Lushsux’s street art is commemorated by Banksy and Beeple; his NFTs have actually made millions; and he has a landmark auction prepared for a “major auction house” next March — however he’s still quite a male of individuals.
The artist is revealing me around his studio storage facility in inner-city Melbourne however gets worried when I point my cam in the unclear instructions of his beaten-up old Ford. The confidential artist is fretted that I’ll unintentionally expose his place to other graffiti teams who dislike him.
“Do me a favor and don’t shoot the car in the front because I’ll have some cunt come round here and try and stab me. I’m not kidding,” he states.
“They’ll work out where it is — trust me — and I’ll get some psycho cunt come around.”
Lush (that’s how everybody describes him, as “sux” was a late addition) has actually been battered by other authors prior to, a lot of notoriously in connection with a series of murals of rap artist 50 Cent.
As the rather real, rather developed, story goes, Fiddy was getting progressively upset with Lush’s murals mashing up his confront with Taylor Swift (Swifty Cent), Donald Trump (The 45 Fif President) and Mike Tyson (50 Thent). The rap artist reposted that last mural to his 11.8 million fans, informing them that it revealed Lush required “an ass whoopin bad.”
Soon later, Lush did undoubtedly get an ass-whoopin’ bad, and he published a photo reply to Fiddy of his bloodstained health center bed. However, Lush happily blamed “violent video games” and not the rap artist.
Lush describes that he’s brought in some weightlifting devices to the studio so he can pump iron in preparation for next time.
“I got beat up,” he states. “Someone was hitting me with a metal pole in the shoulder, so I brought my stuff back in so I could get back in it.”
Lush does not look like much of a fighter, although he’s a huge person in a death metal Tee shirts that exposes his tattoos. The image is rather damaged by a ponytail, jaunty-looking trousers and gently spoken way. He states he’s not preparing to enter battles if he can prevent it:
“It’s not worth it. It’s funny man, karma. There’s always someone bigger and more junkie than them.”
Lushsux is what Australians call a “shit-stirrer” who enjoys to provoke a response, excellent or otherwise. He calls it “strategic trolling” and expenses himself on Twitter as “the world’s first and therefore best meme artist.”
He spray-painted a dead horse for one London exhibit opening and established a battling deathmatch so that Jesus and Satan might combat it out in a cage at another. In 2017, he painted a substantial mural of Donald Trump on the West Bank separation barrier in Israel, referencing the president’s “build the wall” prepare for the Mexican border. He’s a level playing field difficulty maker, however, likewise getting reamed/celebrated for questionable and allegedly sexist handles Hilary Clinton and Kim Kardashian.
Earlier, Elle Anastasiou, who deals with Lush on his nonfungible token (NFT) platform, DRP.io, discussed that the loudmouth web personality was mainly an act. “He’s very much more quiet in person, so I need to do all the talking,” she states.
Lush yields that “it’s misdirection,” including, “Lush doesn’t have to be me, like my government name, type, and personality, you know what I mean?” he states. “I’d rather have fun with it.”
Locked down, while NFTs increase
Melbourne is still in the grip of the world’s longest lockdown, which will have struck 263 days by the time it is lastly raised on Oct. 22. Unfortunately, ruining public residential or commercial property is not one of the “Four Reasons to Leave Home,” so he’s been mainly restricted to painting in his storage facility throughout.
There are stacks of canvases in one corner, and he’s just recently been dealing with a Joaquin Phoenix Joker NFT drop and a big Bored Ape photo that he painted for a good friend who owns the real NFT.
Three massive murals of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are on the far wall. I’d viewed him paint one live on Twitter previously, murmuring darkly about Zuck being a “bloody lizard” and grumbling that whenever he paints the social networks overlord, his Instagram posts inexplicably go missing. When he ends up a mural, he imports the photo into Adobe Premiere to jazz up the NFT with motion since “there’s more perceived value in it being animated. It’s kind of fun.”
