Sam Ezell is one of the nicest folks anyone could share a town with. You can always count on him to help out a neighbor or a stranger. He works full-time handling maintenance at the Daniel Boone Village shopping center where he has a little studio with fancy birdhouses out front. You might also see his panel truck covered with bright folk art paintings and Sam’s phone number on a nearby roadside.
When folk art fans and collectors around the country think of Hillsborough, NC, they most likely think of Sam Ezell. He is a featured and popular artist at the prestigious Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, AL, held every October.
Sam did not consider himself an artist and never intended to become one until he promised a friend he would give painting a try. Everyone knows that Sam Ezell keeps his promises! Once he started to paint, he was surprised how much he enjoyed doing it. Now he says he likes it more than fishing. Sam paints just for fun, in his spare time, and his only goal is to make you smile.
Sam found a primitive style using bright colors to make joyful paintings. The images came directly from his imagination, influenced by amusing memories of small-town life. People are dressed up and having fun. Skies are blue, the sun is shining, birds have houses, and chickens come in lots of colors. Condiments have their own sense of pride. Flowers spring from pots and vases.
In 2014 Sam began a series of paintings depicting some of the many historic buildings in his hometown of Hillsborough, NC, which debuted at the Orange County Library in 2015. These were the first paintings he had ever done using real subjects as a guide.
More recently, Sam developed difficulty with his eyesight and worried that he might have to give up painting. Straining to see the details of his smaller paintings, he found larger canvases much easier to work with. He let his imagination lead him to creating abstract paintings composed of simple shapes and bright colors. These new paintings are cheerful and fun, like all of Sam’s art, and he is very happy artist once again.