Here at Chrome City, we pride ourselves in having ultra-creative and inspiring homies throughout the Chicago area. Each week, the Chrome Chronicle (our news outlet) will share a little bit about these incredible people and why we are excited to feature them as our #ChromeHomie.
Let us introduce our Homie, Lefty.
Q: Explain your job position.
A: I'm a self-employed artist and do everything that goes along with being self employed. Painting began 5 years ago as a hobby and within 2 years became my full time job. With my studio based in the West Loop, my career has expanded from street art into fine-art, murals, installations, textiles, video, and designed objects. With brand collaborations and activations, my career expands everyday into whatever world or place I happen to be in and that’s why I love it. One day I’m carving wood boxes and the next scaling a gigantic wall painting a mural.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: I try to maintain a very optimistic mindset and take on any obstacle. If I don’t know how to do a task, I call a friend and learn. This happens often because I like to try something new with each project. I find my process very fulfilling because as a creator nothing is better than seeing an idea come to life, especially one you didn’t think was possible. I was raised in a very foreign household with hard working parents, and this sort of upbringing has trained me to stay focused and get the job done no matter what it takes.
At first everything I created was analog and I still keep this in my practice as much as possible today, but things increasingly become digitally integrated. With so many different technologies coming out I am constantly finding new ways I can integrate technology and art. When I was creating analog I had more chances to take liberties on the spot but as digital integration continues it becomes less about free expression and more about controlled preconceived work. Although the new approach might not allow for as much spontaneity, being derivative with my decisions has allowed for a lot less waste and greater creative accomplishments.
Q: What inspires and motivates you?
A: From an early age I always found the nature of imagination to be fascinating. I had an affinity to cartoons as most kids do, but it has stayed with me and is now a guilty pleasure for me. It was these early influences that led me to really like abstract art. I can respect realist art for it’s technique and execution, but the same and more can be said for something abstract or made up.
I specifically love patterns because what they do to the eye. I am extremely inspired by other artists past and present, including Felipe Pantone, Retna, Jean Dubuffet, Roy Lichtenstein, and Chicago’s own Jim Nutt. Each of them inspire me for different reasons and that could be a whole other story on its own.
Everyday in creation I am motivated by past creators, and I challenge myself to produce higher quality work. I’m always trying to push myself to make what at that moment is usually the most advanced thing I have personally made. The audience is also a huge part of the craft and what motivates me. Affecting the way people think and how they feel is the ultimate goal in hopes that it makes the spectator feel how you feel.
Q: How did you end up in Chicago? And what is your favorite part about living here?
A: I grew up in Arlington Heights, and came to Chicago for college 7 years ago. I enjoy the pace of Chicago over other cities. People work fast here and that is why I love it. I also love LA and try to go there as much as I can, but the slow paced life can start to drive me crazy.
Q: What materials do you use and why?
A: Coming from a street-art influenced background is definitely a huge factor in the materials used to create work. The goal for my art is to present a very high contrast aesthetic so I look for material that will give me a definitive line. Spray Paint comes into play often because its ability to cover a lot of ground quickly and efficiently. Recently I have insisted on using acrylic glass or wood over canvas because of the rigid and finite quality it brings to the work. Being an artist that works in so many mediums it is more effective to know a little about a lot over the opposite. If you want to be a working artist today it takes flexibility.
Q: What music do you listen to while you paint?
A: Very loud House Music. Lee Foss, Golf Clap, Cuff, Shiba San, Claude Von Stroke, Joseph Capriati, and Jamie Jones to name a few.
Thanks for being a Homie, Lefty!