Artist Interview: 7/13/2008  

GrandLarsen : Portrait of a Stencil Artist

San Diego stencil artist, GrandLarsen had us over to take in the sunset from his South Park porch. A couple beers and a discussion about artistic influences and inspirations followed.

Photo by Carly Ealey

Sezio: What is your day job?  

GrandLarsen: I am a T-shirt artist at Mad Engine. I design T-shirts for a lot of different licenses like; Marvel Comics, Ocean Pacific, Burger King, Reebok, Universal Studios... and the list goes on. It’s pretty all over the place really, which is cool. It keeps me on my toes and helps me to become more versatile as an artist.

A Work in Progress - Photo by Carly Ealey

SZ: Why do you make art?

GL: I think sometimes, I make art simply to ward off the demons of boredom and restlessness. My mother was always good about finding creative projects for us to do together when I was young. Potato stamps, Marbelizing paper, etc. While she was never really an artistic type of person, she introduced me to art and creativity at a early age and that has stuck with me ever since.

SZ: What is your goal, if any, with your art? To learn? To spread a message? To decorate? To spend time?

GL: All of the above. At first, when I was young, it was just something to do, decorative by default. Since then, it has evolved into an incredible learning experience just by experimenting within my own process. Nearly every time I make a new piece, I try to do something that I’ve never done before, and keep a “What if” frame of mind. Now that I’m designing T-shirts, art has become a way for me to communicate my thoughts, ideas and feelings to myself and to the rest of the world.

Judy's Kiss

SZ: When did you first get into stencil-work?

GL: I started using stencils sometime in 2000, after working as a screen printer, printing decks for a pretty big skateboard company at the time. I wanted to put my own graphics on my personal skateboard but couldn’t afford to buy or make a bonified printing press, so I started cutting my “screens” out of paper or cardboard. At the time I had no idea that other people had been doing this kind of thing. I just took what I knew from screen printing and went at it from there.

SZ: Who are some of your creative influences?

GL: First and foremost I have to say Shepard Fairey is my all time favorite, for his dedication and tenacity making art that can not be ignored, and for taking graffiti to a whole new level. Logan Hicks, THE best stencil artist ever, with his amazing photo realistic cityscapes. And last but certainly not least, Banksy for his extremely clever humor and social commentary, with a hint of punk flavor.

GrandLarsen - Photo by Carly Ealey

SZ: What is the last book you read?  

GL: It was either Supply & Demand, The art of Shepard Fairey or Ma’Claim, Finest Photorealistic Graffiti.

SZ: Ever been to Legoland?

GL: Nope. 

GrandLarsen's stencil demo will be in a news item in the near future. Check out the photo gallery for more of his work, and other pictures from our hang out.

Tags: interview, Art, GrandLarsen, Stencil

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