Sit by Lomaho Kretzmann at a dive bar anywhere and ask him how he’s doing. He’ll likely respond a little too honestly—depending on your sensibilities—and tell you about his latest fantasy which may involve diamond-clad casualties by bad guys in Adidas tracksuits. If he’s had enough rosé, he may tell you he likes getting lost in the dark better than sex, and if you’re a fringe-of-society type, you’ll likely find your doppelganger in his next piece. But don’t give yourself too much credit; Lomaho’s affinity for all that is nasty/alluring started before he met you or that bottle, back when Prodigy dominated the airwaves and the FCC’s grip was pretty damn lax.
Whether he’s being serious or painfully tongue-in-cheek is hard to tell sometimes. He purposely misspelled David Hockney in this interview. Shit like that is chuckle-worthy, and Lomaho loves a good chuckle.
Foul South: So Lomaho, who the hell are you and where did you come from?
Lomaho Kretzmann: "Navajo, Hopi, German. I was born in Denver, Colorado on Mother’s Day, 1990. I didn’t go anywhere special, public schools mostly. I attended a private institution once, accredited too, in the low country of all places. I even got a degree! It’s mostly useless, but it’s pretty and it has my name on it. It rests in a gilded frame, above eye level and a little to the left of where I’m typing. If you can believe it, don’t even doubt. It has my full name on it: Lomaho, which means 'perfect arrow,' Colton 'from the dark town,' and I don’t know what Kretzmann means, but it’s definitely German, Jewish maybe."
FS: What inspires your subject matter? Your shit ranges from 90s action heroes to seedy back alley scum-- why?
LK: "Remnants of time, place, culture, history, all the shit and piss I see on the street, in movies, in print, on my Apple iPhone, everything. I’m always knee deep in some second hand entrails, sorting through and searching for new connections, new sounds, and old feelings. It’s exhausting, but I lose myself in it. It’s not dissimilar to when I was a kid, running through the video store grabbing whatever caught my eye or rummaging through older brother’s things looking for CD’s and magazines. What I think is cool is very much influenced by the visual culture I was raised in and those teenage, prepubescent feelings attached to it. The seedy back alley scum element is a byproduct of what I’m attracted to, but afraid to embed myself in. Instead of actively participating in anything too dangerous or freaky I prefer to fantasize about it, romanticize it, surround myself by it, and take myself out of it to visually depict it. I keep my distance because I’m a secret wuss, just a poser really. I could never be as wild at heart and weird on top as my arsonist, drug dealer, stripper, or biker buddies, but I wish I were, so I depict what they like and hope they accept me anyways. It’s all just a ruse to get fun, interesting people to spend time with me and share their jokes, stories, and ideas with me. I like to be provocative and antagonistic, but in the end I want to be regarded as a professional, successful, maybe have a wife, a kid, a house and all that other hoopla."
FS: Your lines are controlled and fluid-- which artists inspire your technique?
LK: "I’ve been looking at other artists less and less these days; especially ones that are working now and that do similar things as me. I love everything CF does and I envy him the most. Aiden Koch is another favorite. I love looking at etchings, Goya’s and Durer’s. David Hockey has some good ones. I love RB Kitaj, Henry Darger, Francis Bacon, and Peter Blake. I usually like whoever Andrew Richardson’s featuring. I used to copy Suehiro Maruo a lot, mostly his bugs and birds. When I was a kid I used to trace X-Men and even made my own composite comic. I think it was mostly Wolverine saying things like “It’s time to meet my crazy claws!” I convinced myself that the girl I liked would love me better than anyone else if I learned how to draw every Pokémon; I filled notebooks with them, trying to memorize every line. Endlessly. She never asked me to perform my feat but it’s probably left the biggest impression on my technique."
FS: What’s your dream commission piece?
LK: "As of late, I’ve been blessed to have commissions where I’m able to pretty much do whatever I want. I want some patrons, some rich benefactors to invest in my work that doesn’t even exist yet. That way I could really focus and find out just exactly what it is I want to paint."
FS: Fair enough. If you could show your work anywhere, where would it be and why? What would the atmosphere be like?
LK: "New York City, in a big open space. Mostly for the validation and to say, “fuck you” to everyone. I’ve always had this fantasy of having these big paintings in this ultra formal setting, diamonds, fur coats, champagne and having a friend of mine ride through on a motorcycle stopping to do circle burnouts in front my paintings until they’re all obscured by a thick cloud of white smoke. Motor sounds interspersed by piercing screams and breaking glass as masked men in Adidas track suits descend from the ceiling and take everything from everybody, waste a few normies, and help me fake my own death."
FS: Piercing screams and thick smoke sound about right. America is on fire in several ways-- why do you think your work is relevant to what’s going on in our country?
