Gilford resides and works in a small town in western MA. He has lived
in this beautiful rural area now for 32 years. He is originally from
New York City.
Born in 1955 and raised in the hip, beatnik atmosphere of the
""original bohemian, art, culture capital of the world",
Greenwich Village, on Manhattan Island.
His parents both very gifted actors. Both left wing, progressive and
social activists in the 1940s were very influential ánd
encouraging of Sammy's freedom of imagination & expression.
This artist attended the Little Red Schoolhouse in the Village, studied
guitar, violin and piano. Loved art, shop and playground. All of
which played a major part of Sammy Gilford's creative talent and
originality. He hooked up at the age of nine with the folk rock group
"The Lovin' Spoonful", and was a sort of mascot of theirs.
Bil Baird, the famous and gifted puppeteer, also had a big influence on
this young man's art style. Mr. Gilford's parents survived the
Hollywood blacklist of the fifties. His father, Jack Gilford, ( a
rather famous, funny & talented actor), rose to fame in
movies, tv and stage. Achieving the honor of an acadmy award nomination
in 1972 for best supporting actor in "Save the Tiger" with Jack Lemmon.
His Mother, producer Madeline Lee, was a child radio star, casting
director and actess in her own right, has found her own place in
theatrical history as well. His god-father was the late great
lyricist E.Y.(Yip) Harburg. This also was very much a part of
Sammy Gilford's life growing up.
Mr. Gilford was ceremoniously thrown out of eighth grade. Then he
attended a school for "demented genius's" located off central park. At
the age of 15 he was fed up with the city, school, his parents and the
shrink he was forced to go to, he decided to leave home. He was
going to join a commune in upstate NY. But went instead to an
alternative farm/ school/ community located in Deerfield Ma. He
got very into substinance farming, self sufficiency, gardening and
alternative community living. After two years he decided to go
off to Afghanistan and Asia on a hashish, incense, poster and balm
pilgrimage. Upon his return chose to go back to the land,
purchased 40 acres in Minn. to continue in this lifestyle. This
did not pan out. So he returned to NYC briefly and ended up
coming back to the area of western MA. he loved so much. He found
very humble lodgings in the village of Turner's Falls MA. where he
ended up staying for twelve years. He found employment as a
dishwasher in a local bar and grill and attemted suicide at the
age of 26.
In 1986 his duplex apartment was torn down and made into something
useful....a parking lot. He then moved into a very
comfortable house from 1820. Given to him by his
parents, (who felt it was cheaper then putting him away), in a
village nearby and has been residing there with his many pets and
his studio. In this point of life he found employment as a
dishwashing hoping to better himself. Then all of his creative juices
started to really flow. He volunteered at a Umass. radio station stayed
there for 15 years or so on a mission and crusade to spread all kinds
of music that he felt very strongly about. Partly because
they were the styles and historic genres that systematically were not
being played or aired on a an equal, fair or regular basis. These
included Nine basic styles such as: Country, bluegrass, Broadway
musicals, folk, international, ethnic, rock and
roll, the 100 yr music known as "jazz"(pure black classical african
american improvisational instrumental music of this 20th century), and
classical music. Also a wide variety of spoken word material including
drama, poetry, comedy and speeches, all of a historic, genuine and
authentic nature. Mr. Gilford also started to create little clay
smoking pipes which he began to peddle on the streets of Amherst
MA. He continued this through the struggles of his unending task
of trying to make this college radio station better. He then
ended up in a settlement with the university to leave the station in
1998. Continuing his special style of (by ear) piano playing in
local clubs bars and restaurants in this area of MA. He
started to create public access tv programs in Greenfield Ma.
Several of his interests included a video collage alternative
experimental music program titled "Sammy's video collages".
Another has been an educational show , "Let's Learn about Astrology" a
program that taught the basics of astrology, as well as a tribute to
his father, comedian Jack Gilford.
Sam has amassed literally thousands of video and cassettes of
practically everything that ever existed! He is a very
knowledgable musicologist, as well as a film enthusiast and cinema
historian with one of the largest collections in the country!
The artist Sam Gilford has turned his attention to his painting and
sculpting skills in this unique and original, primitive form.
Trying to struggle thru the somewhat cut-throat scene of the art
galleries; Sammy choose to have "his own gallery over
his head" and peddles on the street in Amherst and NYC and has now
desperately turned towards this web-site hoping his work will be
by a more mass audience.
His paintings are acrylic, abstract, vibrant,
lively, bright, sometimes busy, very colorful themes of flowers,
glasses, pots and vases, as well as his tributes to the late great
tenor saxaphonist and musician "Pres"- Lester Young (1909-59) and his
felt (pork pie) hats as well as other interpretations of "jazz"
musicians. Also an original political cartoon, ("gone
fission"), and finally... his statues. A paper mache mode
dealing with Lester Young and Ellis Island, (Jewish),
themes. He created for a time very large Paper mache
statues that rocked back and forth on a mechanical pedestal with the
music of two themes being projected from the art piece.
There is still what Sam considers his most moving and best piece,
that of the Rosenberg's clinging to each other and rotating in an
electric chair with many pertinant music's and words emmanating
from the statue.
Anyone who chooses Mr. Sammy Gilfords work will never be disappointed!
They are a unique source of true inspiration and enormous originality!
They promise to be a treasured, cherished and precious art object
for the home or office. They make very interesting conversation pieces,
as well as a suitable gift for any person of any age. He believes
in keeping his prices low in order to spread their messages of
information, education and entertainment. His
participation,contribution and new arrival on this site, as well as his
own new web site is a welcomed, refreshing and much needed jolt to the
contemporary and growing art scene!
All paintings are available for purchase off this website. For your
convenience we offer these paintings via Pay Pal, the most secure,
reliable way to buy off the internet. Shipping via UPS.