Sam Lasiter, a 17 year -old Montclair High School senior paints his latest still life, “#3 with cheese,”
on the dining room table at home Sunday, Oct. 1. ADAM ANIK/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

Art by Sam Lasiter

Through Nov. 30

Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Upstairs Gallery
67 Park St.

shomreiemunah.org, kolemunah.net

973-746-5031 

By GWEN OREL
orel@montclairlocal.news

When Adrienne Shulman, Sam Lasiter’s mother, went to sleep, there was just a hamburger and some fruit on the canvas.

“I came down and it was THAT,” Shulman said with a laugh. “#3 with Cheese,” a still life of a McDonald’s happy meal, sat on an easel on the kitchen table. Lasiter, 17, was putting finishing touches on it when he spoke to the Montclair Local.

“When we want to eat, we squeeze in, or have him clean up, but we wait until he’s done,” she said with a laugh.

ADRIENNE SHULMAN

Lasiter is showing some of his work at Congregation Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park St., through the end of November. It’s the first time the Montclair High School senior has shown his work, he said. Getting together the best of his pieces from the past few years helped him organize his portfolio for college applications,  too. He intends to go to art school.

Both of his parents, Shulman and John Lasiter, have art backgrounds. “We met in grad school,” Shulman said. The pair were both studying theater lighting. “I started in fine art as an undergrad, and ended up in the theater department.”

Lasiter came relatively late to his love of art: it wasn’t until middle school at Renaissance that he realized he enjoyed it, he said.

“I was allowed to just do whatever I felt like doing. There wasn’t a specific assignment to make. That’s why I like art more than the rest of school. You’re allowed to make whatever.”

An early painting by Sam Lasiter. ADAM ANIK/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

His mother pointed to an early picture of a flower, framed and hanging on the kitchen wall, and said she could see he always had an eye for composition.”He made an effort to continue the background. He made a place for it to sit. I have an art background and could just see he had an eye.”

But it wasn’t until teacher Joyce Korotkin actually liked a picture Lasiter had intended as a joke, a charcoal of a donkey with watercolor over it, that Lasiter decided to pursue it.

“Everyone else was doing serious work. My friends and I were doing donkeys,” he said. “Art was never something I though of as something I could do before. As I took it seriously, I realized it was something I liked.

“I like that it’s a way I can express myself, and show people what I like. I like weird stuff, things I thought were funny, but done in a good way.”

“#3 with cheese” is an example of that.

“Froot Loop Mother” by Sam Lasiter is the result of a mosaic assignment. COURTESY SAM LASITER

“Froot Loop Mother” is another. The piece was an assignment to make a mosaic. It could be anything, Lasiter said. “I liked how Froot Loops came in different colors.”

He bought several kinds of cereals, but fruit loops were the best. “I took a photograph and pixelated it, and printed it in black and white.” Then he figured out the gradations between white to black, using yellow for the lightest and purple for the darkest. The family didn’t eat the extra fruit loops, but kept them for “repairs.”

“Elliot, our younger son, ate some,” Shulman said with a smile. Lasiter prefers Frosted Flakes, but “it’s hard to do a portrait out of frosted flakes.”

Sam Lasiter stands with “#3 with cheese” in his Montclair home. ADAM ANIK/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL