Interview with THE LOST CAUSE

(The following is a conversation between Asker and The Lost Cause.)

(Photo Credit: PSSA)

The Lost Cause, a.k.a “T-L-C”, started as a graffiti writer and consistently built up a body of work transitioning into characters, stickers and technicolor murals. Noted is his “Winston the Whale” character, who appears in multiple variations on stickers, t-shirts and the naughty list of local street sign scrapers. Recently, TLC’s work has taken an interesting turn as his characters have become more ornate and complex, appearing in cities across continents.

I first met The Lost Cause in a small paint jam in Portland. He had an immediate enthusiasm and an infectious sense of humor. We had been talking for a while about doing an interview and it finally happened when he started working on a project outside the house I was staying at that day. After a surprise wake up call (TLC turning on all the lights to the basement) I stumbled outside into the summer heat of 2014 and hit the record button.

Asker: This is Asker 3 Dots the Third, sitting here with The Lost Cause. I’m looking for something to eat, I’m pretty hungry, TLC woke me up at 11:11.

TLC: Good morning.

Asker: Now we’re sitting here, TLC’s painting a car.

TLC: I hate it, it’s covered with spiders.

Do you have arachnophobia?

Asker: No, actually I like spiders I think their great.

Wait, are you eating something?

TLC: Yeah, I’m eating a tuna sandwich.

(Photo Credit: TLC)

Asker: Can I try some?

TLC: You want this other half?

Asker: I’ll just eat a bite. (chews sandwich, starts coughing)

TLC: (Laughs)… what’s wrong with it?

Asker: This is gross, I want some waffles.

So, how long you been working on this style? I feel like the stuff you’ve been working on now is different than the original work you were doing on the streets. There’s more patterns, there’s more of a resonance.

TLC: What does that mean, resonance?

Asker: Resonance is like…

TLC: I have a limited vocabulary.

Asker: Sometimes I make up words, sometimes I use words and then I’m like “wait, is that the right use of this word…”

TLC: I used to use the phrase “affirmative action” because I thought it just meant to do something.

Asker: That’s like when you’re a minority and they put you into school because they’re trying to fit a quota.

TLC: Right I learned that afterward. But before I just thought affirmative action meant “we need to do this”, so I would be hanging out with friends and I’d say “we need to take affirmative action!”

Asker: (laughs)

I’m gonna start saying that.

TLC: Don’t, it’s risky business

Asker: So what projects are you looking forward to lately?

TLC: Forest For the Trees.

Asker: What’s going on with that?

TLC: A bunch of people coming into town and painting walls. Get to hang out with NoseGo and Curiot. Get to meet all these people, I’m stoked.

Asker: Have you painted for other mural festivals before ?

TLC: Nope, this is the first one.

Asker: Whoah!!!

TLC: Yeah brah. Oh snap!

Asker: I mean it’s not like mural festivals happen all the time in Portland either.

TLC: Yeah, this is the second one for Forest For the Trees.

(Photo Credit: PSSA)

Asker: What would you think if I did this?

(takes spray can and paints line across arm)

TLC: Ahhhh, why’d you do that… you want me to do your whole body? I could do a series of nipples running all the way down.

Asker: How long do you think it would take to wash off?

TLC: Well there’s that solvent downstairs, should only take 30 seconds.

Asker: Solvent!? That stuff’s wicked…

TLC: Yeah, I use it on my hands sometimes. That’s probably why I got teeth falling out of my head.

Asker: Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have done that.

TLC: I got a wicked gum disease going on and I’m pretty sure it’s from licking my brushes after using mineral spirits.

Asker: No way, you lick your brushes?

TLC: Yeah

Asker: To get that tip?

TLC: Yeah to get the tip

Asker: Oh man.

TLC: I’m trying to stop, but it’s a bad habit. I do it without realizing it.

Asker: How do you feel about “shrimping”?

TLC: Like, painting on girls?

Asker: Yeah.

TLC: I think it’s the dumbest shit ever.

Asker: Does shrimping have to be painting on women though?

TLC: Nah, you could paint on a dick too. It’s gotta be hard though, it’s tough to paint on a flaccid penis.

Asker: Why’s it called shrimping?

TLC: I dunno, and it’s spelled with three i’s, I don’t understand.

