Lafe Eaves is anything but a new face around White Walls and The Shooting Gallery. Yet for someone who experiences his work for the first time many questions arise: how does a wolf devour the sun? How does this bear-like creature see with all those worms in his eyes?
Luckily, Ryan Shaffer gets to the bottom of Lafe’s bizarre imagery in this exclusive interview . Read on for the final word on dead squirrels, Lafe’s legal name, and the effects of LSD on religion.
Ryan Shaffer: Alright, state your name.
Lafe Eaves: Harley Lafarrah Eaves.
And you’re from where?
St. Louis, Missouri.
How long have you been in SF?
I’ve been in San Francisco I think about 3 years now.
Do you like rhubarb pie?
No but werewolf cakes are good.
So maybe you should mention your show coming up in San Francisco pretty soon. When is it?
It’s July 11th at White Walls, the upstairs part the annex at the Shooting Gallery.
Gallery Three, it’s called?
Oh yeah, Gallery Three. Yeah I’m retarded.
Cool. What’s the work about?
It’s kind of going over three different things. Basically there’s some alchemy/dark magic going on in there, old world beliefs as far as like religious concerns and shit. Although it’s not religious themed at all so maybe four themes, and then there’s a lot of psychedelia going on too.
Where do these themes stem from? What are some of your interests?
I always liked hanging out in the woods and taking drugs when I was younger. So, I think this show stems from that kind of stuff.
As I’ve gotten older I like to listen to books like Harry Potter on tape… trying to transcribe to this shit in life, but mostly just eating LSD.
How have your works evolved since you’ve moved out to San Francisco?
I’ve lived out here for about 3 years now. Since then it’s gotten more serious, there’s definitely no longer this one line joke. There’s a little bit more going on within the drawings themselves and I’ve tried to up my game.
What are the mediums you’re using?
Number 2 mechanical pencils, acrylics, gouache, and Micron 005’s.
It seems like there’s a split in this collection of work: half drawings and half paintings.
The drawings for sure have more to do with the alchemy and wilderness aspects. Then there’s heavy influences from Robin O’Neil, Albert Ger, Ryan Schaffer, Curve… anybody else I’ve forgotten, you guys are in there too.
What kind of music do you listen to that may influence your art? I know you read a lot- are there any literary influences as well?
Yeah HP Lovecraft is definitely up in there and weirdly enough the story of Dinosaur Jr. The riff between Lou Barlow and Jay Masses about the uncertainty in your friendships and your life, kind of hating each other and loving each other at the same time.
I think that’s a pretty powerful thing that’s constantly reoccurring in my work within my own self reflecting on doubts and whatnots and the way I feel about living out here, I guess.
Let’s talk about the animals in your drawings and paintings.
All of them have some kind of specific meaning for the viewer to figure out on their own. I don’t want to spoil anything but I prefer to draw animals just because there’s no race or creed involved in any of their aspects.
Like an ambiguity to it?
Yeah, but I’ve noticed the bears without ears- the ones with those worms in their eyes- they’re looking like pretty awful people. In that aspect, those are clear influences from a guy named Adam Yoder who’s this kid I grew up with and who was in this print collective with me.
What is this art collective you were in?
Blue Ribbon Press. It was a print collective when I was still in school that kind of imploded onto each other through the amount of drugs and alcohol that we were taking. I guess it was fun while it lasted.
Do you have anything else coming up after this?
I have no plans whatsoever, I guess this is it… I don’t know maybe shoot up whiskey!
Alright then, tell us about the “squirrel story” real quick.
The squirrel story? Alright for sure.
When I was a wee bitty tike my pops took me squirrel hunting and I didn’t quite understand what happens when you kill something to get meat. When you shoot an animal it’s not going to come back to life and that’s how you get meat.
I think my pop shot four or five squirrels and as I’m carrying them home in a bag, they’re bloody but I kind of make friends with them. When we got back to the house he started skinning them and cutting them up and I’m like ‘what the fuck are you doing? Oh my god, what’s going on? We’re going to eat these things?’
To make me feel better about it, he made puppets out of their hides and was like ‘it’s okay to eat us Lafe.’
It’s had a profound effect on my life. I think I was pretty bummed about it for a couple years but I got over it and that seems to have effected how I view the world, it’s like one dark joke after another.
And finally, why do you say like so much?
Because I moved out to San Francisco and I want to be hella hyphy!
Be sure to stop by Gallery Three on July 11th for the opening of “And a Wolf Shall Devour the Sun.”