“My formula is to combine viral moments with living memes, and that gets things popping,” he states. A signature Lush relocation is to discover the most talked-about star of the motion and integrate it with some sort of meme in order to pirate social networks algorithms. This works even much better when the superstar participates by reposting or engaging with the work like Fiddy did.
I spy one of the green posters that have actually been plastered all over around Melbourne in current weeks. They’re up in numerous other locations worldwide and will likewise promote “Famous Instagram Account” for sale on the signboard in New York City’s Times Square.
At present, nobody understands whose account it is. “People have guessed Banksy, Ai Weiwei, Snoop Dog,” chuckles Anastasiou.
Of course, the Instagram account in concern is Lush’s, which has 900,000 fans and more than 1 billion likes. He’s offering all 4,500 posts from the account separately as NFTs, from images of his street art to his regular shit posts.
After the NFTs develop a head of steam by means of secondary sales, the task will culminate in March next year in an auction of the whole account as “Token O” at Christie’s auction home. Well, that’s the strategy they laid out at first a minimum of. Anastasiou e-mails me later on to state it’s simply one of the “major auction houses” interested in his work. It’s a method of reclaiming control of his material from Instagram.
“You’re not getting technically paid from Instagram to post all this content. It’s almost a dead end. But I thought about this pool of content that I’ve worked on for the last 10 years plus. Why not turn that into a 10K project of sorts?”
Perfectly fit to crypto
As a confidential giant with a cutting sense of humor who confesses to house in the badlands of 4Chan’s /biz online forum, Lush is completely fit to crypto. He states he’s messed around in taking Bitcoin for payments however never ever truly got into crypto “because I’m not a numbers guy.”
That was up until NFT scientist GT Sewell sat him down in July 2020 and discussed the entire world to him. Lush states he was so thrilled by the principle he might hardly sleep for 2 weeks.
“Once, he really got it in my head exactly what the hell it is. I had that, like, that moment where you kind of go crazy for a while about it, you know? Like that day, I just completely switched my whole, like, art practice towards this thing.”
At the time, a uncommon NFT may bring $50,000 on Nifty Gateway, so he set his sights on getting accepted by the platform. He got the cold shoulder by calling them straight, so he rather started a purposeful project of painting popular crypto figures — the Winklevoss twins, Satoshi Nakamoto, Elon Musk and Shiba Inu — to draw in some attention.
Although the Winklevi retweeted him, it wasn’t up until he painted Beeple — the most effective NFT artist at that time, and 50X more effective now — that the technique painted off.
“About two or three weeks later, he saw it and was like, ‘I love this. This is really cool. This is awesome. No one’s ever done anything like that.’ And I’m just chatting with him and trying to pick his brain about NFTs and stuff. And then magically, the next morning, I get an email back from the Nifty people. I’d have to say Beeple was the reason.”
Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” which collected 5,000 images the artist developed daily over 13.5 years and notoriously cost $69 million, assisted stimulate Lush’s Instagram concept.
“It definitely influenced my thinking. I had my mum ask me who Beeple was. That’s how big it was. They’re the sort of things that get your mind turning for sure. And eventually, like all these different things, I was thinking of sort of coalesced into the Instagram idea.”
A full-time artist given that 2009, he’s placed on 23 exhibits and made a comfy sufficient living, however NFT sales have actually seen him jump up the ranks of Australia’s best-paid artists. He’s currently made 623 sales for 922 Ether ($3.53 million), and that figure’s just most likely to increase as news of this most current task navigates.
“It’s pretty crazy,” he states. “I’d always made enough to travel and to stay alive. But now, all that hard work is paying off, and I’ve found an actual audience of people who are really interested in collecting the work. Because out in the real world, you’ve got to do a lot of weird stuff to try and make big money.”
Western residential areas kid makes great
Lush matured in Melbourne’s commercial, working-class western residential areas and was a high school dropout, so he never ever studied art officially. He was working a shitty factory task when his employer informed him he was predestined for much better things.
