By Nicolas Palermo | Posted Monday, June 4, 2018
Lucie Mullen is a graphic artist from Middletown, NJ whose work has an animated quality -- both in a stylistic and literal sense. Drawing inspiration from the movements and techniques of skateboarding, Lucie brings her doodles and tattoo flash-inspired illustrations to life by creating short animated clips that adorn her Instagram profile.
Don’t get it twisted, though -- Lucie is not limited to animation. T-shirt designs, skateboard graphics, album covers, and posters are only a handful of projects that Lucie has tackled in the past few years. Common motifs utilized but not limited to: smiling animals, tropical fruits, bones, teeth, and clinking beer bottles. Ultimately, Lucie’s work exemplifies what many of us often forget is at the core of why we make art: it is limitlessly fun.
Where are you located in NJ? Do you feel that the area you grew up in has had an effect on your artwork?
I grew up in Middletown. Being close to the city and the shore is pretty sweet. I have a few friends that have definitely inspired me to pursue my art as more of a career than a hobby. Also, being so able to visit the city so often has been a huge inspiration. I lived in Brooklyn for a summer and was around so many talented artists. That definitely lit a fire under me at a young age and helped me see that my goals as an artist weren’t unachievable.
I think your use of clean lines and playful color schemes give your art an inviting personality, even if there are no words there to welcome us in. Is it a conscious decision to create work that is not text-heavy? Do the icons and little characters hold personal meaning, or are they created out of spontaneity?
Thank you! I’ve always liked leaving my drawings super open-ended so that anyone could relate to them in any way they choose to. They are definitely created spontaneously. Most of the time when I come up with ideas they’re from me sitting around with my sketchbook and thinking of silly stuff that would be fun to draw. I get a lot of inspiration sometimes from flash tattoo sheets, but I like to create my own spin on designs.
I wanted to talk about your animations. Is animation a new realm of creating art for you? What is the process like when making your illustrations come to life?
I learned how to make frame by frame photoshop animations a few years ago. I put that aside as I really enjoyed just drawing with pencils and pens for a while. But as of recently, I started to realize the great versatility in animation as a tool for my art. Being able to make my drawings come to life and change color or explode within seconds has really opened up a new door for me. They are also so fun to make. I usually start the same way I do with most of my artwork, by making a bunch of doodles on a page and then thinking about ways they could transform.
I also like to take videos of my friends skating and draw over them to create a new kind of world they’re skating in. It helps me get better at fluid motion in my animations, and my friends are always hyped on them!
I’ve been in love with Portugal. The Man’s music for about 8 years now, so this whole experience has been an amazing ride so far for me. In December, the Portugal. The Man instagram page started following me (as they did with a bunch of fans back then) and liked a few of my posts on my page. John Gourley, their lead singer, runs the account. He is really fantastic at fan interactions on social media. I direct messaged the account and said I am a huge fan and would love to work for them in some way. John immediately got in touch with me and was so positive and open to us working together. Months later, he called me and told me about some ideas he had for animations for their shows.
A few days before their Coachella, I was asked to do some animation loops for their show. I basically dropped everything (classes/going outside at all) to get my work in on time. It was crazy seeing my animations on that huge screen, and I’m really excited to keep working with them in the future. They are the kindest coolest band, and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunities that they gave me.
One thing I notice so often with artists in New Jersey is the importance of merging skateboard culture and visual art. What is your background with skating? Are there any skaters that influence you not only to skate but pick up a pencil?
I started skateboarding when I was 9-years-old. I dropped it for a while as it was hard for me being the only girl out there. Thankfully, I picked it back up in college and have made so many great friends from it. Since skateboarding is another hobby that I truly enjoy, I love incorporating it into my artwork. Art and skateboarding have been coexisting forever. I’m always excited to see my friends creating new zines or video premieres because I know they are very passionate about their work. I love the artwork from the skaters/artists Geoff Mcfetridge, Ed Templeton and Mark Gonzales. They are huge inspirations to me. Some instagram skater/artists that I also love are @funeralfrench, @cosme and @eloweeese.
Where can we find and follow your work online?
Instagram is my favorite place to post new work -- @lucidmullet.
My website is www.luciemullen.com.