Bay area artist Lily Black has lived more lives than your average. Although Lily refrains from calling himself an “artist”, he certainly has been creating things for profit for a long time. From selling props to costume stores at the young age of 12, to making record art for heavy metal bands like Autopsy, assembling H&R Block offices, doing graphic design, and being a slave for Sony, Lily would preferably do just about anything if he can do it with his hands, especially if it involves a paint brush or a pencil. Growing up in the East Bay and eventually transplanting into living in the downtown area of San Francisco from the burbs, Lily soon became familiar with the environment around him and thrived off it’s sometimes bleak existence and thus it became a type of fuel to inspire a portion of his creative process.
Purchase prints from the show through this link or find out more about Lily Black’s work in our interview below:
1AM: Did you start out drawing?
LB: My Art history background is art brut or outsider art which is the 3 C’s – children, criminals, crazies, so I’m self taught, pretty much anyone who hasn’t received formal art training. But oh yeah, you kind of have to. My father moved his office and bought way too much stationery and there were boxes and boxes of unused stationery for free and when I was growing up, any amount of trouble or restriction I was in did not include art supplies. It was like food, water, clothing, art supplies. And drawing is the lingua franca of the arts. If you can’t draw you’re going to have a hard time. Basically, I can teach a dog how to draw but I cannot teach a dog how to stop drawing.
1AM: How did this current body of work all start? What was it’s inspiration?
LB: The long Moleskine Japanese notebook is 5 inches by 3.75 inches and all the pages hold pout into one long page. I made it for a girl, which is a really good way to do stuff. It’s in the paradigm of art that is in the realm you’d have to call obsessive creepy stalker art. But we were already dating so it’s slightly different. So it’s more dating creepy stalker art. Some of the content in there include her name and date and ~love~ But we both like urban decay and in America it’s called Detroit and in Japan it’s called Haikyo which means melancholic and beautiful ruins. So I have industrial sites, love hotels which have been abandoned and open to the elements of animals, Haikyo Japanese culture in general is subtly tucked in there. We also both like science fiction a lot so I made a world that we both would like and enjoy. Making a world where there is atmosphere, architecture and population and which in this case is zero, and an aesthetic to convey this is warm grey scales which makes it appear to go beyond the edge. That’s what turns me on and that’s what I wanted to portray.
1AM: Essentially it’s like a visual love letter..
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