Home Team Graphics (US)

Home Team Graphics (US)

J.T. Lucchesi is Home Team Graphics, and, as it happens sometimes, I cannot figure out how, such a talented artist who is around for such a long time does not have much more visibility in the (not that) small rock poster world. As always, I just made a selection of posters but you should definitly go and visit JT's site as every poster always looks even better than the previous one. A warm welcome to the "Team" ;)


...and hello to you. 

Of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you? 

I have been excited about and thoroughly enjoying the Frank Zappa 2012 remasters that have been released. Laid Back Radio from Belgium is always streaming in the office and car as well. 

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you? 

First and foremost I am a family man, I live for my Wife and Son. Aside from that I am a music loving, pork smoking, screen printing, kinda' guy who is just trying to make it through life smiling more than frowning. I'm a halfbreed Southern American who shares blood with the Italians. If you picture a Jersey Shore character with the accent of Jeff Foxworthy, you'd be wrong. I listen more than I talk and I sit more than I walk. Non political. Non religious. I sit in the middle and keep my head low more times than not but I am always looking out for the instances in life that are odd, out of place or out of the ordinary (examples of instances of odd, out of place and ordinary differ from person to person, i'll leave it to up to your imagination). I like reading up on opposing physics theories about the meaning of everything and pretend it makes sense to me. I once flipped a coin on whether I was going to be a chef and keep Art as a hobby or be an Artist and keep cooking as a hobby. I enjoy long walks on the beach, chess by fireside and nude hang gliding (ok, that last one is a lie). I drag recording gear to concerts with the other knuckleheads in Team Dirty South Tapers for the purpose of archiving our musical memories. And honestly, sometimes when i'm alone, I dance to a funky disco Latin beat only I can hear. 

Where are you from? 

Born in a building which is now a School Of Math And Science in Durham but was raised in Chapel Hill, NC. Lived there until 1990 when my family moved to Atlanta. I stayed in Atlanta until 2006 when my Wife and I decided to raise our Son in North Carolina since our roots are from here. 

What do you do? 

Arts and Graphics Whore for Home Team Graphics. Not a cheap streetwalker but not a high end Vegas wallet drainer. I'm the kind'a whore that you build a relationship with, you keep coming back because I'm in it for the Art not your budget. 

When did you start drawing? 

As far back as I can remember. I'd say Ms. Hoppers class in 1st grade is when I fell in love with Art. She was a great lady with 3 fingers that made Art seem magical in a slightly dramatic Mother Goose kinda' way. As corny as that sounds, I was in 1st grade and she had me hooked. 

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks? 

Art class was always my favorite in any school year and yes, most of the notes I took in the other subjects were covered in scribbles, sketches, etc. The ratio of drawings to notes changed more as I grew older especially when going from public school to The Carolina Friends School. I would not have had the freedom to express myself and grow into who I wanted to be in any other school at that time. It was around my freshman year in High School when I knew that I wanted to be either surrounded in Art and/or Music and that there was nothing else I wanted to do or could even imagine myself doing. 

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living? 

I am and have been totally on my own since 2006. For 17 years I worked for a printshop called Ultra Graphics, which sadly does not exist anymore. That place taught me a lot, not just about the complete ins and outs of screen printing but about myself. Work ethic, relationships with clients be-it close friendships to chaotic situations, how to run a business, etc. Leaving that place was hard because I put alot of myself into it I but needed to leave Georgia to better my family's prospects. My Wife is also an Artist but she is more in the realm of fine Arts. She hates computers and works with her hands the most. The move from Atlanta was big because we were both gambling on freelance as sole income in a state that is already saturated with Artists. Its a double edge sword when the people around you that inspire you to do more can be looked at as competition. If I were a businessman this would concern me but I am not and it did not. My flaw so far is that, like a lot of Artists, I do not sell myself well, my methods to get myself "out there" are archaic and am still disorganized but I am learning...I stopped collecting past due invoices with a baseball bat so I guess that can be looked at as progress. Every year gets better. Since I am a Whore, I tend to go where I am needed. I can be working on stuff to be printed on garments one week, designing websites the next, logo work, small simple illustrations for science text books...doesn't matter, don't care, i'll do it. If I can't, fuck it, i'll fake it the best I can. As long as i'm in the field somewhere, i'm happy but my all-time true love is gig posters. 

