we spoke to the graffiti artist behind the defaced kim kardashian mural
i-D talked to Lush Sux about his latest work, his role in its defacement and plans for a follow up.
All images via @lushsux
It hasn't been a great month for female focused street art in Melbourne. First the Northcote women's mural was defaced by Nost, and now Cremorne's instantly iconic Kim Kardashian nude-selfie piece has been vandalised.
The three story mural was based on Kim's recent self-published naked portrait, and from the moment it appeared it was huge mainstream news. The piece was completed by Melbourne graffiti artist Lush Sux—Mark Walls to his mum—and was reported across international media outlets. The work was initially well received, and became a popular selfie spot within hours. Some fans even ventured to attempt their own on-site nude selfies to honour its creation and muse.
But within 24-hours of the piece going up, an unknown individual scrawled "slut" across it, bringing the Instagram friendly Kim/street art/nudity love-fest to an end. Now conversation has soured significantly, not only over the public display of misogyny, but Lush's role in it the whole ordeal. Soon after news of the new graffiti layer spread, people began suggesting that he did it to his own piece for publicity.
When i-D called Lush to get his take on the whirlpool that has opened up around him, he admitted that it wasn't exactly a surprise, "I saw Kim's original post and I just thought, 'I've got to paint that'. Maybe it was just for attention."
While the global coverage was a surprise, he was less shocked by someone tagging his work in this way. "I was a little bit bummed out, but it was a given," he explained, although he noted the venomous addition of slut was a surprise, "I never thought that would have happened to that extent."
Considering Lush admitted that the original intention of the work was to grab attention, it's not a huge jump to suggest he'd have added the most recent adornment to keep the media frenzy going. "That's a logical conclusion, but I didn't do it," he told i-D, "to be honest, I would have like to have done it, but not the same night it was finished. Judging from my history, I've done similar things—but this time I didn't have to." It's worth mentioning Lush stressed he wouldn't have chosen a to add misogynistic slur.
When pressed for a more rounded defence he continued, "It doesn't make sense to not let people go down and take photos with it. It was there for eight hours and it was already damaged," destroying it so soon, as he said, "wouldn't be in my interest."
He clearly feels like he's hit on a lucrative subject. At the time of our chat this afternoon he was boarding a plane to Sydney where he plans to execute his follow up, "I'm going to go paint another one. It's gonna be the selfie she took after that selfie that addressed the whole controversy. I think it makes sense to paint that as well."
At the beginning of this strange story he admits he had little opinion on Kim—beyond her being a convenient vessel to draw attention. But basking in her reflected glow does seem to have warmed him. Before hanging up, we asked what he thought of his unlikely partner in infamy. He paused for a moment before concluding, "I think she's cool, she does her own thing, she's got her empire." At least that's one thing we can be sure about.
Text Wendy Syfret
Images via @lushsux