Samuel Hatmaker grew up in rural Michigan. He spent two decades in New York City designing toys for DC, Disney, Hasbro, Marvel, Mattel, Nickelodeon, and other leading brands. Today he lives in Los Angeles with his plush pig prosciutto.
Sam continues to create custom action figures, costumes, dolls, props, set pieces, and sculptures. He was a finalist on the first season of LEGO Masters, a reality show on Fox. His LEGO creations have been exhibited around the world, most recently at Art Basel in Miami.
'The Bricks I’ve Played With'
As a child of the 80s, growing up in a small Midwest town, I had to invent my own erotica. Depictions of naked men were like unicorns, mysteriously alluring yet impossible to find. With the tools around me, I created outlets for my sexuality and longing: I drew comics with aroused men; I added Silly Putty penises to GI Joe and Ken dolls; I built LEGO robots with giant brick cocks.
In the digital age, “dick pics” are ubiquitous. Men use hi-resolution close-ups of their genitals as greetings and profile photos, whether we like it or not. These exposures are today’s currency of (gay) male desire.
In this collection, I’m merging two realities: the pure play of my burgeoning sexuality and the crass close-ups meant to spark—and obscure—longing. LEGO is the perfect bridge, reflecting both a simple toy’s call to imagination and the pixelated form through which we detail the world online. From youth to adulthood, from rarity to saturation, from shame to pride, from analog to digital, from past to present, from toy to art… these pieces reflect a journey.
Currently Exhibiting at Gallery@Circus East - 8230 Santa Monica Blvd