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly? 

The only time I have ever done mag work was the odd ad or two for a band's tour in 'Relix' or 'Hittin' The Note' though I almost took an Art Director job for an adult skin mag out of Florida. The wife shut that down without blinking and I do not blame her. 

Where does your influence come from? 

Music more that anything. Music has influenced my Art more than other Artists have. Even outside the Art world, music influences my life as a whole. I grew up in a house that always had some form of music playing. My Mother and Father instilled the appreciation of music in me without forcing it on me. I was not made to play an instrument, even though my Father plays guitar and my Mother sings and plays piano, but if there was a song playing with a certain riff or set of lyrics that moved anyone, we would stop silent to enjoy what that person liked about it. Thats how deep it was and still is with me, the love of the right set of notes played together that sounds good in my ear hole. 

Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like... 

Ranging over the years from Lucas Samaras, Dali, HR Giger, Winston Smith, Bob Ross, Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse to Aaron Horkey, Chris Wood, Chuck Sperry, a few of the Mondo Artists, James Flames, Jermaine Rogers, EMEK, Todd Slater, Gregg Gordon, Marq Spusta, Print Mafia(...makes me feel funny in my pants. Love'm!), Methane Studios and lots more. I am leaving a lot out as I tend to recognize the Art more than the Artist. I never made good grades in any Art History class I took. There is also a world of Art I have seen and loved by way of random street Art, Graffiti, guerrilla installations, etc but never known the creators. Most all modern comic book artists as well, some of the covers produced in the last 5 years have been flooring me. As far as animation, the new Black Dynamite has the goods. Really, there is too much to mention if I think about it all. 

What are your influences? 

Aside from music and my family, my influences were always the friends I had around me that were/are Artists as well. More than the Artists mentioned before, it was and always will be the people I know personally who are around me. Over time it was Dylan Stanfield, Bill Guy, Alex Verhoeven, Brad Jenkins, Seth Towe, Evil Roomates Jason & John, Jason Clements, my Wife Megan. Recently it is Chris Williams from Plastic Flame, Ryan Miller from Amplified Art, Tim Lee, Dan Halen from Dantanamo, Jer Warren and a few other locals who keep me on my toes and inspire me. One person before and above all has always held a place in my heart as my true original master guru and he is Slayton Alvin Evans III. The best Artist you have never heard of. He holds more talent and patience in an atom on his pinky than I will ever have in my existence on this planet. I am his biggest fan and whether he knows it or not, I owe it to him in a lot of ways.
Home Team is a "way of life" that I follow that has been a major influence in my life but that is a story for another day. 

What are the principal steps in your work? 

Get client and produce design and deliver product and make client happy and get paid. It depends on the job, depends on the client, depends on the direction if any. Sometimes I have ideas bursting the second I hear the details other times its like pulling teeth and I get it going after a few hours of staring at a blank piece of paper or banging my head on the computer monitor. As far as a set ritual or common steps that i take, there is none. There is with repeat clients because you can usually feel them out after a job or two but from client to client it varies. 

Do you do everything by hand or on computer? 

Both. Once again it depends on the piece and/or client I am working on or with. I look at the computer as a tool like I do the pencil, the pen, brush, etc. Its a tool you are either
comfortable using or not. I tend to use it for fonts more than I should as I tend to suck at hand drawn type, hence it has become a crutch but as far as producing film separations, i'd never go back to stat cameras and rubylift. I always like to draw by hand but I am the first to admit I am messy as hell and the computer helps to clean me up a bit. Outside of posters and such, when your client is paying you by the hour, I go computer as I am also slow by hand. One day I will get one of them fancy tablets with a monitor on them because I have tried the standard art tablets and I can't make it happen. I have to be looking at the area my hand is residing in and not up at a screen. 

How long does it take you to do a poster? 

Longer than most these days. My wife and I survived a massive car wreck almost 2 years ago and we were beat to hell and back. Along with other injuries we sustained, my right hand had various fractures and my left hand wanted to exit the car through the windshield leaving some much needed tendons behind. I went almost a year before drawing half decent again and over a year till I was pulling ink without major pain. Printing became therapy in building strength back in my hands. 

