Buddy of Work is a New York-based blog created in 2012 and curated by Henry Samelson.

Buddy of Work focuses on artists who deviate occasionally from the work they generally do. By deviate I am referring to one-offs, anomalies, accidents, drunken lapses, drawings, photographs, journal entries, blogs, notes, poems, hobbies, commissions, etc, that don’t always have an obvious formal or thematic connection to the artist’s primary body of work or way of working. By work they generally do I mean work an artist identifies as their primary work, work they are known for making or feel driven by the market to make, a body of work they are committed to making, etc.

For example, I mainly make abstract paintings, but occasionally I draw people in the park. I am interested in what connects these two practices and why I feel compelled to draw figures in spite of my primary alliance with abstraction. Does this represent a lapse in discipline? Are the figures just fun, a hobby of sorts? Where do the two practices intersect? Must they?

I realize that the general premise of this blog begs a lot of questions about terms like “usual” and phrases like “primary body of work” as not everybody works in bodies nor places emphasis on linear trajectories within their practice.

That said, Buddy of Work sends out periodic invitations for artists to submit two images: one which represents their primary body of work; and a second, buddy image that represents a departure from their norm. The rest is open for discussion.

Henry Samelson, 2012


  1. really interesting idea, especially seeing the relationship between the primary and the “one-offs” (I actually referred to something that way the other day!) or the non-primary work.

    1. Thanks Julia. I’m also interested in the way work is categorized/compartmentalized by both artist and audience. And what motivates us to value certain work for certain reasons at certain times.

  2. I am primarily an oil painter but do these strange little collages that seem quite a bit different than the painting work. I think I know what the connection is, a sense of curiosity and the desire to push myself pass self imposed stop signs.

  3. Great idea. Love seeing artists’ ‘other’ works and making the connections. In my own work, it’s usually a painting I’m ready to trash & the works on paper that form this body of work. Over time.

  4. I am excited about this blog-I am constantly feeling pulled to create the “one offs” and generally end up down mysterious rabbit holes that eventually lead me back to the more obvious quest that all the work collectively expresses. I tend to feel distrust, even shame when the inspiration beckons me out of my “good work” and in to the weird clay piece or the sudden fascination with________(fill in the blank). Needless to say I am beginning to feel more allegiance to the process of quirky exploration and see it as nutrients feeding the “better work”. I am really looking forward to watching and reading this blog. Thank you!

  5. I LOVE this idea! I totally agree with your about statement. I’m the same way. What fun and educational. It is good to see you are, I am, not the only one. There are a whole lot of us out there.

  6. What a terrific project!
    As an abstract artist making drawings and sculptures as my main body of work, I can move into figuration for commissions. I just completed a statue of Ben Mondor for McCoy stadium, the Boston Red Sox AAA baseball park, in Rhode Island. It was quite the experience to work on my drawings and then work on a large figure simultaneously. This is what my friend Nermin Kura wrote “It is one of those rare occasions when one has the opportunity to see and experience how art is (and has been for so many centuries) a
    social binding agent enabling people to come together around important
    figures, ideas, and events.
    You sculpture memorialized Mondor, and helped materialize the love
    people felt towards him in a way that nothing else could!”
    What can amaze me is how one thinks that one body of work has nothing to do with the other.. yet working on a large scale for the baseball park directly influenced my own work in the studio.

  7. Yeah I think this is a great idea for a blog! The deviations or one offs are what keeps you sustained by your own work. It is interesting to see what art people favour over other kinds of their own expressions.
    Sometimes its hard to see the link between different styles/genres of your own work. Exploring full permutations of an idea is important
    Anthony White

  8. This is a great idea! It’s hard to show that “other” work sometimes because it doesn’t always quite fit but it still needs to be made. Do you accept submissions or do you find people on your own?

  9. This is wonderful. I love seeing all of these works. If you’re interested, I would to part of the project. Please take a look at my website – current paintings – then paper/tyvec. The “flat” works are a natural extension of my studio practice, and I produce these in the studio while the denser works are drying. These works allow me more fluidity and freedom to splash about and explore color coordinates and combinations.

  10. Continue to love your blog. I think my buddy works may be arrangements I create around my home, a pile of nails on a flat rock, a grouping of broken old windowsashes, it’s a bit of a compulsion. And then there is my official work, within which there are also zigs and zags from the “usual”.

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