If ya haven’t heard, Doom Cycle has teamed up with the awesome folks at Show Class Magazine to interview their cover artist for each issue. It’s somethin’ I’m really stoked about, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you who’ve been hangin’ around this joint. I’ve been a a big fan of the mag for years now, so having this opportunity to work with Tim and the gang has been a blast.
Space is tight in a physical magazine, so the artist interviews there are often presented in a condensed form. Here on Doom Cycle, we don’t face those same restrictions. So if you’re interested in hearin’ more, ya found the right place. Did I mention the big fuckin’ pictures too? Gotcha covered!
So here’s my interview with the uber-talented Lee Bullock!
Hey Lee! I understand that up until now, you spent your life workin’ and livin’ in the town you grew up in: Austin, Texas. Recently ya packed up everything and split for the country. What prompted such a huge change?
No single incident really. I’ve always loved being in the country, and decided this was as good of a time as there would be. When I make a decision, it snowballs real fast.
After spending 14 years tattooing in Austin, and tattooing folks all over the world, it goes without sayin’ that tattoos have been a big part of your life. Now that your focus has shifted to painting, have ya hung up your guns for good?
I have definitely hung them up for the foreseeable future. They’ll probably come out way too late and way too drunk sometime for party tats, but that’s all I can promise.
So when did ya start developing an interest in art? Who were some of the artists that were blowin’ your mind growin’ up?
I was drawing as early as I can remember. And my folks always put me in YMCA art classes and shot as a child. As a kid, I was into comics, of course, skateboard art in the 80’s, things like that. My influences have honestly gone all over the spectrum. From Sunday comics, to H.R. Giger.
Bikes are a big part of your life. It sounds like if ya ain’t paintin’ ‘em, you’re out ridin’ ‘em. When did that attraction start, and can ya remember the moment when that love affair began?
I’ve always loved motorcycles, and always wanted them. My mom did everything in her power to keep me off them. So much so, that life got in the way and I overlooked it for years. I bought my first “project” bike about 5 years ago, I guess, and have flipped and hustled close to a dozen or more bikes to get where I’m at now.
What are ya ridin’ these days, and are there any project bikes cookin’ that ya wanna tell us about?
I currently have a ‘53 panhead that I built about a year or so ago, and I just finished a ‘56 panhead recently. I also have a modern bike that I paid way too much for, but she just sits in a corner of the shop waiting to get sold.
To me, your paintings are like an old memory. Some parts are fuzzy and hard to recollect, while others are perfectly in focus, like they just happened yesterday. What led to the development of such an awesome combination of styles?
Honestly I’m not sure. After so many years of being told what to produce and how to produce it, with tattoos, I just let myself go now. Some turn out way more detailed than others. Some get pretty abstract. I’m just grateful that people are into it.
Do you recall any particular pieces that helped define your approach?
No not really. I’m not your typical “deep thinking artist”. No profound shit from me about art. I just paint what I dig. Oops, was that profound?
Are there any artists workin’ today that ya really dig?
Fuck man, so many. But I’m probably the worst person with names, and I learned a long time ago from an asshole tattooer, who happened to be right, to not look too hard at other art, or you tend to copy it. I think that’s true. Even subliminally, if you stare at an artists work for too long or too much, next thing you know, your art starts looking more and more like it. So I glance, take a mental note, or follow them on IG for support, and move on to stare at choppers.
In addition to the paintings you put up for sale, you also accept some commissions. What’s the process like for deciding which commissions ya wanna take on?
I do. I’m not a bike snob when it comes to that or anything. People are stoked on their bikes, that’s how it should be. So really when it come to accepting a bike for a commission, the client first off has to not be some pushy dick, then have money, then have high quality images for me to reference. In that order really. And although I keep telling myself I’m going to build a website, I’m still just using Instagram and my email. So that’s the best way to get in touch for a piece.
Do ya have any shows or other cool stuff comin’ up that folks should keep their eyes peeled for?
Well there’s talk of a collaborative show with myself and good friend and photographer Greg Giannukos. It will be held at Chopper Supply Co. up in Fort Worth, Tx, but the dates haven’t been set. Looking forward to it, and if you follow me on IG, I’m sure I’ll plug the ol’ feed up when the time is near.
If you could travel through time, where would you go?
To Tom Fugle, and El Forestero’s clubhouse in the 60’s. Without a doubt.
Thanks a bunch for the interview, Lee! We wish you continued success and look forward to checkin’ out everything you have goin’ on.