Painter and tattoo artist Pauly Lingerfelt tells Émilie Richard-Froozan (a long time friend who, with partner Rémy Bennett, recently casted and directed him in their latest movie Buttercup Bill) about his upcoming art show in NOLA as well as what it’s like knowing his art will literally follow people to their graves.

SHK has teamed up with photographer Kelsey Bennett in this ongoing portrait series, featured in SHK Mag with continuous profiles here on the blog, capturing the most creative influencers roaming NYC this year. 

pauly-lingerfelt

photographed by KELSEY BENNETT for H.A.G.S.

ERF: SO PAULY, WHERE YOU FROM?

PL: I grew up outside of New Orleans in a little suburb called Kenner and I’ve been in New Orleans ever since.

HOW DOES THE SOUTH INSPIRE YOUR ARTISTIC AESTHETIC AND IMAGERY? 

I love the South and everything rooted in the South. Most of my pieces are based on Southern African-American spirituality, ritual and ceremonies.

Those are the origins. There’s no way you can talk about the South without talking about Africa, actually there’s no way you can talk about ANYTHING without talking about Africa. Sometimes people ask me, “What’s up with you only painting Black people?” I think it’s strange to paint only paintings of white folk.

MY MOST PRIZED POSSESSION IS A DRAWING I BOUGHT FROM YOU YEARS AGO. YOU TOLD ME THE THREE FLOATING MEN DEPICTED IN THE PIECE WERE INSPIRED BY A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING FROM THE 1960S OF OLYMPIC POLE JUMPERS. HAVE YOUR PIECES ALWAYS EVOLVED FROM FOUND IMAGES? 

I like images that become something else for you. I like to find images I don’t know much about and create my own story around that — like an explanation that might not actually exist but exists for me. I paint more like a preview to a movie than the actual movie… I suggest the story line and the rest you make up, just as I do.

pauly lingerfelt art show with louis braquet

YOU’VE GOT AN ART SHOW COMING UP. HOW ARE THESE NEWER PAINTINGS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PREVIOUS WORK?

I’ve gotten a lot looser. Not trying to be so obsessed with tightness. These paintings are more psychedelic and more inward.  They’re a lot about the rituals that take a boy from boyhood into Manhood.  Somehow this got lost in Western culture, and because it’s missing, I believe men don’t really grow up to be men in the same way.

THERE’S SO MUCH INFLUENCE FROM RELIGION IN YOUR PAINTINGS AND TATTOOS AND EVEN YOUR HOME. ARE YOU YOURSELF A RELIGIOUS MAN?

Not, religious. Definitely very spiritual. I love Jesus. I love the Bible. I love the tale and the simple idea. Such a basic idea of non-judgement and love is all I see in there.

HOW’D YOU GET INTO TATTOOING?

When I was 18 I was working as a janitor at a tattoo shop. Cleaning up in the morning and at night, before they opened and after they closed. Then they saw that I could draw, so they started showing me how to use a machine. It wasn’t until I started working at another shop under Patrick Cox that I really learned what I know. He was the one who really taught me how to tattoo.

pauly lingerfelt flower tattoo

HOW DO YOU COMPARE PAINTING ON A CANVAS TO TATTOOING ON HUMAN SKIN?

It’s totally different. You stick with raw images, simple ideas. It’s on the skin so it’s moving, it’s getting tan and it’s getting old so it has to be way more identifiable. You have to think about time. A painting is gonna stay the same pretty much forever, while a tattoo is gonna morph with the body. A tattoo’s out and about all over the street, meeting everybody you meet, but a painting’s more limited to how it’s being seen and who sees it, so it’s totally different.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW THAT SOMEONE’S GONNA GO TO THE GRAVE WITH YOUR TATTOO ON THEM?

[Laughs] I guess it feels good, but it’ll only last for about 20 days after.

REALLY?

Yeah. . . Well, if they’re a mummy no, but otherwise it’ll last about 20 days after you die. But it gets sucked up in the soil and shit — that’s pretty cool.

WHERE CAN THE SHK READER GET A TATTOO FROM YOU?

They can come to Downtown Tattoos in New Orleans and I’ll be there. Or I’ll be in NYC this summer.

pauly lingerfelt tattoo arm piece

x TO SEE MORE OF PAULY’S WORK VISIT HIM ON INSTAGRAM AND TUMBLR x

  “The acronym of Have A Good Summer, H.A.G.S — a sentiment scrawled across the pages of yearbooks — is the title of my ongoing series of portraits, resembling what the kids of my dream High School would look like. They’re the artists, musicians, writers, outcasts, rebels, or just members of a rad gang.”  — Kelsey Bennett 

Comments

comments