Agenda NYC 2014: Illustrator Kevin Lyons Talks Murals, New Collabs, and Favorite Brands

Anyone attending Agenda NYC this year was treated to the mural being painted to the far left corner of the auditorium. At the center of it all was illustrator Kevin Lyons, the same genius who helped Mighty Healthy put together a dope 10th anniversary capsule collection not too long ago. We caught up with him in between brush strokes to talk art inspiration, upcoming projects, and a few of his favorite clothing brands.

Images: Brad Clarke

You just did the capsule collection with Mighty Healthy. How did that one come about?
[Mighty Healthy founder] Ray Mate and I are friends, and we have mutual respect for each other. He told me they were doing a 10th anniversary [collection], and asked if I was down to do something for it. I immediately thought about these apple characters that I’ve been doing. Ray has done so many apple tees to the point where you think of an apple when Mighty Healthy comes to mind — similar to the way you think of “punk” for Supreme. I thought it would be fun to do a series of apples that all represent the crew and New York as the Big Apple. It’s funny because the collection is very black and white, since that’s the way the market kind of demands it, but it’s fun to throw in a little color.

With your stuff, it always comes out colorful, bright, and cartoon-inspired. Where does that come from?
It came from everywhere, starting with a childhood filled with Garfield eyes, Jim Henson puppets, and different graffiti characters. Even in present day, I continue to do the simple shapes and characters that are a lot of fun to draw. That’s why I do it.

Let’s talk about this mural you’re doing here at Agenda. Where is this going after?
It belongs to Ray, so it’ll probably wind up in Mighty Healthy’s showroom or the office. I like doing public art that’s on the performance side of live art painting. Not a lot of dudes do that anymore. I also work in watercolors and crink, so I don’t need spray cans. It allows me to work inside. Agenda has turned into the perfect place to show off the medium. I like doing these fast things. There’s no pressure; it’s just fun to do.

What do you have coming up next?
I have two kids collections coming up. One is for Ruff and Huddle out of London, and will include kids bomber jackets and T-shirts. The other is with DC, which will be a snowboard collection. It’ll be jackets and stuff like that. I did the same type of collection for adults before, but this one is strictly for the kids. A big thing we’re doing at Art Basel is the premiere of two skate shoes I did with adidas. That’s the big collaboration I’m preparing for next, so look out for that.

Since we’re at Agenda checking out all the latest apparel, what are some brands that you really love? Past or present.
The first brand I was ever involved with was SSUR. Russell [Karablin] and I go way back, and he’s still trailblazing and doing stuff that people are only thinking about doing now. His old stuff is even being recycled. It’s awesome that he has a contemporary crowd though. I love Loser Machine and Dark Seas, which are the two off brands from Obey. I think they’re quirky and weird in their own way. Now that Obey is pretty much a giant, those two really stand out to me. I’m also a big fan of Hall Of Fame because of the New York roots. Mighty Healthy is a big one too, of course. I’m just psyched to see the new stuff and be a part of it all.

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