Good day world! Hopefully everyone is maintaining and staying safe during these times and finding some sort of at home peace within a crazy world outside. At Nostalgia King, we’ve been focusing heavily on continuing to deliver great content to you, the reader with our regular updates of new vinyl releases and other cool things that you should be in tuned to. One of the topics that we’ve been heavy in discussion on is our At Home – Creative Isolation series that we’ve been doing and interviewing some of our favorite DJs, artists, creatives and industry people who like you, have all seen a shift in the way they create or conduct business. The series so far has shed light on how these creatives are staying physically, mentally and creatively healthy during this pandemic and how they’ve continued to work their projects or in some cases, reinvent themselves to fit the current change in how we consume product.
Our next guest who you may or may not know personally, but you have surely seen his work that has graced most of my projects and releases as well as the designer of the Nostalgia King brand imagery and serves as the brand manager. Lance Pilgrim aka The Elroy Jenkins is an artist, creative genius, and a person who see’s through overly saturated markets of content and knows how to take advantage of areas of creativity that aren’t yet being focused on by the masses. Since 2007, we’ve traveled the globe together, thrown incredible parties together and have broke bread together to build what I consider the perfect business relationship as well friendship. Even during the pandemic, The Elroy Jenkins has continued to stay busy with work which made it difficult to lock him down for a discussion about how he continues to find time to split his day into two by running a branding and creative agency and still turning out works of art for his next solo gallery showing. But low and behold, we have The Elroy Jenkins…..
Skeme – You’re one of the most talented designers that I know and have worked with, not only in New York but the world. By day, you co-own Passion & Poison Studio, a full service branding and creative agency and by night you’re equally as busy creating your own large-scale art projects as we’ve seen at your recent gallery exhibition. Now that the world has seemed to come to a standstill which seems especially odd for a city like New York, how has your day routine of working with clients changed? Is there still a flow of projects coming in?
Lance – First off, thank you for taking the time to chat with me and thank you for the kind words. It certainly has been a pleasure working with you over the years.
As with everyone in the world right now, there have certainly been some adjustments to the everyday workflow and client interaction. Obviously, in-person meetings are out, so all communication is through conference calls and emails. Every industry is affected by the current situation, and our primary focus is to help and service our clients through the storm and navigate the changing landscape that is going to be on the other side of this.
Skeme – Although your primary profession is creative director, which I’m assuming is what pays the bills from what I’ve noticed by other designers or industry people that actually DJ at night or are creators in other fields. Has your creative workflow changed during this time in isolation and have you thought about pushing your art further to generate revenue whether by selling prints or originals?
Lance – Maintaining balance between client work and personal work has really been the key during this time in isolation. It’s very easy to lean too much in one direction or the other, especially when you are doing everything from home. I try to keep regular business hours for client work, and build on my personal body of work in the evenings. This allows me to shift gears and give my full attention to both.
Also, given this current situation, it’s very easy to retreat into my own creative realm for extremely long time frames. I have to be mindful of this and make sure I don’t fall too far down the rabbit hole where I am not paying attention to my wife and dog. As I said, balance is key.
After we come out of this, the world will take time to return to normal. We are going to be a ways out from crowded gallery openings and museum parties. I’ve started to think about what that means for showing and experiencing my work, especially since seeing my work in person is a much more impactful experience. Currently, select originals on my site are on sale via Gallery104, and I am looking to make some limited edition prints available as well. I am also experimenting with augmented reality to elevate and bring those experiences home.
Skeme – Your last gallery exhibition was titled Saturday Warnings, which was a meshing of Saturday cartoon imagery that we obviously all love. I know that you’re working on a new series that is inspired by fictional events but it just so happens that we’re living in that moment. What made you want to tackle that concept and it something that you believe resonate with those who will see it at your next exhibition?
Lance – My current body of work explores and deconstructs the imagery and messaging behind Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. As with Saturday Warnings, I lean on distorted familiar nostalgia, juxtaposed against a hyperactive color palette, this time with the addition of a “blackest black” void in each piece.
I’ve been wanting to do something with the Akira subject matter for a while now, but I didn’t want to do fall down the path of recycling the same tropes. You know, the Kaneda bike slide, the Akira throne, Tetsuo’s arm growth, and then slap some kanji on it and call it an Akira homage piece. It’s crucial, for me, that this work be a clear reflection of my take aways from Otomo’s masterpiece in my visual language.
I started working on this prior to COVID-19, but as the world’s situation evolved so did my pieces. Akira tackles a society plagued by violence, addiction, and distrust of its government; a government that is ill equipped to deal with a threat they don’t understand. The parallels are uncanny. My pieces deal with a variety of subject matter, ranging from addiction, fear, panic, and isolation—some of which are close to home for some people at this time. It’s not all doom and gloom though, the series will be punctuated with a beacon of hope—a light at the end of the tunnel.
Skeme – Do you have a specific place at home where you work or spend most of your day?
Lance – My home desk is where I am planted for most hours of the day. I am surrounded by art and books and it’s set at bar height so I can either sit or stand.
Skeme – Now that you’re not leaving the house as much, do you find yourself caring less with getting dressed or do you still have a routine that keeps you balanced?
Lance – I absolutely still care about how I look! I don’t want my wife seeing a slob lounging around the house. All jokes aside, grooming and upkeep are essential for maintaining a healthy mind frame. I am all for comfort—showering, conditioning, and a well-oiled beard all contribute to that comfort.
Routine is also really important for my productivity, especially in the morning. Waking up at a certain time, having a morning routine, and making sure I am showered and dressed keep my days structured. Also, treating Monday through Friday like a work week and reserving Saturday and Sunday for kicking back prevent the days from blending into one another.
Skeme – What’s inspiring you at the moment to stay creative and productive so that when this period of isolation is over, you can set right back in and keep it moving?
Lance – In addition to my artistic goals and the ongoing work on my pieces, I set out to learn some new skills. I am learning Blender and diving into complex 3D modeling. It’s something I’ve always wanted to learn. I am also making an effort to learn Turkish. When we come out of this, I’ll feel much better about the time spent if I have something new under my belt. There is only so much Netflix I can watch.
Skeme – What does that average day for you look like right now? What are you doing to stay mentally and physically healthy?
Lance – My wife and I start every morning working out together and then a short meditation before I hit the shower. Walking the dog is the only time we venture outside, which has been clutch for getting fresh air and some vitamin D. Then it’s client work until 6 or 7, before shifting gears and working on my own stuff until 9. After the dog’s evening walk, I knock out some Turkish lessons before we relax for an hour or two with some dinner followed by TV. Then—you know how it is—the real work begins. I’ll catch a groove and put in work on a piece until I decided to call it a night (or morning).
Skeme – With everyone going live whether to DJ, do talks or paint, have you thought about doing it yourself or is creating something that you prefer to do in your own sanctuary without giving people and pre-unveiling of the work?
Lance – I am always down to have a conversation on Instagram Live with other creatives, provide insights, or just chop it up on any number of topics. I am not a fan of going live while I am working. I used to live paint at events and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s very easy for me to get caught up in the notion that I am doing this for the viewer’s entertainment, so it starts to influence the decisions I make in the work or I rush to get to the more “entertaining” parts. Working in solitude, even virtual solitude, allows me to take my time, work through and explore happy mistakes.