The Intersection of Art and Mass Marketing: An Interview with Chance Lucy
Every day there is a deluge of images and logos—on our phones, on highway billboards, on household products and disposable fast-food cups. Some logos clearly function as corporate advertisements: the shimmering, sweet circle on a can of Pepsi or the iconic and sleek apple on the back of iPhones. Then there are brands that seek to blur the line between art and advertisement: high-end luxury brand logos like the artistic calligraphy of Gucci and the Louis Vuitton print and street brands like Bape and Supreme that frequently collaborate with artists.
Artists, like Andy Warhol, have explored the chasm between art and advertisement (meaning and function) by reproducing the banal corporate images and placing them in a new context: the gallery and eventually, the museum.
Chance Lucy is an artist clearly operating in the artistic lineage of those like Warhol that made art and advertisement indistinguishable. But Chance is working in modernity with an entirely different landscape of images to choose from, as well as a new contemporary marketing world. He reproduces and imitates Hello Kitty and Barbie artwork, fast food logos like Mcdonald’s and Carl’s Jr. and classic imagery like Coca-Cola and Arm & Hammer.
Chance divorces these images and logos from their marketing function and simply displays them as they are (with the occasional artistic alteration). His work is important for de-contextualizing, or rather re-contextualizing, these logos and urging us to see them (or see the unseen within them) in an entirely different way.
Q: How did you get into art?
A: I just started painting one day. I was just bored. So, I just picked up a paintbrush and I guess the rest is history. I think I drew a lot of Mickey Mouse as a kid—I really liked Mickey Mouse and the way he looked. It really started with photography though. I did that before painting. I did that for years—since I was about 15.
Q: A lot of your work is memetic replications of corporate logos—why do you choose these as your subject?
A: I just see them all the time and I like the way they look. You see them all the time so it kind of sticks in my brain. They're very well made. They’re symmetrical, and just really pleasing to the eye.
Q: What is your process? How do you choose the logos you work with?
A: I would say I mostly just see an advertisement that I like and sometimes I'll take exactly that or I'll mix it up a little bit. But you know, just seeing an image that kind of is appealing to me and working with it.
Q: Tell me about your newest piece with the Dole banana.
A: I just found the objects and I wanted to make it. I thought it would be something different. Not a lot of people have seen something like it. And I really like inflatables. I think they're almost like living in a way. The found piece, the inflatable, came first and then I decided I would like to put a crate underneath it. So, I just went to my local grocery store and asked for one. It's something that already existed in the real world, the inflatable is from 2005. It's just an advertising inflatable. I guess what it’s called is ready made — it's just taking two objects and making them into art.
Q: Do you have plans to do more found art in the future?
A: I mostly just come across things, and I think that's where I figure out what I wanna do with them. I found an old tomato crate from 1880. I'm thinking about getting it and using that for something.
Q: Your work seems to operate in this grey area of art somewhere between outright endorsement/ marketing and commentary-art—where do you see it fall? Is this a kind of Warholian thing?
A: I guess you could say it's just an outright copy. Yeah, I just find them very appealing and I'll find a photo and take from that. Warhol all is one of the biggest influences of mine, so I definitely pull from that. I love consumer culture. It's one of my favorite things. I just love how if you place a logo on something people will buy it. Hello Kitty does that a lot. There’s random stuff and they place Hello Kitty on it and people will buy it. No matter what. She's one of my favorite characters, the Kitty from Hello Kitty. I think it can be a little scary sometimes because people just brainlessly buy the product for what it is rather than actually supporting the good itself.
Q: So, your art is a copy, but at the same time it’s different because it's your own art, right?
A: Sort of. I want to hopefully one day do something for a company. I think that would be the ultimate goal. Doing a mural for them or something like that.
Q: Would you be interested in taking your art and actually working in marketing for one of these companies or something like that?
A: I wouldn't actually work in marketing. I think that would be kind of hell. Yeah, I can't sit down in an office all day. I would lose my mind.
Q: I seen on your page a lot of the Carls Jr. Star and some Mcdonalds logo. How do you feel about their food?
A: Yeah, I do like their food. There are times when I'm making a piece and I will actually go and get the food just cause.
Q: I saw that you worked with Asspizza, how did that happen and what did you do with him?
A: It was fun. I did a [Carls Jr.] star for him and he flew me out to his LA studio not that long ago and I painted that as well. He's a good guy. I did the murals in his studio. I think I painted like 5 different colored ones.
Q: Do you have any plans for the future? Anything coming up?
A: I’m planning on doing a show in a couple years, I'm just trying to get all the works done for that cause it's a pretty big gallery show. They said that I for sure have a spot in February of 2024. It's in my local town, Spokane. It's called terrain. Also, I'm currently working on a series of LSD blotter designs from the 80's; they are all really great designs. Some I'm reworking and some I'm keeping the same as they were originally produced back then. The ones of Mikhail Gorbachev are really fun. I get to paint like Warhol for the day. I make photobooks too. My first photobook was called “Groceries”. It’s all about groceries and shows the mass production inside grocery stores and products from different cultures. All shot on a 35mm film camera from the 80’s. I’m working on one now about flowers, not sure what I’m going to call that one though.