LK: "I’ve always felt marginalized and that my values weren’t represented politically or socially, so the current American atmosphere isn’t new to me. I’ve learned to cope and play along. We did just have the stupidest election and the stupidest candidate managed to win, but I don’t think things are going to be any less of a shit show than they usually are. I used to think old white values would die with old white people, but now I think their legacy will be an everlasting American fixture. As far as my artwork fits into all of this, I’m not really sure. I don’t like to contextualize my work and see it as the most frivolous thing I do. I’m obsessed with pop culture, sub culture, and the fantasy of the American way, the open road, and the rugged individualist, but I’ve always known it was a lie and a scam and I don’t think it ever existed outside of outlaw biker clubs and other outsider communities. If any of these ideas leak into my artwork, it’s not something I’m doing consciously. It feels good to have a fatalistic attitude and a pessimistic worldview that is constantly reaffirmed. Unless something like the 1992 Los Angeles Riots happen, I’m mostly uninterested in what takes place outside of my room. People suck, society stinks, leave me alone."
FS: Describe your process.
LK: "For my recent paintings, I refer to lists I make of things I’d like to paint-- subjects, logos, typography, artists, paintings, excerpts etc. I think about what would look good together and what hidden messages or personal connotations I could sublimate into each object. I want all the elements to relate to each other, but I’m not concerned with it being clear to the viewer. I know I’m using loaded imagery and what other people bring to it is unimportant to me. When I have a clear picture in my head, I pull each object up on the computer, and I start penciling them out. I’ve always been good at copying so I don’t usually have to trace, but sometimes I do, just to get the scale right and map out where the edges are. When I do this I just hold the paper up to the screen and make an outline, dot the eyes. From there it’s just straight observation and trying to replicate the lines and textures. That’s what it mainly is to me, texture practice. Pure tech.
For my real paintings I have to psyche myself up for them. They’re scary. I don’t know what’ll come out so I just have to follow my intuition. For these I don’t like to use the Internet as a reference tool-- everything in my paintings are made up or based off of something in my sketchbook. I haven’t made many and I’m still learning how to get over the anxiety of starting them, but once I start it’s hard to stop.
The ink drawings and illustrations are easy. They don’t take longer than a day or two when I know what I want to draw. When I can’t think of anything I just doodle until something strikes me, or wait for something to pop in my head at work or wherever. I’m very patient in the penciling stage and I don’t mind drawing something a dozen times until it has the curve or shape I want. Once the pencils are done I ink and I only use a brush. If I mess something up or don’t like something I bust out the light table and pencil it the right way, ink that and plop it on top in the computer. Most people are only interested in the digital image, the file, so it’s okay if the actual object has white out all over it and comes in pieces. The light table and the computer have made me very unafraid when it comes to drawing and inking, there’s no permanence so there is no risk. I’ve always preferred to make black marks with a brush and for a long time, it was very important to me to have the sharpest and most fluid lines and I practiced constantly. It’s more comfortable for me than writing. It just takes practice and a little GGT. Nothing special."
FS: If you could do a collaboration with any living artist in any field, who would it be and why?
LK: "Someone rich and famous. Similar to what Wes Lang did with Kanye, it seemed to work out really well for him. It’s helped him arrive at what I’d call an ideal life."
FS: Oh the 'ideal life.' What’ve you been working on in the meantime?
LK: "For my commissions and collaborative efforts I have two shirts, two paintings, and two mix tapes. Those will all be done by the end of December. After that I’m going to focus on my own stuff for a while. I have three more logo paintings planned out, and that’ll be the end of those I think. I want to do a series, build a new body of work based off of what I started doing two years ago like the one with the pistol in the corner and the punker lumbering down the sidewalk, but twice the scale. Busier. I’d love to do crazy oil paintings again, even bigger still. I’d like to move again. I have some vague plans, but I’ll just go wherever opportunity takes me. Another zine."
FS: What’ll be etched on your hypothetical gravestone?
LK: "ROLLING COAL IN HEAVEN"
FS: You’re drinking?
LK: "Rosé straight out the bottle, or Colorado Kool-Aid."
FS: List ten songs on your playlist this month.
LK: Tonetta – A Little At A Time
Flight – Goodbye Horses
Shirley Thomas – I’m A Lonely Cowgirl
Jeff & Jane Hudson – Fat Of The Land
Sade – The Sweetest Taboo
Mark Stewart – Pay It All Back
The Shaftmen - Shaftman (Delta 9 Remix)
Nasenbluten – Intellectual Killer
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – American Girl
Beach Boys – In My Room
FS: You got a couple of uplifting ones on there. What else cheers you up when you’re feeling low?
LK: "Ketamine was a real game changer. Music has saved my life a couple times. You can tell when I’m feeling extra bad because that’s usually when I make mixes for myself. I get really obsessive about it. When I make them I’m not just choosing songs that I like, I’m trying to weave together a narrative and create a cohesive body of symbols and sounds. Testing them out on the street is part of the ritual too. I love to do a Rumspringa when the sun goes down. Nighttime naturally lends everything a mysterious and ethereal quality and it’s easier to feel like a ghost when no one is around. After a while, everything feels small and inconsequential. Getting lost in the dark and finding my way is my favorite thing. Making mixes is second. Painting is third. Sex is okay, but it doesn’t tickle my brain stem as my much as the first three, so it’s not really worth mentioning, is it?"
FS: Tell us a secret.
LK: "I’m a virgin."