You may have noticed the awesome artwork on the cover of the Lucky Peach ‘Seashore’ issue. The man responsible for the groovy cover, Robert Beatty, is an intriguing character. Food often manifests itself in his art—whether its a graphic ice cream sandwich melting onto a record, or a soda can covered in dew drops—so we decided to chat with Beatty about his creative process, interest in music, and superhero fantasies.
What subject matter inspires your artwork?
Vintage Graphis design and illustration annuals, nature, animation, brutalist architecture, Jorge Luis Borges, spam Twitter accounts, Tadanori Yokoo, Polish and Czech film posters, and pretty much everything else that crosses my path.
How has music shaped your work? Describe your connection with it.
Music is everything to me. Obsessively listening to it, making it, looking at it, and researching it has made me the artist I am today.
Your work has this futuristic, atmospheric, and psychedelic feel to it—what does this stylistic approach achieve conceptually for you?
I generally just let things flow and try not to think about them too much until it’s all done. I’m definitely interested in otherworldly and transitional states—be that depicting motion, transformation, passages from one time, place, or state of matter to another.
Do you have any rituals when you do art?
I am always obsessively collecting images, movies, and music to take inspiration from.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
If I could cut off parts of my body and have them generate clones like an earthworm I think I could get a lot more done.
What is your workspace like?
It’s a small room filled to the brim with art books, art supplies, 3 desks. Everything is stacked ceiling to floor with recording, video, and musical equipment, most of which would be considered archaic by most people’s standards. My computer is almost 10 years old and I still use a CRT monitor because I think the colors look better.
What are some of your favorite labels?
Lately I’ve been really impressed with everything coming out on the RVNG Intl. label. They’ve been reissuing some amazing obscure records and putting out some great new stuff as well.
The Lucky Peach cover is rad. Do you have a personal connection with coastal life and the seashore?
Not really. Growing up in Kentucky I didn’t even see the ocean until I was in my 20s. I enjoy the beach, but haven’t really spent too much time there. I’d like that to change someday.
Is this your first work for Lucky Peach?
Yup, although it’s been in talks for a couple years now. I did a record cover a few years back for Spectre Folk, which is a band that editor Peter Meehan plays in.
Tator tots or nachos?
I’d say I eat tots more than nachos. Some combination of the two would be a million dollar idea.
What is your favorite food memory?
I went to Beijing a few years back and the food there blew my mind. I was totally confused and overwhelmed by everything I ate, which was a good thing.
What do you enjoy cooking at home?
My go-to is lentils and rice. I’m a workaholic, so I generally make something that I can just eat for days so I don’t have to think about what to eat.
Did you eat your vegetables as a kid?
Not as much as I should, but I love lima beans and brussels sprouts.
What would be your last meal on earth?
Probably the perfect burger and fries.