Sam Venables, Bio

Toys R Us, Sam Venables

Interests include but not limited to:

Fandom, display mechanisms, signwriting, mass production, shopfitting/ shopfitters, roadside attractions, abandoned places, homemade substitutes, multi-packs, wear dated carpets, unofficial museums, localised advertising, custom transportation, cherished number plates, trophies and Chinese copyright laws.

Why are people drawn to things, objects or activities? My work is driven by fandom, display and technique and occupies the space between these three things. Space can represent a cultural understanding and a relationship to objects and their history, the values that can be attributed to a car decal sticker, a pile of rubbish in the street, someone’s custom jacket, incorrect spelling on a sign – these seem like such significant contributions to our social heritage – they diary and map how we understand and appreciate things directly in the world. The cycle of going to work in order to make work or folding bespoke skill sets such as shopfitting or signwriting into my own practice is recurrent.

Always a necessity, working to make work. For over 10 years I have worked developing a visual language for a fashion brand and thought about retail space as an exhibition space to communicate objects of value. Stories, myth, remembering and collection are all linked in latest works. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, YOU ARE IN MY HEART is my most recent work – a 5m high chewing gum attributed to a 82 year old chewing gum collector I met on a roadside research trip in Arizona.

For the past year I have been making Eagle and Child. The film documents the reuse of closed down public houses switched up into McDonald’s restaurants. They’re hard to find but through story, rumour, chit chat and google image search I’ve visited 32 sites across the UK. I’m undecided whether these takeovers are good or bad, none the less find it important to document these changes today in our society.