Lucas Harmon, better known on social media as ‘1999flyboy,’ is a 21 year old digital artist from outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. He’s currently residing in Savannah, Georgia where he studies at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Harmon’s work is very cohesive, as he creates a number of eye-catching characters always displayed in front of a white background. He tells us that these characters are all “metaphors for how [he’s] feeling at the moment.” Read our full interview with Harmon below in which we discuss his artistic beginnings, inspirations, his future, and more.
How long have you been making art? And have you seen yourself evolve as an artist over time?
I’ve been making art as long as I can remember honestly, my mother was an artist/photographer all her life. She taught me art therapy at a young age because I used to be a pretty shy kid, and sometimes saying things with pictures or images helped me communicate more than my words could, which led me to be who I am today. I have definitely seen myself evolve over the years, going from simple linework doodles to digitally painting my work, and even animating it at times. I have always had a fascination with exaggerated facial expressions in a way, though, so that’s always been a constant theme in my work.
Who/what are your greatest artistic inspirations?
Well my parents showed me Ralph Steadman, Ed Roth, and Gary Larson really early on, and I would watch a lot of older cartoons, so I believe those had the biggest impact on me. I did however fall in love with music, which is probably why I ended up adding quotes to everything I do. And I think the metaphors in a lot of music led me to be able to use metaphors artistically in the way I do. Especially artists like Mac Miller, Lucki, Earl, and basically everyone else who was able to voice their life story in a beautiful way.
One of the first things I remember seeing from you was the Nike shoes you transformed, turning the iconic swoosh logo into a happy character. Can you tell me about this project? Have you been doing any more fashion design work?
[Laughs]. That was fun. My friend had a pair of the Travis Scott Air Force 1s with the replaceable patches, so I had some patches custom made that I reworked for the shoes. People seemed to like them, so I had originally planned to find a way to create a small collection of them, but never ended up getting to it. I really enjoyed seeing that come to life though. I have played with a couple shoes since, but nothing as cool as those in my opinion. As for clothing, I have been making T-shirts with my friend Casey casually for a while now. I worked in a T-shirt shop when I was in high school, so I’ve always kind of made clothes as a side hustle. Besides that, I am still looking for more ways to apply my art into different fields though, it’s always a fun process to stretch your work’s boundaries.
Your drawings lately all have a similar vibe to them – a small character on a white background. Do these characters all coexist in the same world in your head?
In a way they do. They’re all metaphors for how I’m feeling at the moment, so they’re like songs to me in a way, if that makes sense. They capture a particular feeling for me, so I guess they exist in the same world in the way that it is like the story of my life experiences through my eyes. It’s pretty cool to see people connect to them though. I’ve gotten messages about how certain ones have made people feel less alone in the feeling I illustrated, which I feel is the most beautiful thing that could happen from an artwork. It makes me feel less trapped in my head too.
What’s your ideal future as an artist? What’s your ultimate goal?
I would love to be in a position where I could make the art I enjoy and live comfortably, so I would be able to create enough of an audience to support myself off of my personal work. My ultimate goal overall though is to perfect my style and be able to create work that touches people.