It is rare that I see art that inspires me anymore. What excited me about art growing up was what I found in the punk rock and skateboard scene. I admired the alternative, low brow, and offensive drawings from punk rock show flyers, and the vivid, bold and occasional grotesque scribblings on the bottom of skateboard decks. What once was inspiring, seemed to have been traded for the tame, the safe and the bland. I am glad there are people like Lucas Musgrave still around creating art that truly inspires. It was awesome to get to hear from Lucas and learn he is so much more than an artist. Just as his art inspires, so does his life, his drive and his dedication to not just his craft, but his family as well.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
Im the Art Director for Santa Cruz Skateboards, Freelance illustrator/Designer and do some fine art with the copious amounts of free time all that and being a present dad gives me (JK). Just turned 40, married for 15 years to my wife Tina and hang with my 7 year old Bishop. I grew up in a huge family, dad abandoned my mom pregnant with 3 kids when I around 5 or 6. Made things really rough growing up. My mom was an Old Masters Oil painter and I would hang under foot when she taught lessons to ladies teaching them to paint cats sleeping in fountains or what not. I would practice drawing waiting to get to go home. It was a great escape and gave me a sense of worth that got stripped away when my dad left. I was always drawn to the shady side of things so I gravitated towards graffiti, skinheads/punks, drugs, gang dudes and tattooing. I started getting tattooed at 13 from a guy who learned in the pen, homemade machine, made one myself and started mucking up my friends and myself. It was awesome. But it did teach me the art of talking someone through a piece of art that related to them, lead them into what I thought could work better. Little did I know it would help so many years later. After I met the women who would be come my wife, Tina, I had to shift from my more shady ways of income and get my stuff together. I started teaching myself the computer and pulled enough random things to build a small portfolio that I showed to a local skateshop in town and was able to get a job doing whatever they needed and got to do a occasional deck graphic and tees. After 4 years the dudes at NHS (the company that houses many brands like Creature Skateboard, Independent Trucks etc) saw what I was doing and asked if I would be down to work for Santa Cruz Skateboards doing art. Hell yeah. I grew up in SC admiring Jim Phillips and riding Santa Cruz. That was 11 years ago, since then I have done work a lot of the brands we house and outside of here including Volcom, Globe, Star Wars, The Simpsons and many more. Super fun gig.
Luckily my work is pretty flexible so I can be there for my dude, but freelance keeps me busy and I just make the time. Means some late nights and early mornings. I was doing brand management as well for a few years but the brand has grown so large that I just recently hired a guy to do that part. We have so many projects and divisions all over the world that it was just too much. You have to know when its out of balance and switch things up when you know its time. Something has to suffer and it aint gonna be my family.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
Realizing that you need to throw out the book of what it means to be a dad by any other standards but your own. My “look” runs counter to reg culture but i tell you what, my kid knows hes loved more than anyone and is the most empathetic caring open human I have ever met. I have no idea where it comes from. People Praise me and im just trying to not muck it up. Try not to influence him too much with my warped upbringing and hangups. Soak him in. The bar is set so low for dads that people give me props for just showing up or taking him to the store with me. I don’t know how single moms do it. I just think of what my dad would do and do the opposite. I could never imagine not seeing my little dude. No matter what happens in my life. He knows there is nothing he can do that I would walk away from him for doing. Nothing he could do from getting in trouble to killing someone that we cant get through together. Nothing.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
At first its pure survival mode. You go from living for yourself to sharing your life with a wife and then bam! A bag of meat that is part of both of you that is absorbing all you put out. Makes you really take stock of what your made of and what you express. You can get lost in all the roles you have to play as a man. A son, a boss, a husband, a friend, a dad. Leaves little “you”. But than again I never really liked myself growing up so the distractions were nice. Being a dad has made me feel worthwhile, more open, compassionate, empathetic, caring and Ill cry at anything. Like anything. Like a Golden Grahams commercial. Or adventure Time.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Becoming a father is a gift that lets you get a 2nd chance at childhood but for someone else. You get to relive all those first how you would like, not how it happened to you. When I was younger I lived like I would be dead or in Jail by this age. Like I had a terminal diagnosis but my test results were switched in some madcap mix up. But here I am with a awesome family, killer super fun job and this 2nd shot at the whole deal. And a good therapist. I couldn’t imagine not having little man now. Its awesome.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
I tell you my kid is a charmer. Cause he has no filter. He’s just so pure. I took him to my wife’s work and he’s just cruising around talking up all the ladies, he has these huge crater dimples on his face, just a cutie. He’s asking women about their days, what they do, etc. He comes to along to one of my wife’s coworkers is all of a sudden just smitten. She’s kinda fawning over him and he starts rubbing his eyes and bushing and turning away saying ” Im sorry I can’t look at you, your eyes are just too beautiful, they are making my eyes water!”…….which elisits a generous amount of blushing on her part and further swooning. “Im glad your not my mom cause I would fall in love with you….” Blew me away. I couldn’t stop laughing……When we left he was all apologetic “Dad I just didn’t know what to say……” I said son, you did just fine. Do that when your 16 and your gonna do just fine. Panty peeler.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
I read some where you make decisions from 1 of 2 places. Fear and Love. Being a dad, there is no rule book. Everyone does it differently. But if you make sure your next move is coming from a place of love then it will be the right choice. And tell them that you love them and show it. Talk to them like person not a kid. Fulfill your promises cause that gives you cred. They are watching so intently how you handle even the little things. Traffic, frustrations, failures. Man is ruled through Fear or self servitude. Fear is short lasting and creates compliance which leads to defiance. Self servitude means creating that connection and pride that they don’t want to mess up out of fear of disappointing you not punishment. And hang in there, be present. All things will past, that also means the good quite moments. Soak them in. The world will steal away their naivety and wonder, appreciate it and let it rub off on you.
Thanks so much Lucas! Keep up the great work, you are truly an inspiration! Where can our readers get in touch with you?
I have a website that due for a update. www.LucasMusgrave.com but Im most active on Instagram “@sc_goon” where I post pics of art work Im doing, sneak peak of new graphics, Original Illustrations and I also post the morning lunchbag I draw for my son every school day. #bishopbags