Samanta Tello

Shop Samanta Tello

“This work series entitled “Brots” which in my native language, Catalan, means “Buds” represent the contrast between the city trees’ germination and growth and, at the same time, them being used as construction materials for the city’s growth itself. Using pyrography (wood burning) to represent the trees and foliage, and wood panels and cracked plaster details as the contrasting construction elements.” – Samanta Tello

BIO/Artist Statement

I was born in Barcelona and raised in Madrid, Spain, and studied Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid. Nearly 18 years ago, I moved to the golden state and settled in San Francisco. I remember constantly noticing the differences between the two countries – everything seemed so big in the U.S. I especially recall being moved by the magnificence and splendor of the trees of this area, so rich and elegant, and how virtually everything in the U.S. was built with wood, as opposed to Spain, where all the buildings were made with brick.

I was so impressed, I started using wood as my main material, drawing and painting trees on the wood. I loved using it as part of my work, not only as the base, but also as a “background”, letting the wood grain show through, using different shades of wood stains, combined with acrylic and oil, and integrating pyrography (drawing by burning with a heated metallic point). I suppose that being born and raised in one country, and as a young adult moving to another, makes you compare and contrast what you know and what you’ve seen, with other ways of doing and seeing life. Yet at the same time, other aspects of life are very much the same everywhere. I feel inspired by this relationship between harmony and contrast and I like to express it in my work – showing how contrasting elements highlight the opposing qualities in one another and bring appreciation of their specific attributes. I love simple, bold contrasts of positive and negative space, light and shadow, color, texture, patterns and contrasting materials like wood and metal foils.

I still love playing with wood textures and incorporate them in my work but, with the birth of my now seven- and ten-year-old daughters, and the current political climate, my artistic focus and inspiration has evolved, bringing attention to women and girl’s issues — how women have been silenced by patriarchal societies in most cultures, if not all. My daughters bring me constant inspiration and enthusiasm to keep doing my work and advocate for them — for us.

It is my belief that we can rise above our anger and remove the barriers to our success — by talking, sharing, communicating our thoughts to each other, redefining our own expectations, and never assuming that we must play fixed, female roles. I am often inspired by the stories, ideas and courage of the women I meet. Every day, I am reminded how women are agents of change. Through my work, I try to send a message of empowerment – graphically demonstrating how our once-silenced voices and unheard ideas, when brought together, can promote strength.

This message I pass on to my daughters as well, encouraging them to be who they truly are and dream to be, discouraging them from internalizing and assuming gender stereotypical roles. I invite them to question well-meaning people when they speak to them as “beautiful princesses” instead of smart girls with interests — and to be aware, listen and share in order to help themselves and all women as a whole. – Samanta Tello, 2018.


1994-1998, Fine Arts, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
1992-1995, Graphic Design/Advertising, IEES (Instituto Europeo de Estudios Superiores), Madrid, Spain

Winner of the So To Speak, Feminist Journal of Language and Art, visual contest.
Selected by Jessica Kallista, Gallery Director of Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at Hylton Performing Arts Center, VA

Artist Residencies
September 2017 – Vermont Studio Center Residency

2018 – Basma Magazine Germany, January 29, 2018
2017 – For Creative Girls Web Post. June 30, 2017
2016 – SFMOMA Tumblr Web Post. Nov 18, 2016
2016 – “Bay Area – Art Today” Juried Art Publication. Print, 2015
2015 – SFMOMA Tumblr Web Post. Nov 13, 2015

Selected Exhibitions
Urban Edge, Avenue 12 Gallery, San Francisco, CA
United State of Women Summit, Los Angeles, CA
GEO National Conference, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, CA
ArtSpan’s Juried Benefit Art Auction, San Francisco, CA
Dish Boutique, San Francisco, CA

ArtSpan Open Studios group show, San Francisco, CA
September, Vermont Studio Center Residency, VT
2016 June Exhibit, City Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA
“Against the Grain” Alley Cat Gallery, San Francisco, CA
“Identity” Arc Studio Artists Group Exhibition, San Francisco, CA
“Impulse” Arc Gallery, San Francisco, CA

“Artifacts” Arc Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Dennis Rae Gallery, San Francisco, CA
“Wonderland” 111 Minna, San Francisco, CA Samanta Tello

Dennis Rae Gallery, San Francisco, CA
APW Gallery, Long Island City, NY

“Rustic and Rusted” Jack Falstaff , San Francisco, CA
The Artists Alley Gallery, San Francisco, CA
“Forward Thinking” Polarity Post Productions, San Francisco, CA

“Wings With Hope” 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA
EOS, San Francisco, CA
Madrone Lounge, San Francisco, CA

Peace, Love, Joy, ART, ARTworkSF Gallery, San Francisco, CA Deep Gallery, Sacramento, CA
Chillin’ Productions 8th Anniversary show, San Francisco, CA

Juxtaposed, Pigman Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Chillin’ Productions show, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA

Avenue 12 Gallery
1101 Lake Street (at 12th Avenue)
San Francisco CA 94118