Driving around Los Angeles, you’re bound to come across at least one Bumblebee Loves You piece. Putting the innocence of childhood at the forefront, Bumblebee Loves You’s pieces are vibrant additions to the often dormant buildings that make up the cityscape. We talked to the incredible artist about what drives him creatively, wing photo ops, and more.
Kendra: Every artist comes with their own set of tricks and for you its stencils and mixed media. Are you well versed in others though? Could you bust out a piece with paints or watercolors?
Bumblebee Loves You: My work has evolved over the years. All of my early work was mostly stencils. It has grown to where I can feel comfortable with almost any media from Acrylic, Watercolors, Spray Paint, Sculpture, and now even pottery.
Kendra: Being an LA artist and working a lot of public spaces, were you inspired at all by the graffiti that is much a part of LA as perfect weather and traffic?
Bumblebee Loves You: I think every street artist has at one point wanted to become a graffiti writer in the past. In high school, I really wanted to be good at drawing graffiti but I just wasn’t as good as I thought I was. I always knew that there was something more than to write your name on something and make it your own. Fortunately, I found out about street art through some older blogs at the time, Wooster Collective and Ecosystem.org. Those were the two sites that inspired me the most and I would learn a lot from the European artists and I think my work just grew from there but with a Cali twist on it.
Kendra: A lot of your work does come with a message attached to it, like homelessness. Are there any upcoming pieces like that we can be on the lookout for? And how do you feel art helps people explore notable causes that need more attention?
Bumblebee Loves You: I do think art should have meaning. My mural work started out by me wanting to bring attention to the growing population of youth homelessness. At the time, I just felt like a kid (still do) and thought how terrible it would be if I didn’t have a place to sleep at night. One of the first pieces I did was paint a giant “Sleeping Boy” on the side a building on La Cienega and Beverly in Hollywood and from there the pieces just grew and although I didn’t solve the homeless crisis, I still feel like I at least tried and people still talk about those pieces today so I guess I did something right.
These days my work is focused on how I feel like an adult still trying to be a kid. I believe that for some people they take life too serious, and I hope when they see my work they’ll somehow forget about all the issues of being an adult even if it’s for a second and I can make their day a little better.
Kendra: You’ve also done murals for the likes of Google and Kodak and worked on a project for Snapchat. Do you approach those murals for big brands any different than your regular work?
Bumblebee Loves You: Like the nature of street art, every project is made specific to the brand or media it’s made for. So I look at it the same way I would a wall on the street. Fortunately, these brands sometimes make it easy and hardly have any guidelines or prohibitions about what to create. I guess they already know what they’re going to get with my work, probably a giant kid.
Kendra: What drew you towards children being the centerpieces of your work?
Bumblebee Loves You: I still feel like a kid and I’m always trying to keep that spirit alive no matter how immature my parents think I am lol. I just think they’re cool and each one represents a moment or personality of my childhood that I am constantly trying to remember and think back on.
Kendra: When I saw your “First Star I See” piece, I first thought it was so cute, but then I thought of how Instagram worthy it was. What are your thoughts on those murals and pieces that are made solely for what the kids call, the ‘gram?
Bumblebee Loves You: Well, it’s not like I painted a pair of wings made specifically so you could take a pic in front of it. Those types of pieces aren’t representing street art very well. But they most likely have way more followers than I do, so who am I to say they’re wrong to do it? Honestly, if it wasn’t for the ‘gram, many artists, I don’t think would even still be making art. Artists are fortunate to live in a time where these brands and commercial developers want to and are actively supporting us. And really if you think I did that piece for the ‘gram, you’re wrong, I did it for my girl who I proposed to a few weeks later, she said yes!
Kendra: Congrats! And not at all. Just thought it was a great piece I could see people posing in front of. Now, can you let the people know what you have going on in the foreseeable future? More pieces around LA?
Bumblebee Loves You: I’m trying to travel and spread my work across the globe. I’ll be heading to Patras, Greece in a couple of weeks and literally, I just got back from Helsingborg, Sweden. But this coming week I’m happy to say will be painting an ‘encore piece’ where I’ll be adding another smaller mural next to my successful ‘Love You Too’ aka fishbowl girl mural at OneWestSide. There are more projects in the air as well. And of course, I’ll be treating my fans to another dose of print or prints later in the next couple of months.