Growing up in Seoul, South Korea, Samantha Wall always felt a little different. As someone with a multiracial background she found herself between groups, and she was often ostracized because of it. She moved to the United States with her family at a young age, but she was still treated as an outsider.

“It’s difficult for a child to understand that they’re different,” says Wall. “I didn’t want to believe that it mattered the way that I look. That it shaped my identity as much as it does — and it absolutely does.”  

Starting at a very young age, Wall began to channel her feelings of otherness into art, putting pencil to paper whenever she had the chance.  

“When I was a child, a pencil was always nearby, and it was comfortable,” she says. “It was this tool that I could rely on.”  

Now based in Portland, she uses those comfortable pencils — along with charcoal, crayon and ink — to create striking black-and-white drawings that explore emotions, identity and the inner forces that drive us. 

Using black ink on white paper, Portland-based Samantha Wall makes art out of shared experiences.

Producer: Kelsey Wallace
Videgraphers: Tom Shrider, Greg Bond
Editor: Greg Bond
Audio: Ted Cutler, Bill Ward