22 Questions With Lopi LaRoe
1. Name: Lopi LaRoe but I paint under the moniker LMNOPI
2. Age: old enough that I remember the day Nixon resigned
3. Hometown: born in Niskayuna, NY
4. How would you describe yourself in three words? A two legger
5. What’s something not a lot of people know about you? I’d tell you but it’s a secret
6. How do you start your day? Covered in purring cats
7. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life? A DIY humanitarian relief effort in Haiti after the earthquake of 2010.
8. What’s your favorite food? matsutake mushrooms. I also love pizza and seeded baguette but I quit wheat cold turkey.
9. Do you have a day job? Sometimes I work during the daytime; does that count? I am entirely self-employed.
10. What medium do you work in? House paint, primarily. I’m also fond of pencils and print making; silk screen and intaglio. Sometimes I paint on paper and wood.
11. Why this medium? It works well when you’re painting buildings. I switched mediums after my Mom died from leukemia. Prior to that I was an oil painter just like her. It was highly likely that painting with oils contributed to her illness and so I decided to break up with oil paint. Plus, I got into street art around 2009, so that changed things for me.
12. What inspired you / how did it start? I think it started when I saw the mad painter on Sesame Street. The sheer audacity of that guy suggesting that the world was his canvas stuck with me for decades.
13. Do you have a process for creating? Yes, lots of them.
14. When are you the most inspired / what’s your favorite time of day to work? It depends on what I’m working on. I guess I prefer to work at night but that’s not always possible when you’re painting murals. My absolute favorite time of day to paint on walls outside is when it’s not raining or snowing or excessively hot. If I’m working indoors my favorite time is when I’m feeling inspired. I love having the freedom to stay up all night long painting if that’s what I want to do and sometimes I do.
15. Which artists inspire you? Picasso, Leonardo, Hopper, Lewis Hines, Dorothea Lange. Street artists: Blu, Phlegm, Chip Thomas, Gregg Deal, Chris Stain, Sara Lynn Leo, Marthalicia Martarrita and my absolute favorite right now is the muralist El Mac. His stuff is mind blowing.
16. What do you listen to when you work? Sometimes I listen to podcasts; politics, history and philosophy. I love Alan Watts. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of music while I paint. I’m especially enjoying Alt-J, glass animals, Radiohead, cat power and Kendrick lamar these days.
17. What are your thoughts on being an artist in Rutland? There are a lot of empty & thirsty looking walls in Rutland. I’m looking forward to creating more murals here. If you’ve got a wall, please don’t hesitate; contact [email protected]
18. What’s your earliest memory of making art in Rutland? I moved here in 2018 and the first mural I painted was a portrait of Greta Thunberg at the Vermont food center. After I painted it I flew to Boulder Colorado to paint a mural and while I was gone some creative genius decided to improve upon my mural by blackening out her eyes and giving her a Salvador Dali mustache. It was a great opportunity to repaint the entire thing. I was more pleased with it the second time around anyway, so I’m grateful.
19. Why do you think artists are attracted to Rutland? I didn’t know they were. I came here because the rent was cheap and the hiking & canoing is great.
20. Which arts organizations in town are you involved with and how has it impacted you? I’m not really involved in any art organization here yet. Feel free to reach out!
21. What’s your favorite art exhibit/project you’ve seen in Rutland? I would have to say it was an event put on by Bianca Zanella called infinite lit. It was quite memorable because it was so freaking hot and yet all of the poets stayed; listened to each other and shared their work. It was quite good.
22. What would you like to see for the future of the arts in Rutland? More murals.
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