I’m gonna get back to painting.

Asker: Okay.

TLC: (starts painting again,spontaneously sings R’n’B song)

Asker: What’s the most ridiculous thing you ever painted?

TLC: “Mutant Boobies”. Do you remember that?

Asker: Oh yeah, at Pirate Town.

TLC: It was pretty ridiculous, it had like a 3 headed dick with polyps all over the testicles, it was all weird and gooey. It was totally different than anything I ever painted.

Asker: And that was for a record cover?

TLC: Yeah, it was for my brother’s music,Tudikas Wayne Hunnicutt.

Dude, what if I did the hood with two tones of grey on the hood would that make sense?

Asker: For the whole hood? Maybe if you staggered some red in there too,like that light red.

TLC: Yeah, that would be cool. Let’s do it!

Dude it feels so good out right now. It’s like 75 degrees.

Asker: Yeah, I’m gonna get my tan on.

Are you a shoebox photo kind of person?

TLC: I wish, I’m envious of people who are good at doing that, I’m bad at it.

Asker: People will still take digital photos but they go get prints of them and put it in the shoebox.

TLC: I love that, I wish I did that.

Asker: You know what I wanna do, I wanna do the art direction for those late night commercials where they’re like “for only 3 cents a week, you can save this child”. Except I would put them in different clothes, you know.

TLC: But what would the art direction for that consist of?

Asker: Well, you know, I would get a fly TLC t-shirt and put them in one of those and it works out for both of you. All of sudden they get attention from fashionistas with money, staying up really late, watching television and here’s your art all the way in a third world country.

TLC: Okay, I get it.

Asker: So you wanna do it?

TLC: Sure, as long as it’s PG.

Asker: Let me talk to my agent about it.

How do you feel about Gold?

TLC: I like it when it’s in combination with black.

Asker: Oh man, gettin’ my sun on!

TLC: Dude this is great. Feels so good.

Asker: Alright I’m just gonna move this mat over and do some yoga next to all this overspray.

So right now this interview, thousands of people are gonna read this at some point and it’s an opportunity for you to reach out at potential sponsors. Is there any companies you wanna get sponsored by? It doesn’t necessarily need to be painting related.

TLC: Yeah, Brixton.

Asker: Brixton? What’s that?

TLC: They make hats. I only were Brixton hats cause they fit my head really well. I have a tiny head. It’ s not only small in diameter but also my skull is shallow so it’s hard to find hats that fit properly without folding the snap backs all the way.

Asker: I wanna get sponsored by Annie’s Goddess dressing.

TLC: Ooohhh, yeah.

Asker: How do you feel about advertising?

TLC: Depends.

Asker: Is this interview an advertisement right now?

TLC: For Depends? I’m sponsored by Depends.

Asker: It’s either an advertisement for all the companies we name dropped, or, it’s an advertisement for ourselves.

TLC: Well, the thing about depends is you can shit and piss in your Depends all day and never, ever feel a thing. It feels like you’re wearing dry underwear. It does look like you’re wearing a garbage bag around your waist, but you don’t feel a thing.

Asker: (laughs)

What do you think about when Clear Channel sued the city of Portland years ago, they said that murals were advertising for artists…

TLC: Yeah, they are. It’s all advertising, I mean it’s really all about self-promotion and personal gain.  It has nothing to do with art really, its all about what companies can I get in with so I can get money because really money is all that keeps art going.

Asker: Do you think that should that be something that’s regulated the same?

TLC: No I think that it should all be free reign, it should all be tax-free and I think that most artists should be millionaires. 

Asker: Most artists?

TLC: Most, some not so much.

Asker: I think that artists should have less money, there’s too many pampered artists. We need more starving artists in the art world.

TLC: I can see what you’re saying here.

Asker: Well, actually they really are starving artists, they just have the posture of seeming like they’re rich and successful but they might not be successful in a monetary sense, but in other ways… like being sponsored by Annie’s Goddess Dressing.

TLC: This message is brought to you by Depends adult diapers. Depends has an online special going on right now, just type in “ TLC depends on you” coupon code. Get 50% off any order over 12. Back to you Asker.

Asker: (laughs)

How do you feel about chaturanga ?

TLC: The yoga position?

Asker: How do you feel about interviews that always say “How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that?”

