Hyype & LurkLovesYou: Write Way Artist Spotlight
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March 23rd, 2022

Below is an amended transcription of the spaces conversation from February 4th, 2022. Thank you to @LurkLovesYou for taking time to share perspectives, provide insight, and empower artists looking to create.

Anaroth:** **I would love to start with an introduction of you and your work. For those that may not know of you as an artist what has your journey been so far, and tell us a little about yourself?

LurLovesYou:** **No worries, my name is Russ Morland or Lurklovesyou. I got into art in the 80’s and my mom got me into art when I was 5. By the time I was 8 or 9 I was already designing dungeons and dragons style dungeon crawler games, and doing digital art on my commodore 64. I also started programming here as well, but realized pretty quickly I am not smart enough to program and should definitely stick with art. Perhaps not patient enough to program is more accurate, because back in the 80’s, it would take you all day to write code to make a dot go across a screen. I just didn’t have the patience for it, but I was really into art, and skateboarding, Warhammer, and Dungeons & Dragons. When you know that, and then you look at my artwork, that makes it very obvious where my vision came from. Just mixing all those worlds into one thing.

I studied art in College & University in the 90's. I did a year of Art & Design, two years of graphic design, and one year of fine art. In that there was photography, art history, typesets etc. Coming into the 2000’s I was already doing Art Shows in England, but moved to Canada in 2000 and started doing art shows there. Mainly working in the skateboard industry, doing skateboard graphics, shoes, t shirts, wheels.

I also started tattooing at this time, and tattooed for 18 years, just recently i pulled back from that. I have a studio and have artists in the studio with a gallery attached to it. I have done art shows all over the world, all the fun things that go along with art. I would describe myself as a psychedelic cartoonist, and I love waking up everyday!

Anaroth: As you progressed through your achievements, how is it that you saw your confidence grow? How did you feel more prepared to move to the next project?

LurkLovesYou: Schooling definitely helps train that confidence, but I think a lot of confidence comes from failure. I don’t mean this with any condescension, but I feel a lot of people are getting into this space and doing Art or Digital Art for the first time. Maybe you find yourself getting rejection by people not buying your NFTs and yes that can be tough, but try flying to another country for an Art Show and only having 20 people show up. Its those failures that didn’t knock me back, but gave me more confidence. That’s something I would put out to this community as well, don’t let things knock you back. There is someone out there that likes your artwork somewhere. At least you are not having to fly across the world, shipping a crate full of artwork, and then only having a few people show up. When you have these rejections, it’s ok. I have applied for more jobs than I have done. There is nothing wrong with those rejections, we need that in society. We have had a lot of participation medals in the last 10 years and I think that failures can teach you a lot of confidence. If you look at everything as a blessing you should be good ya know?

Anaroth: You spoke eloquently about how you build confidence from failure. And the ability to recognize benefits from failure.

LurkLovesYou: Yea, and not putting any hate into the space, like if you have a friend that is successful. If I am headed to LA to do an art show in a Tattoo Studio, but my buddy Johnny has a show at a prestigious gallery up the road, I am not jealous of Johnny. I am going to do my show and then run up the road to go to his and support him. You can’t see these things as failures, they are learning moments, if you truly want to do the art, then the art has to come first.

Anaroth: As you reflect on your career, how have you seen your art evolve?

LurkLovesYou: As a kid, you are just doing kid shit. You are doing tracing and just trying to figure things out. You get a little bit of confidence in the art from doing that. I remember trying to do Oil Paintings of Iron Maiden album covers, and just botching them up. But just trying to learn. I think how its changed a little bit, when I got to art school they had me doing a bit of everything. Still life live drawing, it creates an extremely good foundation. Even if you want to work in more abstract styles, it is still really good to have that foundation.

