Sam Adams

Raleigh, North Carolina

I am a North Carolina native. Raleigh is home. I am drawn to the sea and mountains, the shifting landscape, back roads, galleries, antique shops, diverse accents, and bizarres between. I like a slow, pretty road with lots of stops. When I see a picturesque eastern North Carolina landscape, I think Burk Uzzle would have stopped back there and taken a photograph. I think about art in terms of that split second thought, and that pause is the difference.

My art and decor philosophy is to always get the things you love and they will live happily and beautifully together. Most everything in my home has a story and represents an experience or a relationship with the artists and makers. I have and continue to renovate my 1925 bungalow with the help of my brother Jarrett Franklin. He built every piece of cabinetry and some of the furniture, all in his shop in Boone, and he patiently dealt with my very specific parameters. My mother has sewn every pillow and window treatment too. We kind of all made this house together. I am lucky to have a supportive family that can affectionately do projects together. It’s our love language.


“Art spans all time and style and expresses all ranges of human emotion and experience. As I am able to, I like to collect bits and pieces, and through coincidence or thoughtfulness nestle them together to create comforting spaces in my home.”

I studied Architecture in Charlotte and Raleigh and have in some form or another been a part of creative teams making interiors, buildings, and installations that celebrate artistry, individuality, and yes practicality. No one thinks I do anything practical! That’s all I do! At the North Carolina Museum of Art I managed a storage renovation to care for and house the tremendous collection when artworks are not on display. I recently unloaded a storage pod with a painter friend, David Molesky who just moved his studio from Brooklyn to Raleigh. It had to be 150 huge paintings. The whole time, I’m thinking, “The glamorous art world!” He loaned the fabulous painting in my living room. I am always kind of helping and hanging out with very vibrant artistic friends and picking up pieces here or there as I go and enjoying telling about the experience and the pleasure of enjoying the artwork.

Tell us about your first time acquiring art/

Some of the first pieces I acquired were at gallery openings on First Friday Art Openings, here in town. Something I was unaware of… is that artists and galleries will work with you. Shaun Richards is a fantastic painter and at the time, it was like, I can never get one of these, they are so big and expensive. He had a painting show at Flanders gallery with portrait size work and the gallery worked with me to make 3 payments. I would encourage new collectors to understand that it's pretty common for gallery’s to work something out to make more costly pieces accessible. I did not accept ‘Giddy Up’ until it was paid.”

Any artists on your radar right now?

Doug Meyer. I love his Wyldlands exhibit that was at Daniel Cooney Fine Art last year in NYC. It’s so relevant and I’ve been telling everyone it needs to come down south! World making is very inspiring to me. I like to say, “rooms are other worlds!” Why does everyone want to live in one big room? He created this futuristic post pandemic world of voyeuristic bathhouse bunkers. Kind of like space age organic paper mache doll houses with naked people inside to scale. My kind of lock down."

If you could meet one artist living or dead who would it be and why?

I want to meet artists in a starcrossed way. If I said I wanted to meet them, it wouldn’t be magic when it happens. I have met Mickalene Thomas and it was an amazing encounter. Every time I see a Balenciaga sneaker I think damn she’s so cool. “The Three Graces’ is one of my favorite pieces at NCMA.

I think I would just show up at Studio 54 and meet lots of artists, celebrities and such. Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Halston, Truman Capote, Andre Leon Talley, Lee Radziwell, and definitely Grace Jones. And I would drink club soda to take in every second. ”

Why is living with art important to you?

I think living each day to the fullest is important and that art is a lasting capture of that fullness. I like to be reminded of the full days, the not so full days, and to hope for a bright tomorrow.”

 Photography by Anna Routh Barzin