Kevin Blythe Sampson, 64, is a sculptor, painter, Muralist that is recognized for tackling difficult issues that concern him and his Newark, N.J., neighbors.
Kevin Blythe Sampson was born in Elizabeth NJ on November the 28th 1954. He is a product of growing up in a household that was totally committed to civil rights and community concerns, and this continues to be a recurring theme in his work. Kevin considers himself to be a “we shall over come Baby.”
Kevin’s father, Stephen Sampson (deceased) was a community leader in both Elizabeth New jersey and in other parts of the state; He is Kevin’s most important role model. Stephen Sampson remained a community leader for over 60 years until his death, in 2005. The City of Elizabeth honored Kevin’s Father by naming the new senior citizen complex the “Stephen Sampson Senior Center.”
Kevin Sampson grew up in house hold where many of the local marches were planned and many national leaders would meet with his father. They included Ruby Dee, William Kunsler, Malcolm X, Dick Gregory, Robert Ferris Thompson, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and many more. This had a strong effect on both Kevin’s Art and his life
Kevin became a police officer-Detective for the city of Scotch Plains New Jersey where he served for over 20 years. He is the first African American Uniformed Composite sketch Artist in The country. He received numerous commendations for his work as both a police composite artist and a detective including the 200 clubs medal of valor, (for saving a life).
He took an early retirement after the death of both his wife and an infant son, in separate illnesses.
Kevin and his two young children who had lived in Englishtown NJ for seven years now moved to the (ironbound section) of Newark New Jersey were he has lived for over 25 years.
Kevin was offered a teaching position at the Newark school of fine and industrial art where he taught (Airbrushing Tech’s and 3 dimensional Design) for over 16 years until the schools closing in 1995. Kevin also attended Lincoln University Pa, for two years, Parson School of Design (two years) and is a graduate of the Newark School of fine and industrial art. Kevin has continued teaching at various art schools and community programs, including currently running workshops at Express Newark, Rutgers Paul Robeson Gallery.
Kevin has been a gallery artist with Cavin-Morris gallery N.Y, N.Y since 1992
He is a mentor to many of Newark youths and has assistant a whole crop of young artist in obtaining admissions into the various art schools in the metro area. Kevin was successfully walked over ten young people into and through various Art schools in New York.
His work is in numerous collections including several museums. He is a past artist in residence at the Cathedral of St John the Divine and maintains a close friendship with his Mentor (the Retired Dean of the Cathedral) the Very reverend James parks Morton.
Kevin has received the Maria Walsh Sharp foundations residency and the Joan Mitchell artist grant, as well as awards from various art councils throughout the state. He has also received a 2017 residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in Nola, and a residency at the John Michael Kohler Foundations Arts and Industry Program. And the inaugural residency at the Mystic Seaport Museum 2018.
Over the course of the past three few years Kevin and his “Crew” have completed over five murals with the City of Newark’s, ”City Mural Program”. Including the Mural for this year Outsider Art Fair 2018, NY, NY.
Kevin was recently selected as “100 People in Newark, by the 100 People foundation.
Kevin recently did the voice over for an upcoming appearance on the PBS children’s Cartoon “Arthur”. He was turned into a cartoon and will play himself in the segment.