© Sam Shoemaker

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Sam Shoemaker

Los Angeles

Artist Statement

Fungi are my primary collaborators in an interdisciplinary balancing act of art and science. Working with dozens of species in my basement laboratory, I manipulate light, nutrient substrates, atmospheric conditions, and temperatures to choreograph physical reactions: an archive of mushroom moods. Like a camera obscura, the living fungi create a record of time and space as they emerge from the orifices in my ceramic and glass sculptures. These sculptures exist as playground architecture for the mushrooms, formalized scores without predetermined outcomes, movements, or compositions.

© Sam Shoemaker

Sam Shoemaker's Portfolio

© Sam Shoemaker

Artist Biography

Sam Shoemaker (b. 1991, Orlando, FL) is an interdisciplinary artist and mycologist based in Los Angeles, CA. After receiving an MFA from Yale University (sculpture) in 2020, Shoemaker created Myco Myco, a mycology laboratory specializing in experimental mushroom cultivation, “mycomaterials” (renewable materials made from mushroom mycelium), and sculpture.

For this multifaceted operation, the artist has amassed a vast library of living fungi. This library includes several mushrooms native to Southern California, gourmet edible mushrooms, glowing bioluminescent fungi, rare specimens from Malaysia and Russia, and even poisonous species collected from the wild. Myco Myco actively pursues community engagement beyond traditional art contexts, leading inclusive cultivation workshops at botanical gardens and selling edible gourmet mushrooms at the Atwater Farmers Market. Shoemaker has led numerous mushroom cultivation workshops across Southern California, at venues including Vielmetter Gallery, Claremont Botanical Garden, Pitzer College, Pilgrim School, and Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery.

Sam Shoemaker’s sculptural work has been exhibited at venues including Lubov in New York, NY; the Armory Center for the Arts, Harkawik, Vielmetter, and OCHI in Los Angeles, CA; and the Kunstverein Letschebach and Espace Nalon, both in Germany. Shoemaker’s work and practice has been featured in publications including Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (CARLA), Artforum, Galerie Magazine, KCRW, KPFK, Graphite, and in various mycology publications worldwide. The artist has presented his interdisciplinary work at institutions including CalArts, Tree People, UCLA, California Botanical Garden, Parsons School of Design, Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery, Pitzer College, Ruckus Roots, Yale Sustainable Food Program, and Saddleback College.



© Sam Shoemaker

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