When I was introduced to different artistic movements in school, I was super into Picasso, this is about mid 90’s, super into Cubism. I thought I was the dude from the Doors crossed with Pablo Picasso and my shit didn’t stink. I was trying to be that rockstar artist in the 90’s, young kid ego stuff when you are 18. It’s ok to have a bit of an ego when you are young, you learn from that too, there is a grace in there as well. I got passed that obviously, got humbled a few times doing some art shows here and there. Meeting some artists that were actually good, and not just thinking there were good. Took all those moments as lessons and my art evolved from that.

I find that my art now is a really healthy mix from cubism, and from making dungeons and dragons characters when I was kid, painting Warhammer miniatures, all that stuff. It kind of gets to the point where I am at now, and I will still jump back into those older styles to have some fun with them. The evolution has just changed from experience. The more you just go through life just staying in the art world you are just going to have other things come onboard that give you different experiences that change how you do things.

Look at the iPad alone, thats pretty much changed how people do art, so sometimes the technical things that we use can completely change how we do art. I mean I didn’t do art at 4am in my bed before, ya know. I think about drawing with a mouse in the late 80’s versus what is capable now, sometimes the style just changes because of the equipment.

Anaroth: When you reflect on those different periods of your life as an artist, do you have a favorite?

LurkLovesYou: I think my early 20’s party days, just having some fun with my art, my art was a bit looser. The art shows were just a blast, and there was always a sea of people in there, getting drunk and crazy. I don’t drink now, I’ve been sober for 10 years, but I do miss those moments at times. I miss the moment of trying to figure out how to use mediums better, I did a lot of work with acrylic and canvas in that cartoonist cubist style. So I do miss that a little bit, but I have to say I am happy with where I am now. I get to wake up everyday and create my own world, thats pretty cool.

Anaroth: The eyes in a lot of your work stand out to me. Do they have a specific meaning to you?

**LurkLovesYou: **That actually came from cubism as well, what I did when I really started to get into Cubism as part of Art History and the program I was doing in graphic design at the time. I thought the best thing to do is if you are going to be the cool guy like Pablo Picasso, which by the way he was not a cool guy AT ALL, but if you want to be that rockstar artist I wanted to see where they got their influence. Picasso got a lot of influence from different tribal masks from Australia, and Africa. They found a lot of inspiration from how masks were carved and the eyes in those masks. I started doing a lot of research on them so I could base my images off of that. When I go back and look at old sketchbooks there is a lot of work that looks more like masks, my initial stuff is very straight on. As I got older, I saw my art start turning to the side more and becoming a little illustrative and more cartoony. But thats where the eyes came from.

Another theme that you will see in my work a lot is duality. You will see two mouths, or a mouth on a belly that might represent hunger. You will see a creature, but it looks like the creature is actually being worn by another creature. I found that in a lot of the First Nations art of the west coast of Canada had a lot of duality in their creatures and I took a lot of influence from that. I like the idea that we have more than duality in us. For the most part our fight or flight is our duality, we have that in us all the time. As much as it looks like cartoon silliness, there is definitely some simple symbolism in my art, and once you know it, you’re like oh yea I get that.

Anaroth:As an artist who are some of the people you have looked to in your career that have inspired you?

LurkLovesYou: Outside of the Cubism that we have spoke on so far there was this art movement in Germany call Kobra Artists I believe. They were really interested in drawing children as adults, just really loose and fun. Actually my homie WoodenCyclops, whether he knows it or not, he has some of that in his artwork and its one of the reasons I absolutely love it. It isn’t childlike, as in “oh you can’t draw” but just the way it is done and laid out has a whimsical nature. WoodenCyclops is probably one of my favorite artists, I tell him this all the time and he might be super embarrassed that I am doing this, but we are homies in real life and I just love everything he is doing.

I get inspired a lot more now by the vibes of friends rather than the art. I have a lot of homies in the room right now, that I consider friends at this point. I’m inspired by what they do, how they approach their creations, their projects. These days I am more inspired by community. Which I haven’t always gotten right myself, its hard to run a community and can be hard being part of one. But I am definitely inspired by the people in them.

Anaroth: Without getting too technical, we know Web3 is providing a lot of opportunity to artists. What advice would you have for people getting started in NFT or what do you wish you would have known prior to getting started?

