Collector Interview: Sam Sampersand on "Higher Power," Graffiti and Banksy

As a long-time collector on NeonMob, we knew we needed to chat with Sam Sampersand next. A designer based in Belgium, Sam relates to the NeonMob artists and finds that some have a "higher power" that he seeks to obtain for himself. From graffiti to logos, Sam looks to find himself and others in the outputs of artist work. We was kind enough to chat us through it!

Sam, you're pretty active on NeonMob and on NeonMobsters. How did you get into it?

I've been a member of NeonMob since beta. I was invited to join by a friend about a year and a half ago, and after about a week of poking around on NeonMob, I was completely addicted! I, myself, am a graphic designer and studied game design, so NeonMob embodies a huge part of what I do.

Ah, it's very cool that as a collector, you are also an artist! Tell us about your design work.

I'm a graphic and web designer at King George, a content and PR agency based in Belgium, by day and freelancer by night. 

I hope to one day have an agency of my own. In my day job, I work with a lot of large brands, and it's a huge struggle to see what they want. Most large brands have a pre-existing and historical identity, and there is not as much room for creativity. So, for my own agency, I want to work with small startups and local businesses to create their logo and identity including stickers that they can put in their windows and on their walls. Small clients are more interesting because I can actually get involved in creating their identity from scratch. I can put more of myself into small clients. 

Tell us about collecting, pre-NoenMob.

I've been collecting for a long time. I collect mostly designer toys, actually, from street artists such as Kaws all the way up to Banksy. I also used to be a graffiti artist when I was younger, so I love it when street artists move into other mediums. What's so interesting is that collecting these designer toys is so much like collecting on NeonMob, but it's offline. For example, there are limited edition toys, just as with NeonMob collections. Designer toys are much more expensive though, and can be up to $5,000 or more per piece. 

NeonMob is the first time I've collected something non-physical. As I collect on NeonMob, I'm inspired to create new work for myself and seek out work from other artists. For example, the recent "Jungleton" collection inspired me finish my collection of "The Estate." Artists like Mostacho and Marijia Tiurina have a "higher power" of sorts. Their collections have deep personality and complex concepts. I love these sets. 

"Silly Pink Bunny" by Jeremy Fish from Sam's collection

"Silly Pink Bunny" by Jeremy Fish from Sam's collection

How did you move from being a graffiti artist to a designer?

Ha, that was never part of the plan! I always wanted to illustrate and design characters for games in infracted environments. I did my university thesis on the graphic possibilities in indie games which really interested me, because small companies put so much of themselves as people into character identities. I researched that, along with hack communities. Mostly, I just wanted to understand how people put part of themselves into a product. That's what I want to do, too. 

Trade with Sam on NeonMob here.