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it? 

To answer this I will defer you to my Art Whore statement. Personally I like it when there are no guidelines and I know the client is up for anything, that is when I'm happiest but I will strive to satisfy anyone who come to me for my services to help them with anything even if I can do it or not. I have produced designs for the likes of Delta Airlines and major sports teams all the way to Mother's Day shirts being sold in strip clubs and colors for the ATL Crips and Bloods. Art for music is where all the love is though. Its my Alpha, its my Omega. 

For which bands have you already worked for? 

The bulk of my poster work has been with Widespread Panic, Ween, Outformation, Lefty Williams Band, Wayside Riders, Bloodkin, Leftover Salmon and a bunch of others along with lots of one-offs. For a while, years ago, I produced digital prints for promotion for Jomo Entertainment out of the old Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA. Josh Moore who ran it, opened the door to me to help promote a lot of the shows for that venue like the Meters, David Byrne, Bruce Hornsby and lots more big and small. Widespread Panic was the first band I made a concert poster design for (1998). My buddy Greg Hewlett (CheezeFrog), who now owns StopGo Printing out of Chattanooga, and I printed and sold "lot shirts" to help fund our ticket, blank tapes and touring fees in the early 90's. We would stay under the radar by giving the band's crew a dozen or so before tour (pre-Home Team era). I think it was the fact that the band was not big enough to be able to fully police the lots for bootleg merch that they hired us to print some merch legit for them. Working with WSP was my beginning in gig posters and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with them and to the fans that paid good money for prints so I could afford to stand next to them at the shows. Being a fan of the bands you do work for is the cherry on top. 

For which band would you love to work? 

Ween! I wish they would get back together for the fact that they are open to any crazy design you can think of and for the reason that they just flat out rock. I love me some Ween night or day. Widespread Panic is always a favorite but I seem to have forgotten the recipe for the designs they like. I would have loved to produce a print for Frank Zappa but alas I was born too late but I made a digital print for promotion for Project Object and Ike Willis liked it so much he hugged me. To be hugged by Joe from Joe's Garage was and will always be a monumental moment in my life. But as fas as a band I have never worked for, it would be Andrew And The Disapyramids or DEVO. 

Do you choose the artists yourself? 

I am the only Artist at Home Team Graphics but have worked with Jason Clements and Brad Jenkins on a few posters. My Wife is asked for her 2 cents from time to time so I will include her as well. Lately I would love to do a colab or two with Chris Williams/Plastic Flame, Jeff Wood/Drowning Creek or Jermaine Rogers for example but Chris churns out prints like a belt-fed machine gun and I do not know Mr. Rogers personally and am probably too small of a fish for his or Jeff's pond. I am open to print for or with any Artist though. 

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster? 

Feeling out the client can be sometimes. Some clients you can score home runs with everytime and some you have to redo, redo, redo and pull the damn ideas out of their skulls that they can't seem to convey to you verbally. Its not that its difficult as I have gotten used to it over the years. The "client" can be a funny little animal sometimes, its just a matter of cracking their code to get the look they are after. This is why I like it when they are open to anything. 

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else? 

No as I tend to be a hermit these days I do not, even though I do have much respect for all the local ink slingers. I don't believe in scenes as much as I do communities and even then it is so open its more like a world than a community. Sure, the print community differs from the graffiti culture which differs from the ascii art scene which differs from the photographers, sculptors and the mountain crafters, etc but collectively we are all doing the same thing with the same goal: to produce Art in some form or another for self satisfaction or for the pleasure of others. 

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life? 

All my work can be found at http://the-home-team.org and for anyone interested in what Home Team is can go to http://hometeamnet.org In person, you can find some of my prints at Amplified Art Gallery in Raleigh, NC.http://www.amplifiedgallery.com
The best praise you received lately? 

My Son said I was the coolest. Best praise ever! 

What can we wish you for the future? 

Hopefully more and more prints since I have ink for blood. I'd also like to dabble in music based sculpture and design a skateboard or two but we will see. 

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !! 


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