IPaintMyMind Exclusive Interview – Kevin Lucius
Kevin Lucius lives creatively. It seems as though regardless of the method, he’s finding ways to conjure and design, be it artwork or websites. We first saw his work at the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago last summer, and immediately wanted his wood block prints on our walls. It’s pop art, but it’s quizzical, not to mention the fact that putting an animal head on a human body never disappoints. The personality is funky and humorous, and Kevin’s ability to make punchy and relatable images is a reminder not to take things so seriously all the time. It’s concise and colorful, and we’re down.
IPMM: Glad we were able to get this done brother! It’s been a while since we first found your work at the Renegade Craft Fair this past summer… how’d that event treat ya?
KL: Renegade is an awesome show. It’s probably the best one I’ve ever participated in. It’s very interesting to see the pieces that the crowds are drawn to, because it changes from event to event. At Renegade it seems people are more open to the unique, “out-there” designs, which is great. I’m hoping to do the fair again this coming summer, its a great time.
IPMM: You live and work in Chicago now, where are you from originally? What brought you to the Windy City?
KL: I’m originally from a small town in northwest Ohio named Tiffin. I then went to Bowling Green State University where I studied design and marketing. After college I moved down to Columbus for five years and worked a couple of design related jobs. I then got hired by a company that just happened to have an office in Chicago. I had an opportunity to move, so I did. My wife and I got married, came back from our honeymoon and moved 2 weeks later. It was a crazy couple of months.
IPMM: Wild! well, welcome! You dabble man: art, design, web development, anything else? Don’t tell us you can cook too…
KL: I’m not much of a cook but my wife is. We actually cook a couple times a week which has been great because we both love to eat. I just love anything related to art and design and try to surround myself with it. It’s what I enjoy doing and doesn’t seem like work to me.
IPMM: We really enjoy the way your artwork combines earthy colors, a concise, design-minded approach, and the collage vibe that brings it all together. How do you tend to describe it?
KL: I’m not really sure how I would describe it. I think it definitely has a vintage, earthy feel and sometimes has a bit of humor to it. I think I’m just drawn to old things, as strange as that may sound. An old piece of paper, a t-shirt from the 70s, a weathered piece of wood, an old photo… They just seem so real and have a sense of history. Everything these days is so in your face and flashy, but I prefer to live in my own world where the colors are muted and everything is much more chill.
IPMM: How do you create these images?
KL: Everything is done in Photoshop and Illustrator. I often times will use bits and pieces of old photos and then just start playing with different patterns and textures until the piece feels right. 90% of the time I already have an idea of what I want to make. It’s just a matter of finding it and bringing it to life. Sometimes a piece will come together very quickly and other times it takes a long time. At times I’ll stumble upon a half-finished piece, and after seeing it in a different light, I’m able to finish it.
IPMM: You offer art prints as well as wood block prints in your Etsy Store. The wood blocks are awesome, they add a substantial depth factor to the presentation of the piece. are you printing these various pieces?
KL: I just wanted to offer my work in a different way. Nothing against any other artists out there, it just seems like everyone offers prints of their work. I wanted to do something a little more unique and do something more tangible. I also think there is something about the stained wood that compliments my style of work. It sort of works with the vintage / earthy feel of everything. It took me a few months of testing different products and processes until I was able to perfect the block making. The wood blocks are Birch and are stained with an eco-friendly mahogany finish. I then attach an archival print and seal over top of it with a clear varnish which protects the print and fuses the whole thing together.
IPMM: Awesome. Got any exhibitions going on or coming up?
KL: I’m going to be doing several art festivals this summer which is always a lot of fun. I’m still working on the schedule of everything but will more than likely be doing Andersonville Midsommarfest, Do-Divsion, Bucktown Arts Fest, and Renegade.
IPMM: How did you arrive at your current aesthetic? We’re always interested in the process of creatives finding their voice, or angle…
KL: I had a design teacher in school that always said that he had never had an original idea in his life. Everything that he has ever thought and done is just a culmination of everything he’s ever experienced. I think that’s true. All of us are influenced by everything around us and often times don’t even realize it. I think artists of all types (Painters, Designers, musicians etc.) are inspired and influenced by the artists they like. When you really appreciate the style of a certain artist its hard not to be drawn to that. I think it just takes time and experience to develop your own style. As you grow, your own unique way of doing things naturally comes out more and more.
IPMM: Well said, man. If you would, please name an artist and/or musician IPMM readers should google right now.