J. Frank Sampson was born on March 24, 1928 to parents Silas Abner Sampson and Mabel Elizabeth Trimble. A native of Edmore, North Dakota, he has frequently traveled across the Midwest to pursue his personal and professional goals. Upon completing a bachelor’s and master’s degree, he commenced his career as an assistant professor of fine arts at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1961, holding the position for six years. Relocating to Denver, he served the University of Colorado Denver as an associate professor of fine arts from 1968 to 1972 until escalating to the rank of full professor, a role he fulfilled from 1972 until attaining emeritus status in 1990. During his tenure, he taught from beginner to master-level studies, always finding enjoyment out of educating students and aiding in their personal growth.
Alongside his academic pursuits, Mr. Sampson is a prolific artist and printmaker whose work has can found in such states as Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Massachusetts. Recently being featured in the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts in 2018, his work has also been prominently displayed in one-man shows at the Arvada Center of the Arts, the Denver Art Museum and the Walker Art Center. Impressively, he is also represented in permanent collections at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Dulin Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the Minnesota Museum of Art, Washburn University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Boston Public Library, among other prestigious locations.
Mr. Sampson became involved in his profession due to the influence of his mother, who was a compassionate teacher who owned various art books. Becoming interested in art early on, he traveled to Belgium on a Fulbright fellowship between 1959 and 1960 before discovering that the University of Colorado was searching for a visiting artist to join their faculty. While in Belgium, Mr. Sampson was mentored by artist Mauricio Lasansky, studio owner Madam Strebell and writer Michele de Ghelderode, who wrote about Mr. Sampson’s artwork in a local magazine. Throughout his journeys in art, Mr. Sampson realized that his artwork was more than just self-expression on canvas – it was akin to religion that helped him reach a spiritual enlightenment. Through art, he discovered a deeper meaning to life, creation and spirit.
Currently residing in Boulder, Colorado, Mr. Sampson enjoys exercising and listening to classical music in his spare time. He is presently planning a new exhibit at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which is located on the Grand Forks campus of the University of North Dakota. The show opens on July 9, 2019.
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