Our Fine Friends: Sam Wohl, Illustrator / Provocateur

July 16, 2013
- Our Fine Friends
Author - Nick Dies


Sam Wohl is a multi-instrumentalist in his creative endeavors: illustrator, short film-maker, graphic novel inventor, welder.

He can whip up dream worlds that remind us of the inventive mind of the late architect-philosopher Lebbeus Woods, and he had our heart when he spearheaded the welding project on Darla the Corvair.

What is your Day in the Life?

Generally, I wake up between 7 and noon. I stow my murphy bed and eat an egg-related breakfast. Sometimes I check email at the library and get a pastry at Celaya on Sunset. Apple empanada, I want you.

I bicycle down to my studio in the fashion district and draw for around 8 hrs. Then I go home, read something and make food, often chicken-related. Then, I pull down the murphy bed and hit the sack. Done.

What’s inspiring you right now?

Otomo Katsuhiro, best known for his work on Akira. I just picked up a book with his complete works called Genga, from the exhibition of the same name, which is mesmerizing in its scope.  It seems like all the answers are in there: cyber-technology, war, humor, sex, mutation, speed – all executed in detail with levity.  These are drawings that truly exude character.


How do you like to take a break?

During the work day I enjoy sandwiches and coffee when taking a break.

What type of distractions do you like to have around while working?

“Distractions” is an interesting choice of words. I rotate between comedy podcasts, music, and silence. Sometimes I wear ear plugs. If I stay up all night drawing, I’ll listen to movies and sometimes look over to see what’s going on.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you had received before becoming an artist?

I’ve only recently started taking advice. I’ve received plenty that I didn’t listen to, so maybe someone already suggested this morsel but I wasn’t paying attention: “Don’t use the first idea you have. Wait ’til the second or third to act.”

Any hidden gems in downtown LA you’d like to share?

There’s this torta/juice spot in the underground alley on the northeast corner of Olympic and Maple. I’m a big supporter.  The alley is on the corner so it’s a triangular shaped block. The torta spot is tucked in the far corner behind glass doors. They always have this one singing pastor on the TV, belting out to stadium of people.  You can either eat at their stainless steel counter inside or go out to where the incense and Jamaican hat guys slang their wares.  I should spend more time in there and you should too.


I wrote and directed a short film entitled Jelly Soulswhich is a re-creation of a psychotic episode I had in the desert.  A great group of friends from LA helped me shoot it out in the Salton Sea, surrounded by a wasteland of derelict boats.

It’s looking really great and I can’t wait to show it to everyone.  We’re going to do a screening somewhere, say tuned for details.

Check out his recent portfolio and ongoings at SamWohl.com.