A few weeks ago FreeWay Editions had the opportunity to go and hang out with street artist BumblebeeLovesYou in his LA studio. We took a tour of his place and sat down to watch him work and chat about his life, art, and latest projects. Here is what he had to say:
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into street art?
“I am from Downey, CA. In between LA and Long Beach. I started making art beecause there was always a lack of creativity where I grew up, there was nothing like art education (that I was aware of). It was more like arts and crafts education. I had no idea there were such things as local galleries or museums, just what I saw on TV. So without art in my life I think I went to the streets as a form of rebellion, a way so to get attention. I just needed an outlet to express myself.”
How old were you when you started making street art? And how did that process happen?
“I was always making art as a kid, but school, girls, friends, life etc… kind of got in the way, and after a while I just forgot about art all together. I started making street art 8 years ago, after I moved out of my parents house (cause they would’ve killed me #overprotective. People thought I was nuts, I thought I was nuts too. There’s this drive that I can’t seem to explain in words, so I hope it can bee seen in my work."
Tell us about the first piece of street art you ever did?
“One of the first crazy pieces I did wasn’t even under Bumblebee, (there’s a whole body of work no one’s ever seen cause it’s too embarrassing lol). I was doing political street art at the time (which is super lame to me now #btw#idc#notfeelinit#teenageangst) and I was on this billboard across the street from the old ‘pic n save’ in Downey. It was this giant 10ft. baby picture of me actually #lolomgdeletethis I was done and my #bff#nohomo was getting down from the ladder and the cops rolled up. We got handcuffed and laid out but they ended up letting us go because they knew out parents somehow #lolwth. I’m pretty sure that’s when I decided I needed to get out of this town and move to LA. #townwastoosmall
Can you tell us about the kids that you use in your work? Are they specific people or do they represent something specific?
“The kids represent me as a kid, but maybe not so much solely me, but where I grew up and the youth of my hometown. They are curious with big egos, they #dgaf. They have this, kind of ‘Dennis the Menace’ vibe going on. There’s always a double meaning and a punch line that sometimes people don’t get, but they feel the innocence behind the body language the children possess. We were all kids once. (Prob still am). The striped shirt is synonymous with the name and the bees in general represent life within the colony, also fear, innocence and unity in nature. It all comes together. It’s hard to put into words so that’s why I make these images.”
Tell us about the book that you just released.
“The book is titled #bumbmlebeelovesyou, it’s basically a hardcover zine. It’s most of the official photos (with locations) of the murals I have done in the LA. It’s a really cool documentation of the big projects I have done the past few years. I made it for myself and some friends then I decided to make it for everyone since there’s a bunch of people always asking, ‘hey, where is that? , hey where is that?’ hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that? hey, where is that?. The first release was through a charity called “Together We Rise” with the help of “WeBrand.com” they help homeless youth so it all comes full circle.”
Talk a bit about the mural you’ve been working on with KETS aka Mikael B.
“I meet him randomly at an art show I was in at #CHG and was like who is this this pretty boy from Denmark. He gave me his card and I looked him up and I was blown away! He’s an amazing, the #illest, #kleenest #graffiti artist, he has incredible style, it’s so clean! Everything I wanted to do in high school but couldn’t, #lolwtfthisguy @mikaelbrandrup
There were abandoned train tracks in front of this wall I had been sitting on for a while so I knew the image had to have something to do with a train obv. I met Mikael B. and knew it was going to be a collaboration to combine street art and graffiti. The more we thought about it the more we realized it’s more a statement/comment on the graffiti world/street art world about how we all got invited to this crazy party together and might as well have fun and work together, cause at the end of the day if you’re not having fun then what’s the point of making art. #srsly#nojoke”
You do different types of art beside street art. Do you have a favorite medium and how did that start?
“I think its important for an artist to try EVERYTHING and see what you’re good at and see what works and doesn’t work and what happens when you simply, ‘create’. When I was a kid I used to make model cars, toys, trains and planes, legos, everything.
The phone booth thing…empty phone booths was a clear path of new technology coming in and I knew the old analog days were over and it’s weird how we grew up in this transition, so strange that you don’t even notice until you disassociate yourself. So when I realized that’s what was happening I went out and bought this form that was shaped like a beehive and started cloning it. It was just supposed to be a one-time thing for fun and then I got hooked. It was a build up, I just got better and better at it and then I started to sell them.”
Thanks BumblebeeLovesYou for hanging out! Always a good time!
Happy Halloween Everyone!