Taji's Mahal - Hanging Out with the Stale Bagel
For this week's Mahal, I got to catch up with artist Jayme Lemperle. We have been skating together for years, and he even drew me a really cool Ryan Sheckler portrait for VICE's Full Bleed column a while back. Since then, he has continued to update his site, Stale Bagel, on the daily. Below is bunch of his drawings and our chat.
Every Halloween, he dresses up like Mozart and skateboards around the city.
VICE: Where are you from and what's it like there?
Jayme Lemperle: I grew up in Staten Island and moved to Arizona when I was 13. Eventually, I moved back to New York when I was 18. Arizona was awesome because it never rained. It was perfect growing up while getting to skateboard everyday of the year. In New York, I didn't really grow up anywhere cool. I grew up in Staten Island. I feel like everyone knows everyone there and people rarely leave. You're kind of stranded there. You go to Manhattan as a kid, and it is a totally different world and yet it's suppose to be a part of this five borough city. It's like its own world over in Staten.
How did drawing come into play within that journey?
I got into drawing because of my lack of concentration in grammar school. What better way to pass the time than to draw into the middle of your composition notebooks while the teacher is giving a lesson?
How did you end up making drawing your hustle?
It started out in Pheonix with my high school's booth at the artwalk that me and my friend Simone did together. I did drawings for a dollar and would make like $80 in a night because people would be psyched and give me more than a dollar, but a lot of people would always be like, "draw me," and it would be irritating. So I would draw them like kind of fat and doing something weird. They wouldn't be as psyched, but their friends would think it was hillarious. Sometimes I would make it look nothing like them and not even try to draw them at all or draw something different. I started out in the hustle a little shit, I suppose. Through my high school, I got into Artone Gallery and sold paintings and was doing pretty well.
You told me a while ago that Tyler the Creator contacted you to draw him something. What was that all about?
I was on my way to the hosiptal after breaking my foot and I got an email from him that read, "I'm Tyler the Creator, can you draw me riding an ostrich? I'll send you $$$." I thought I was delusional. Everyone was like "you should ask him for like a lot of money, he is Tyler the Creator." He ended up saying he would pick a random number and Paypal me. When I asked for his address, he called me a cock face and then hooked up the payment. It was awesome.
How did you get involved with Rip and Dip Clothing?
My friend, Nick Zizzo showed Ryan O'connor from Rip and Dip my art and ever since then I've been doing stuff for him. I couldn't be more psyched working for anyone else. He really helped me a lot with my artwork. I was doing Stale Bagel and getting a slow following, but felt like I was fizzling out almost like a hasn't been instead of a has been. [laughs]
How do you keep coming up with funny stuff to draw? What is your process like?
I would say that being bilingual gives me a different outlook on language. I kind of analyze things I hear or see and think of other meanings.
What is your plan for 2013?
In 2013, I plan to go on a permanent vacation while working for Rip and Dip. Also, my dad is opening a vegan restaurant in Vegas that I'll be helping out with. Other than that, I just want to hang out at my friends new shop, The Good Company at 97 Allen Street.
Good plan. My last question: What's the Mozart thing all about?
Since i was six, I have been obsessed with Mozart. It's almost all I listen to other than Das EFX. I want to be buried in a powdered wig.