L’amour came to my hometown of San Antonio, Texas in 2012 to do an event called Art Slam. He, along with a few other incredible street artists, was working on a mural and signing autographs. To my disappointment, I was greeted upon my arrival by a massive line leading to L’amour’s table. In my sad/pouty/shit face, I kicked the dirt a little and walked across the street to take a shot.
Soon after, all of the artists from the event walked in and started ordering drinks. We hung out the rest of the evening, discussing everything from art, movies, anime and the mural.
Today, Brooklyn-based L’amour is a pretty busy dude. He recently did some background visuals with Miley Cyrus’s tour, and often does pop-up murals to raise money and awareness for organizations that help fund art programs. He’s also appeared as a guest at ComiCon. Because so much time had passed since I last spoke to him, it was time to play catch-up.
Q: You have an incredible job that also consists of attending conventions. How do you feel about current conventions and how do you think they affect new graphic artists? They’ve always been great for artists looking to get inspired by what other artists are doing or just meet new people in general. As an artist you always need to be high profile whether you’re doing work that’s seen or being seen (physically) in general. People forget about you the moment you take a break so if you want that fame, you need to put yourself out there creatively and physically all the time.
Conventions are a great place to talk to new people and companies that you might want to work for or do something with. I remember my first SDCC, I came out not knowing anyone but just through skullbrain.org which was Super7’s message board. I talked to Brian Flynn at the booth and told him how he I really liked his company and he said he wanted to make a toy with me. I never met Brian before but we did occasionally talk through direct message and it was surprising they wanted to give me a shot especially considering I was a no name artist. I think this is important that companies still give artists a break; I mean, everyone is looking for a break, and Super 7 gave me one. Thus, the Mongo-Lion was created, which was my first Sofubi toy ever.
Also, attend all the industry parties at these conventions. You’ll be surprised how more open people are to talk business in this type of setting instead of the convention floor.
Q: As a comic artist in the past, how do you feel about the current comic industry for people who are trying to get their own graphic novels and art into the world? Do you think the market is better than ever, or more competitive? It’s a great time for indie comic artists. With great titles like Saga coming out, it’s really giving the indie guys way more shine. It’s definitely more competitive now, since everyone is showing their work. Talent or a strong concept is great but you really need to always be putting stuff out. With online comics becoming more popular, it’s way easier to get something out too. No more excuses. Make something: Otherwise you’re just a bystander fanboy.
Photo from 12ozprophet.com
Speaking of getting your art out there, you have been doing large scale murals for a long time now, do you feel that doing street art and murals are becoming more of a demand by business? if so does this take away from the foundation of doing street art? I think all companies are using street artists to get their brand out there. They’re also quite flaky. I wouldn’t rely on them to paint large scale murals. I mostly paint them for myself legally just because I don’t want to get arrested. I don’t think it takes anything away from the foundation of street art because street artists will always be painting long after these companies have lost interest in street art. Right now it’s providing a platform for them to get their name and work out there while getting paid.
Photo from brooklynstreetart.com
The last conversation that we had while you were in SA, I remember your being quite the anime fanatic. Are you watching anything now? If so do you have any recommendations? Right now there’s a great series on Hulu called Mushi-Shi. Really creepy and weird and probably taking a lot from traditional Japanese folk lore and mixing it with some fiction; had me hooked in the first couple of episodes.
I know that you are active in the art community and work on a lot of collaborations with new artist do you have any advice for our next generation artist entering the industry? I think I’ve mentioned it before but I can’t stress enough that artists need to constantly get their work out there to be seen. Always providing the viewer with a channel to see what you’re doing. Also just getting out of their comfort zones and talking to other artists they may look up to and pick their brain. You need to have a personality if you want to be a successful artist today, and I think building relationships is an express track there.