“He was an encouraging guy. He used to be a roadie for bands, and on my lunch breaks, I’d be drawing — anytime I had downtime, I’d be drawing — so, he’s, like, ‘Why are you here? You shouldn’t be doing this.’”
He triggered to Hong Kong in 2009 and invested the next ten years painting and taking a trip the world. “I just turned it into what I would do and just didn’t have a job from then apart from doing bizarre stuff.”
In 2013, he was the only street artist welcomed to the Melbourne Now display at the National Gallery of Victoria, and a year later on, Banksy welcomed him to participate in his Dismaland: Bemusement Park exhibit.
“About then, was when I was like, ‘I better start doing art,’ you know?” he states. “I was always interested in viral stuff or memes and so forth. I didn’t really paint a lot of it until that moment.”
“That was the sort of pivotal moment where I was like, ‘I’m gonna take this a little more seriously.’”
He’s typically referred to as Australia’s Banksy — which he believes is simply lazy journalism — however yields there are some resemblances in the method they developed mass audiences by means of innovation and developing media stunts.
“Why do something for a limited audience or just one subset?” he asks. “That’s what I feel like Banksy does, creates stuff that anyone can kind of interpret and get a laugh out of.”
“He reaches a mass audience. So, that’s the kind of stuff I was influenced by, in terms of his work, you know?”
Manipulating the media
Around the time of the Dismaland program, Lush states he check out a book about media control and art and set out to attempt it himself after Kim Kardashian “broke the internet” for a 2nd time in 2016 with a absolutely naked selfie. Lush instantly plastered her over the biggest wall he might discover and then went about making it a newspaper article.
“I started emailing and calling as many news outlets as I could find, saying that I was the next-door neighbor and that I was not happy with it because now I have to look at her every day across the road.” A conservative talk-back radio station chose it up, then the story went viral. “If it hits the AP, or Reuters or whatever, then you get a worldwide news story out of it.”
He attempted a comparable technique later on that year by painting Hilary Clinton as a pole dancer in a stars and stripes swimwear. A mass reporting project from Reddit saw his Instagram account suspended, so he went shopping the story to every reporter he might believe of. When the regional council required the elimination of the “offensive” art work, he painted over it to put Clinton in a burqa, which included more fuel to the story.
“Generally, when I’ve got things successful, it’s just through a bit of skullduggery, like, creating some sort of story for them to run with a narrative to it, and just yet, continuing it on as long as I can.”
This might be seen in his expected “feud” with 50 Cent.
“Obviously, he was just playing it up so people engage with the posts more. They actually loved it; they reached out to me early on and were, like, ‘We love it, keep making stuff. We’ll keep posting and pretending we hate it.’”
Lush states he truly was battered, however the event had absolutely nothing to do with 50 Cent.
“I was out preparing a wall for the next day, and a group of these younger guys, graffiti guys, came up to me, being cheeky, and I ended up in a fight with them. It was kind of a bummer. It was just a graffiti beef; it’s just part of the culture. It wasn’t explicitly anything to do with Fifty — that’s what’s funny.”
For Lush, NFTs are the start of something as huge as the dot-com boom.
“Right now, we are 100% living in this NFT boom, and I’m glad that I really went for it. It’s just this is just too cool not to not to have done that.”
One element he enjoys is the reality he can engage with collectors straight.
“All you have to do is contact them and say thank you and build a relationship early on. Whereas sort of the traditional art world the galleries are there to sort of basically sort of cock block you from, from getting to know any of those people buying… because that’s how they make their money.”
Unlike Banksy or Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lush doesn’t feel as if he’ll ever be accepted by the more severe art circles — and he doesn’t truly care.
“I don’t think I’ve ever really been 100% recognized by those people,” he states.
“But now with the NFT stuff and all that jazz, it is not that much of a big deal to be recognized in that world to me. I’d rather be more recognized in this new emerging world, to be honest with you.”
The Lushsux Instagram posts drop begins on drp.io from Oct. 23.