Turning the concept of an artist residency on its head by self-initiating long-term projects within the workplace, Sam Curtis addressed the financial dilemmas that face many artists. Sam mapped out his artist/fishmonger trajectory, from his beginnings at Harrods fish counter, up to his recent and on-going project the Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery.
During this talk, Sam also discussed ways of collective working and forming solidarity with people through some of the projects he has undertaken with Seymour Art Collective as well as with the Edgware Road Project, where he is currently an invited artist-in-residence.
Unwritten Handbook is a seasonal series of conversations with artists commissioned through Education and Projects at the Serpentine Galleries.
Sam Curtis is a London-based artist, curator and fishmonger. Coming from the ground-up, his projects and works evolve from lived experience of socioeconomic dilemmas. Recent work has revolved around answering the question: What does creative work look like? Through a diverse practice he seeks out ways individuals can retain their autonomy whilst negotiating a place within life’s systems and structures. Sam's personal investment in projects creates the conditions whereby solidarity and agency can form through collective working and shared experience. Sam runs the Centre for Innovative and Radical Fishmongery, an organisation that works to explore how fishmongery can intersect with art, individuals and society. He is a co-founder and a member of Seymour Art Collective (2009-present), a group of artists who are or have been homeless. He is also a curator at the Bethlem Gallery situated in the Bethlem Royal Hospital, working with artists with lived experience of mental illness to showcase their practice to a public audience. He graduated from Goldsmiths MFA programme in 2008 and is represented by Division of Labour gallery. His work has been selected for The London Open 2015 at The Whitechapel Gallery later this year.