May 5 2021
Approach Everything With Empathy with Russell Morland aka Lurk (@lurklovesyou)
In this mid-week episode, I (Rhys) chat with artist Russ Morland, who goes by the name, Lurk (@lurklovesyou on Instagram) — all of Russ' links can be found here. Russ is based on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada, and with his art, he creates weird worlds and inhabits them with strange creatures. His work is trippy, psychedelic, fun and vibrant.Russ draws inspiration from the worlds of lowbrow, street art, skateboarding, and board games, and throughout his career, his work has been featured on shoes, guitar pedals, underwear, skateboards, card games and a whole load more, for prominent clients including Mastodon, Britney Spears, Santa Cruz Skateboards, Etnies Shoes, and RedBull. In this conversation we talk about Russ’ tough upbringing in the north of England and how he found his way to creating art from a young age, feeling like a bit of a “weird, loner kid”, as he puts it in his own words.We talk about his early influences and how he developed the vivid, strange and unique style that his work is synonymous with today.We also talk about a mural that Russ was commissioned to create by the city of Nanaimo in Vancouver, as part of the Hub City Walls Project.Russ was chosen by the project to inject a bit of fun and colour onto a grey wall in an area of the city that would benefit from having such a cool, interesting piece of art painted onto one of its walls.The city approved his proposed piece and he got to work on creating the mural, which took about 10 days to finish.After its completion, the mural attracted some negative social media attention, with a small number of people who misinterpreted and misconstrued the work, deeming it to be “inappropriate”.This then sparked an online conversation about art in public spaces, with many people — including the project and city — jumping in to praise the piece, as well as defending their right to have it there in the first place.This was a difficult and entirely unexpected thing for Russ to navigate, especially as the intention behind the piece was never to offend or be provocative, quite the opposite, it was meant to be fun, vibrant and interesting. Something that could breathe a bit of life back into the surrounding community.Thematically, we also talk:The lowbrow art movement, British/Canadian cultural differences, music, developing as an artist, being a father, sobriety, self-awareness and reflection, anxiety, the NFT art world and therapy.I’m a huge fan of Russ’ art and after having spoken to him back and forth in DMs a fair bit, I knew we were going to instantly click when in conversation, so hopefully that came across.Hope you enjoy our chat!