “what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you”, which came from a mentor who I was desperately seeking answers from when I began to get my feet wet. I was constantly wondering “how” before I even knew “what”.  I let my business mind take the lead versus first focusing on making my best work. It’s a scary and vulnerable place to live in when you need to make rent. Try to find some sort of balance, which is next to impossible working for yourself, where the reward will outweigh the risk. You have to believe in yourself. It’s the only way other people can get on board and the power is in the numbers. Learn to trust and try.

What can we expect to see at your solo exhibit “Getting To Know You”?

This show is a follow up to “The Introduction” series, which hosts many of my earlier works and spans across a 2-3 year period where I was transitioning to Fine Art on a full time basis. Getting To Know You is a follow up to that period of time, where I’ve done my best to intimately examine my own work, as well as expand my reach in this field. I am exploring existing themes of fantasy, mortality, passion and hard work more thoroughly, as well as spending more time on each piece to bring together great detail and create much larger paintings. Without giving away too much, you can expect to see pieces that are bigger, bolder, and more dynamic, emphasizing the form, presence, and movement of the human body.