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The Ubiquity of Lefty Out There

Words:

Edd Norval
April 13, 2022

Lefty Out There is definitely getting his work out there. There, being everywhere. That’s the beauty of his illustrative designs. They can and do cover any surface, not bound by or limited to many physical constraints, his ‘marks’ cover canvas and wall alike in the most organic of ways.

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It’s hard to describe exactly what Lefty Out There’s work looks like. If nothing else, it is very simple, usually a couple of colours, with varying tones. One way to think about it is like the sensation that you get when you scrunch your eyes together -  a lens full of ‘floaters’. Well, imagine those, but in colour. Or, imagine looking through a microscope at a petri dish, filled with bacteria. Somewhere in between those, an image of his work can be formed.


One thing that ties his designs together is the idea of looking, of seeing. He likes to cover a lot of surfaces, in a kind of illusory psychedelic way, where each cell of each painting feels like one cog in a vast machine of something that’s working away, otherwise invisible, like he just zoomed in thousands of times on a surface to expose the minutiae of the bacteria living there. They're kinetic, connected, living.

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Whilst these comparisons to bacteria might sound bad, it’s not, it’s just the closest thing to the art that he makes. The artist himself refers to his shapes as ‘squiggles’, a sort of safe and gentle word that could easily downplay the true power of the things that he’s doing.


In one sense, this description is apt. There’s a childlike quality to his work, something natural, expressive, free-form. His multidisciplinary pieces are intuitive, yet likewise intricate. Nothing feels random or out of place, but interlinked in a way so as to feel absolutely necessary in the construction of a holistic piece. 


The theme of repetition, a concept first meshed out in his native Chicago, where the artist took to the streets to develop his ‘squiggles’, are like a visual mantra, a repetitive movement that becomes imbued with some sort of spiritual dimension due in large part to the trance-like state that the artist enters when working. The separation between artist and art quickly dissolves.

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Beginning to experiment with different structures and materials, the artist has incorporated LED and digital design alongside integrating various new styles of abstraction and geometry, all of which are pulled together in his constantly evolving visual language.


Having his work appear in unexpected places is important. Part of the appeal of street art to Lefty Out There is the multiple possibilities that it allows people to be confronted with. Something that they might not otherwise have consciously chosen to engage with, as the artist said, “If anything, street art is like a pop-up ad and that’s what I love about it.”


Equilibrium and balance are communicated through his work when the ‘squiggles’ begin to seem like an ancient alphabet or esoteric symbols, all representative of something greater, a subconscious manifestation of catharsis. In seeking to cover everything, including the interior of his own mind, with his art, Lefty Out There is engaging in a primitive battle of creating a legacy, building a new insular language with which to understand and navigate the world through his own eyes.

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