LurkLovesYou: I wish I naively didn’t know that for the vast majority of collectors its more about the money than about the art. I am not trying to FUD anything, I don’t mean that negatively, thats never my play in life. I didn’t realize how much there is a certain aspect of the community that is just here to flip stuff. They don’t always care about the image itself. So as an artist coming in, that can be really frustrating. Unless you come from a commercial world like my homie HoodVanGoh who will absolutely agree that he is a capitalist, and likes to make money with art, and I am with him 100% to be honest, he is also just a brilliant person.

You have to understand, you can come in as the whimsical, fun, and light artist that just likes to have fun. But, if you are also trying to put the component of trying to make money as well, you may have a harder time. There is very much a business aspect to this now. I think when I first came into this space I wanted it to be this really cool community thing. The community is absolutely important, meeting people, treating people well, not getting walked on is also important. But there very much is an aspect of thinking about this as a business.

Coming in to this space there was the idea of I don’t want to work for “The Man” anymore. The funny thing is sometimes I feel like I work for him now more now than I did before. Yes the money is absolutely better, and we can never shy away from that. But I feel like I work for the man more now than I did before. I am not complaining about that, what I am saying is BE AWARE OF IT. Be aware of the angles to get in with bigger companies and always do it in the most genuine way you can. Thats the way I approach life, and I think its good way to do it. Just be aware of the beast we are dealing with. Now, you can be here and be under the radar and just be doing your thing. Maybe it’s not about money for you, and at times its like that for me too.

So if you are coming in, help build community, help onboard people, be genuinely encouraging to people, not just because you are going to get something from it. Be there for yourself, advocate for yourself a little bit. There are people out there they are going to take advantage of you and you have to be careful. For example someone approached me a while ago, and said hey this company wants to do a project with me and is offering me 10% on a 10,000 generative project. 10%?! Nah you should do 50–60%, without the artist there is no project. You have to be careful that people aren’t going to try and lowball you and promise all these other things. If you are a subcontracted worker I would say you should ask for 50% of the project. Thats another bit of advice for anyone as well.

**Anaroth: **Do you have a specific process that puts you in a place to create something?

LurkLovesYou: Nah man I wake up and draw. I am kind of like a robot with this stuff, I don’t need to be in a specific head space. I could be going down in a plane crash and get a text hey can you draw this “Yea man no worries”. I can blow peoples minds sometimes with how quickly I can create things for a project, not necessarily needing to find inspiration. With that being said though, there was probably a time where that wasn’t the case. Because I have been doing this for 28 years I have created my own world, I can always pull from my own universe. I may not be as excited to draw some things on certain days, but I don’t feel like I am in place where I need to go step away to gain inspiration. As much as I put my heart and soul into the process it’s very much robotic, but in a nice way.

Anaroth: Lastly, I wanted to give you an opportunity to share what you are working on, and whats coming up. Thank you again for taking the time to share your perspectives and insights with us.

Right now I have a project on polygon called ShroomFolk which is an art based project, thats all I wanted it to be and is about 50% minted so you can still get in on that. We are releasing artwork and Hood is working on some animation with me for it as well that will be released later this year. In between that we will be airdropping art to holders. I am also working on Mutant Ape Full Body PFP for the ApeDaoRemix. All of them look like fully rendered 1/1’s. They will be dropping them sometime later this month. Then I am doing a series of 10 landscapes and am working to figure out where I want to drop those, perhaps NiftyGateway to really be indicative of the time and attention I spent on these landscapes.

At the end of the year if everything goes as planned I am going to release a small PFP project. I wanted to do something with very simple color, and less detail. As an experiment I want to see how well my overly rendered 1/1s do compared to a 500 unit PFP project thats much simpler. I have noticed in this space that sometimes simpler is better. And I think that will be enough because thats a lot of things already.

Anaroth: Thank you again to Lurk for joining and sharing insight and inspiration. If you are an artist looking to share your work and experience reach out to @AnarothsNFT on twitter.

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