Sam Barrett – My Time at Watts Gallery

Apr 28, 2022 | Commission

Last year DAiSY had a call-out for commissions for emerging disabled artists to develop their practice. Our commission in partnership with Watts Gallery was awarded to visual artist and animator Sam Barrett, who had the opportunity to spend time in their studio as artist-in-residence. Here, Sam tells us about his experiences over the two weeks:


George Frederick Watts


  • He liked to make people think
  • Him and his wife wanted everyone to do art
  • He was inspired by Greek Myths
  • He put a star in his paintings to give HOPE

G F Watts, ‘Self Portrait in Old Age’, 1904, oil on canvas, Watts Gallery Trust

A self portrait – George in profile, he is facing to his left. He is white, and painted wearing a dark red robe and hat, with white hair and beard, against a dark backdrop.



How I became Artist in Residence

We saw DAISY asking for Emerging Artists to apply for a commission on Instagram and by email.

We filled in an online form telling DAISY and Watts Gallery that I would make an animation inspired by George Frederick Watts Minotaur who would go back in time with Father Time to find out where he came from and what he used to be.

In July I had an email saying I had been awarded it!

G F Watts, ‘The Minotaur’, 1885, chalk on paper, Watts Gallery Trust

The drawing depicts the Minotaur, a monster from Greek mythology who is half man and half bull, and is seen half from behind, looking out over the sea behind a parapet. The monster is depicted as a muscular figure with a bull’s head and human torso.

How I began the commission


I had a zoom meeting with James from DAISY,

I drew my version of the Minotaur in the summer holidays.

Ellen at Watts Gallery showed mum and I around the Gallery, she talked about 5 paintings, one of them was the moon goddess kissing a shepherd who she loved but Zeus had him put asleep forever for liking his wife.

Sam’s illustration of The Minotaur inspired by GF Watts

The creature is depicted with a double-headed snake on their torso, a patterned blue tail and wearing a blue skirt and holding an axe in their right hand. Their right arm is metallic grey jagged with blue lines, and a purple flower is tied around their left arm. They have a gold ring in their left ear and their horns are tipped red with blood.

G F Watts, ‘Endymion’, c.1860s and c.1903-1904, oil on canvas, Watts Gallery Trust

A painting of two lovers – a nude male figure, languid in sleep, and the outline of an ethereal presence in the form of a woman, arched into the circular shape of a crescent moon.


Then I designed my version of ‘After the Deluge, the 41st day after the flood’

G F Watts, ‘After the Deluge’, c.1885-1891, oil on canvas, Watts Gallery Trust

The painting takes the form of a stylised seascape, dominated by a bright sunburst breaking through clouds.

Sam’s illustration of sun and waves inspired by ‘After the Deluge’

A stylised seascape – rays of orange and yellow lines emanate from the centre of the sun, which is ringed by patterned circles ranging from red, pink, orange and yellow.

Two weeks as Artist in Residence


It was exciting and I was amazed. We decorated the room with pictures, put my drawing pads out and had a post card printed so people knew my Instagram account. 235 people visited including friends from the Orpheus Centre and Freewheelers Theatre Company.

I had good feedback for example Aztec, lots of detail, bright colours, could be made into tattoos etc.

Lily my mentor animator came to visit and gave me some animation tips. I drew my version of George Frederick Watts Father Time.

Sam stands with his back to us, while he hangs his illustrations on the grey studio wall. He wears a colourful shirt and yellow trousers.

Sam’s illustration of Father Time, inspired by ‘Time, Death and Judgement’ by GF Watts.

Time is depicted as a young man, wearing red trousers patterned with gold and which is fastened by a blue snake eating its own tail. He wears green sandals, a gold headband decorated with green, yellow and red, and an hourglass hangs from his neck. In his left arm he carries a scythe.

Sam is currently working on completing his animated film. We will be sharing more on our website and social media soon!