TLC: Umm, well, I guess it’s a valid way to pose a question. However it’s nice when it can be less emotional, right?

Asker: What kind of knowledge do you wanna drop for the next generation reading this?

TLC: Before you ever decide what you wanna do, go through some kind of alcoholism or drug addiction. Just go through it cause it will make you understand things in the long run.

Asker: (laughs)

TLC: Do drugs, drink alot, then figure out if you do or don’t wanna do those things afterwards.

Asker: Are you looking for  an assistant right now?

TLC: An assistant? Like for my addiction problems?

Asker: For anything, addiction problems, painting, whatever.

TLC: Not really

Asker: Do you still have addiction problems?

TLC: I’ll put it this way, I’ll always suck some dick for coke.

Asker: (laughs)

How do you feel about Segways?

TLC: Segways?

Like conversational segways, or the things you ride on?

Asker: You tell me.

TLC: Well I prefer conversational segways over the electric scooter things. I would look like a piece of shit, that cat would look like a piece of shit, that baby would look like a piece of shit, everybody riding a Segway would look like a piece of shit. You just look like a piece of shit when you’re riding around on a Segway.

Asker: If you were to interview TLC. What would you ask them?

TLC: Hmm… why does the counter always need to be cleaned?

Asker: Ooohh, that’s deep.

How did you get into stickers?

TLC: I got tired of being chased and beat up, painting graffiti. Random heroes.

Asker: What’s the difference between a witch and a wizard?

TLC: You asked me this once before.

Asker: But now it’s being recorded.

TLC: There is no difference. Wizards can be witches, witches can be wizards. Witches are different than wizards but wizards can sometimes have similarities with witches, but there is no distinction between female, male, whatever… when I think of a wizard I think of a little yellow thing with red legs poking out with stars all over it.

Asker: Oh yeah, classic. Would you ever do a Cheech Wizard production?

TLC: Yeah, fuck yeah.

Asker: Alright I’ll hit you up from the office. I’ll talk to my agent about getting you a ticket to St. Louis.

Have you ever shit talked on the internet?

TLC: Oh yeah and I regret every last bit of it.

Asker: How often do you prank call somebody?

TLC: It’s been a while, I can’t remember the last time I prank called somebody.

Asker: Do you remember your favorite prank call that you ever did or received

TLC: I never did this one, but it always seemed appealing to me. You pretend to accidentally call your mom or dad and say “Hey whatsup man, I’m just looking for a 20-sack”.

Asker: (laughs)

TLC: Or like if they answer and you say “Hey whatsup dude, wanna go get shit- faced?”. That seems like that would be a good one.

Asker: So most of the time I’ve known you I’ve seen you riding a bike. But now you got a scooter, what compelled you to get a scooter?

TLC: Well, this is the 3rd scooter Ive had. I really enjoy having a motorized two wheeled vehicle. I’d much rather have that than a 4 wheeled motorized vehicle.

Asker: Why’s that?

TLC: Have you ever ridden a scooter or a motor cycle?

Asker: Yeah.

TLC: Doesn’t it feel great? It’s amazing. And everywhere I go I feel amazing, every time I go to the grocery store I get excited, I just really enjoy riding.

So what do you think of two-wheeled vehicles?

Asker: I really like leaning into turns.

So, you just went on a painting tour. Tell me about that.

TLC: I started off in London, then I went to Berlin for like 4 days then back to London. Then I came back over to NY then I went to Chicago. I was gonna go to Seattle but I ended up coming back to Portland.

Asker: How did you pay for the whole thing?

TLC: I used crowd-funding.I set up rewards for the different donation tiers and I had my homie Tomas help me out with it. It was a really cool experience because crowd-funding engages the audience with what you’re doing cause when people put money in something they care about a lot, it’s not like they’re just watching. They’re invested in it now.

Asker: (skin makes fart sound lifting from mat)

TLC: Dude, was that sweat?

Asker: Yeah, it’s a sweat fart. Look at that.

TLC: Dude your’e back is soaked! That’s disgusting its kinda dirty too from being on the mat.

Asker: Is there anything else you wanna say to the peoples?

TLC: Shout outs to Gives, Tomas, Rx Skulls, shout outs to all my peoples out there in the big world and eat hamburgers all the time.

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