Pride Week is here therefore I couldn’t think of a better time to publish an interview I did (a WHILE ago) with one of my favorite artists and people in the world: Scooter LaForge.
Hanging out with a genius mind such as Scooter LaForge was very interesting. “Daddy Scooter” – as I call him – was kind enough to meet me to discuss his upbringing as a painter, his irreverent sense of style and of course, being gay in New York City.
Originally from New Mexico, he studied Graphic Design but was always exciting about painting… Although he started making clothes to make money because he wasn’t selling a lot of artwork, his unique line of t-shirts took off and nowadays you can see his designs everywhere – literally! From his collaboration with Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck, to his fantastic punk Converse’s, to his one-of-a-kind shirts worn by artists like Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj… Mr. LaForge is definitely taking the fashion scene by storm.
We met at Johnny Rozsa’s pad – a small yet eclectic, mysterious and lively apartment in the East Village, where we had an extravagant photo-shoot between jokes and dirty talk. Eventually, we went for coffee to one of his favorite spots: ‘Tompkins Bagels’ – where he painted the mural on the façade – and with coffee in our hands it was time to rumble…
What inspires Scooter LaForge? Mostly my friends! My photographer friend Johnny Rozsa – who took the pictures for our editorial, is a big inspiration. Reiko Lauper and Hiraku Morilla – who work at the Patricia Field store, are also my muses.
Has your art style been influenced by Pop Art? Not really, what’s influenced it the most are the Dutch masters from Europe like Rembrandt and Van Gogh. I like looking at those old paintings trying to emulate that style and bring it up to a contemporary era like today.
Could you explain the gay iconography we see in your paintings and drawings? It comes from looking at vintage porn. I like to take images from there to include them in my drawings for my personal satisfaction. It also comes from what turns me on, like guys self-sucking… I paint that A LOT.(I better get working on that)
“Scooter LaForge’s work is very original, colorful yet messy and edgy… When I saw one of his paintings I was deeply impressed, it was the first time I looked at something like that”… – Reiko Lauper
Your art seems influenced by gay fetishes and gay underground subcultures. What can you tell me about this? It’s true! I have a lot of watersports action in my paintings – It’s one of my favorite sexual things to do.(Thanks for the heads-up) What I like to do is turning people [humans] into animals; sometimes I’ll paint a bear peeing on a little bunny or vice versa… I love bringing a lot of fun into the sexual activity.
I see a bunch of cartoons in your work, what’s up with your fascination with caricature characters? Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always loved cartons, I adore the colors and the way they are drawn, specially the vintage cartoons. A few of my favorites are Shera, He-Man, Bugs Bunny, Richie Rich, among others – Just so you know, I still watch cartoons almost every night before I go to bed; they’re my sleeping pill. (Well, isn’t that adorable?)
Do you know how people react to your paintings, art and fashion? A lot of people love it and a lot people don’t like it… It’s far and away from the mass market, it has a very specific audience and that’s what I prefer. It’s an extraordinary and weird connection between my clients and I. The funny thing is that reaches everyone from women; to gay guys even a lot of straight guys buy it too. – That’s a big compliment.
“It’s actually kind of shocking how a lot of people find his work very sexual and I don’t. He paints penises but I don’t really notice them, because to me it looks wholesome, it’s an art piece”. – Hiraku Morilla
With that said, do you design for the gay community? I don’t. I design for myself. When I design something I always wonder: Would I wear that? Do I think it looks cool? More often than not I ask opinions, I enjoy having feedback about my clothes… If I design something and it’s rad, great! But if I don’t like it, there’s no way it’s going out there.
I’ve seen you getting down and dirty at the clubs, what do you think about the gay nightlife in NYC? I go out a lot; it’s tons of fun. New York’s gay nightlife it’s a resurgence of art, fashion and club kids, all coming together in the city. You often find fashion designers, photographers, models, artists, and painters; out and about having a good time, I love it!
Now, let’s talk about you. As a gay man, what types of guys are you attracted to? I’m very drawn to nerdy guys (checked), skinny guys(checked), muscular guys; pretty much all sorts of guys. However, it always comes down to someone that is off center and has something different to offer. I worship unique specimens. (Bingo!) 😉
What’s next for Scooter LaForge? I’m still trying to figure out what to do and I’m still lost, however, I would absolutely love to paint a big mural on Houston St. or a bathroom- just the way Keith Haring did in the 80’s at the Gay and Lesbian Center, I would love to do my version of it.
I’m sure we’ll be a seeing a lot more awesome stuff from Daddy Scooter… In the meanwhile, stop by the Patricia Field store and get your hands in one of his exclusive t-shirts. Also, make sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram @scooterlaforge