Lushsux is a muralist who’s gained traction for his viral, meme-inspired imagery across walls and buildings in Melbourne. Lushsux’s work has also been exhibited in the National Gallery of Victoria, despite often gaining the attention of celebrities and their lawyers in the case of Taylor Swift and Dick Wolf.
Grappling the internet by the horns, Lushsux’s work takes aim at the elements of pop culture other artists often neglect, drawing inspiration from YouTubers such as h3h3productions and PewDiePie and their associated controversies, in addition to more mainstream figures like Alex Jones, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange.
We caught up with the controversial muralist to have a refreshingly honest chat about his work and the world of street art.
Despite having over 175,000 Instagram followers, Lushsux keeps his street art largely anonymous, and isn’t concerned with political correctness.
HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about how you got started as an artist?
LUSHSUX: Just always been painting since I could walk, there are photos of myself naked in yellow pumps for some reason painting on one of those children’s easels from when I was two years old. Knowing my luck the photo is being passed around on the darknet by some pizzagater.
HAPPY: What’s inspired you or influenced your style the most?
LUSHSUX: The endless struggle not to work in a warehouse ever again.
HAPPY: What’s your working process like? Does it differ much between studio and street?
LUSHSUX: I hardly do any studio stuff, it’s frustrating but it does help to keep the lights on. Sometimes it even puts Gucci on my feet.
HAPPY: I saw you got a bit of a reaction recently in an article where a Melbourne father was not just offended by your Kanye West mural, but ‘scared’ — does that make the list for one of the biggest overreactions to your work?
LUSHSUX: I think one complaint isn’t too bad considering how many people have enjoyed the wall in question. The biggest overreactions include trying to stab or hurt me with some kind of weapon. Kinda sad.
HAPPY: What makes you pick a particular subject to be depicted on a wall?
LUSHSUX: Lately I like memes and viral imagery. It’s too base for other artists, hopefully no one else catches on.
HAPPY: Would you consider yourself a political artist?
LUSHSUX: I now consider myself a meme artist and at worst a “street artist” since now it’s uncool to be one.
HAPPY: Eric Andre joined the legions of folks getting their ass out for one of your booty murals. What are some other examples of notable figures getting involved or supporting your artwork that you didn’t (or perhaps did) expect?
LUSHSUX: Eric Andre is a really funny guy with a big black cock and as for the others I don’t kiss and tell. Oh wait what?
HAPPY: On that note, Taylor Swift’s lawyer contacted you about an unauthorised mural of the pop-star. Your response, covering it up with Spongebob’s caveman face and dedicating it to Harambe (dicks out, RIP) was pretty hilarious. Meanwhile, Dick Wolf posed laughing next to a photo of a mural dedicated to him. Do you land yourself in legal hot water often? What’s your usual route when someone reacts badly?
LUSHSUX: Try keep everything in a grey area and do as The Circle Jerks preached, deny everything.
HAPPY: How do you think emerging artists can or should gain exposure? What’s worked for you?
LUSHSUX: I’m not trying to create more competition. It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain cell what works.
HAPPY: You’ve exhibited your work at the National Gallery of Victoria. Is that a bit of a surreal transition from street-art, or just another part of the journey?
LUSHSUX: It helps to hock my shit art to people who I’m sure hope I die as soon as possible so they can resell it.
HAPPY: What’s been your experience in pursuing art without going broke?
LUSHSUX: Low level petty criminal activity, cash in hand only, Centrelink and travel. But I don’t need to do any of it now.
HAPPY: What do you want to see more of in local art, or art in Australia?
LUSHSUX: Less commie shit. We get it you’re some kind of humanitarian or you want to uplift women or paint oppressed people when you fuckin’ grew up in a super nice middle class family or whatever scam you’re trying to pull just to hock shit art like the rest of us. It’s getting a bit tired.
HAPPY: Favourite memes going around right now?
LUSHSUX: I enjoy the offensive stuff that 12 year old minecraft players can whip up the most.
HAPPY: What’s going ‘too far’ mean for you? Perhaps the Salt Bae tattoo?
LUSHSUX: I think too far is anything that physically hurts someone. A cock and balls spray painted on a wall is not the same as one shoved up your arse without permission.
HAPPY: Did you end up selling a bag of your pubic hair for $150 yet?
LUSHSUX: Waiting for the right sucker.