City Kitty Collab: Lounging with Lunge Box
I have been following Lunge Box’s adventures on the street for a number of years now. We were finally introduced a few years back while at a Sticker Social Club event. I’m a pretty shy individual, especially around other street artists. I never want to intrude or blow someone’s cover, but I felt I needed to meet this guy because of the kinship with his work. We both hand paint a variety of strange characters that you can find wheat pasted around New York. Since our introduction; we have collaborated a handful of times, and mainly through trading pieces. It had been awhile and he’s been working on a few new things that sparked my curiosity.
For this installment I decided to switch it up and meet Lunge Box at his place in Williamsburg, while we caught up and worked on our new collab together. Stepping into Lunge Boxes’ place while it was bedtime for his three kids was a different experience, and felt a bit like looking into the future. He and his wife are two very sweet people and loving parents. After the kids were asleep we retreated to his studio corner of their apartment...
Collab with Lunge Box and Miishab, Manhattan '15 / Collab with Lunge Box and D7606 Brooklyn '16
City Kitty: How do you want to start? We can each start at one end then switch sides? I have no problem starting if that’s better. I rarely go into a drawing with an idea in mind.
Lunge Box: Sounds like a plan! My problem is that I start so much stuff. I will just put it down and move on if I'm frustrated.
CK: I never give up on a piece. I like the problem solving even if I don't like the finished drawing.
LB:I never throw anything out. Sometimes I will just put it down and salvage it later.
CK: The first thing I was drawn to with your work, is that you have a number of different characters.
LB: Well that's a point of pride for me. I love other artist’s characters. There are so many street artists that I love. Their characters are what got me into it. What I'm best known for are the chicken and the teeth. I will never stop drawing those characters, but I'm trying to push myself further into new territory. Drawing too much of the same thing can make you feel a little stale.
CK:I agree with that. There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself. Another aspect of your work with which I have always felt a kinship is that you do all your work by hand. For me It's both good and bad. You constantly grow by always drawing new work- but it’s hard to create enough. For instance on my walk here I saw a handful of great spots, and now I’m running low on pieces!
LB: I'm currently looking to step up how I get my work out on the streets. My evolution began with me going out at night when my kids where babies. As they got older, I would go out with the stroller with my pieces underneath. As they grew I would take them to playgrounds and put pieces up along the way. But now that they have started school and I'm left to my own devices. I can't let laziness creep in.
CK: So you would go out putting up work with your kids in a stroller? Does that attract a lot of attention? Or is it just enough chaos seeing someone going down the street with twins that nobody pays attention?
LB: The stroller for twins is pretty big. You can easily crouch behind it so it's not really an issue. On occasion I would have people look at me wondering what this fool is doing.
CK: Oh, what if you left this part here on the skull open? (referring to the collab)
LB:I was going to leave this top open for you. We will switch seats in a minute. Also whatever I draw if you want to draw on top, in or around it - I don't take any offense to that.
CK: Me neither. There's no rules here. The nice thing about handmade work is that you can see an artist’s progression and experimentation. I noticed you've been making a lot of black and white pieces lately, which is something I've never seen you do before.
LB: This summer was a pretty dark time. I ended up being misdiagnosed. I had Lyme disease, but they didn't diagnose me until my face was partially paralyzed. It was awful...a very hard and painful time. I was full on depressed and this series really helped me express that.
CK: That's crazy! My dad had the same thing happen a few years ago. It wasn’t until he was having symptoms of early on set Alzheimer's that they finally believed him and gave him the medication. He was in horrific pain. It’s interesting that you were able to express that through your art. Art can be very therapeutic.
CK: A big issue for a lot of street artists that make handmade work is the sense of attachment to their art. It was a big learning curve for me. I could spend a day or two working on a large drawing and have it disappear in a few hours after putting it up on the street. Does that get to you at all?
LB: I'm not saying it doesn't hurt . I want a piece to ride for a while, and I used to get really bummed about it. Some pieces are more personal than others. I find myself spending more time on stickers than I spend on pastes. When those started getting taken, I was upset... but my buddy Myth helped me come to terms with detaching yourself from the work. It’s all part of the game. Over time it just becomes a grind. I make a lot of work, I mean look around - I have so much here. Rather than having it sit around, I might as well just put it out there. With that being said, there is little difference to printing something or making something. If you got it on hand you might as well get it out there.
CK: So you are raising your kids in a house full of art. Did you grow up in a similar scenario?
LB: Sort of. I grew up in NYC. As a kid, my mom would take us every Tuesday to most of the museums around NYC when they would stay open late. But there are no other real artists in my family.
CK: Growing up, we would go see my grandparents once a year in FL. My grandparents grew up in NYC and met while going to Pratt. I would go visit them, and would be blown away by my grandfather’s paintings. They were always so encouraging, and every year I would be inspired by the new pieces I saw. Is it similar in your house here? Are your kids inspired and excited by the work you do?
LB: Pretty much. My oldest daughter is on track to becoming a way better artist than me! She's very dedicated to her practice, and she thinks of very creative and dark things. I can go creepy, but I don't do dark.
CK: Yeah I can do strange and creepy, but dark is hard for me. I like dark work, but I just can't do it.
CK: It’s great though. Getting your whole family involved will not only create longevity in your own practice, but it’s also a great outlet for teaching your children. I appreciate you giving me a glimpse into your world here. This has been a blast, and a different experience than if we did this at my place.
Lunge Box is a Brooklyn based street artist. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @Lungbox