Artist Interview: Sam LaFever

Posted by Jenni Kirby - August 04 2020

   Schooner at Thimble Shoal, Digital Serigraph, 98x50, $3,800


Learn about Sam LaFever and Schooner at Thimble Shoal, Norfolk

It’s not every day that you call to chat with an artist and they are steering a tug boat in the Chesapeake Bay - but that can be the case with Sam LaFever. LaFever fell in love with boats as a boy on a trip to Tangier Island in 1965. “I saw the Skipjack Allegheny,” he says. “The captain invited me aboard to take a look and I thought, ‘I want this life.’ ” 

At age 30 he got his captain’s license and had a short career only to return as an empty nester a couple of decades later after earning a degree in graphic design at the Art Institute of Washington. LaFever’s “out 2 weeks and home 2 weeks” schedule allows him to be both a boat captain and an artist. His experience with graphic arts has helped him devise a way to make prints that he calls, “digital serigraphs.” “I can use a drawing or photograph as a base, then add shapes to create images,” he explains. “The computer maps all the colors out so it can be scaled without loosing resolution. It is sort of like a silk screen.”

LaFever’s art is inspired by his time on the water. The Schooner Virginia, the subject of his print titled, Schooner at Thimble Shoal, Norfolk , is a replica of a private schooner. She is used as an educational and promotional tool by the  Nauticus Foundation and can be visited at Nauticus in downtown Norfolk, Virginia or seen in major events such as the Norfolk’s Harborfest, and the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. LeFerver says, “The image of the Schooner Virginia inspires me as a tribute to maritime life and the importance of it to our livelihood.” 

Sail on and keep making art Captain Sam!