I’ve decided to feature something different within my column. I want to introduce our JENESIS readers to creative individuals who catch my eye for their genuine personalities, passion for their craft and all around lifestyle. We all know people like this. It’s those who we may not even know on a personal level but we recognize their ingenuity and drive and have a respect for them because we can relate to it all. “Real recognize Real” kind of says it perfectly. I’ve decided to start with Pittsburgh’s very own, Lucas Stevens. You may know him as “Shantydorm” whether it be through twitter or his photography work. In this interview Lucas talks about his journey so far, how the game is “bogged down with rich kids and swag based brands”, and what it takes to have his respect.
Lucas, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Well my name is Lucas Stevens. I was raised in the great city of Pittsburgh, PA and I currently reside in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, NY. I’ve been living here for about 2 and half years. I love this city and I probably won’t be leaving. I’m a creative person. I guess most people would say I’m a photographer. That is the lane I’ve been doing a lot of work and focusing on for the past years but lately I have started to really just fuck with any creative outlet I can.
You‘re from The Burgh and moved to NYC, what inspired your move?
The move to NYC was super random. I was in Pittsburgh bullshitting around and kind of just floating by. My close friend Ian “Rex Arrow” Wolfson ( known for doing all of Macs and plenty other amazing emcee’s music videos) was living in NYC and had a friend who worked at Vice who needed an intern. They thought I’d be a good fit. I came to visit and took the job all in the matter of a month. I wasn’t doing anything solid in Pittsburgh and I always dreamed of getting to NYC. So I said “fuck it”. I sold mostly everything I had, packed some clothes, my camera, laptop and that was that. I moved into a room in Brooklyn, it was literally a room. I shared a bathroom and had no kitchen. It was wild, but with growing up rough my parents had raised me to be mature and ready for life. I always thought I’d be dead or in jail by 30 so I feel blessed everyday. I love the struggle and journey I’ve had because it makes me who I am. It’s only just the beginning though. Photography changed my life over the past 5 years but it was always there. I just needed to get away from the distractions in Pittsburgh and just live life without anyone’s outside opinion or negativity. I love my life here.
So in a way photography has saved you?
Photography didn’t exactly change my life. I got in a lot of trouble younger and photography gave me something to live for. Having a creative vent. I grew up digging my face in magazine and books. My role models growing up were Aaron Bondaroff and Mos Def. Aaron was a shop kid at Supreme and started The clothing brand “aNYthing”, then later on the art gallery “Oh Wow”. Mos def is an obvious. I always loved practical style. Clothes that marched and represented who you were. I remember years ago people making fun of me for wearing Supreme and rocking leopard print hats and socks, rolling my jeans up & rocking vans. It’s almost funny how everyone now is on it. I was blogging about this shit years ago just as a vent as a creative outlet. Now it’s here. It’s not easy to make a claim in the game in NYC. You gotta work and grind 24:7. Def not easy to get a name here. I used to buy and rock whatever and wasn’t as focused on the purpose or actually backing of a brand. I’m super picky now. If I don’t know you or respect you as a person I definitely won’t wear your clothes. The game is bogged down with rich kids and swag based brands, who are just riding trends and eating off a culture they don’t really live or involve themselves in. For me its always been about the culture the life the way of doing things. I support small businesses and get involved in my community. I don’t judge people on sexuality or race or back ground. I feel like the game is a cool kid fest. Fuck it yeah I’m cool but it doesn’t make me special. I just wanna represent being yourself and being real.
What have you been working on as of lately?
Lots of design work, graphic and physical, pen and paper, marketing and strategy consulting for a couple brands. I have been shooting a lot of photos for small street wear brands but also myself. I like to shoot my life and the way I view my world around me. I constantly wish I shot more but fuck it gotta get money. My main focus lately has been The Decades Hat Company. They’re a small but fast growing hat/street company from Philadelphia. I linked with them about a year ago just from word of mouth and a mutual respect for each others craft and view. They came at me to do a lookbook for them and I was totally with it. From that it stemmed a natural friendship and the gang just grew.
You mentioned having your respect in order to have your support. What does it take for a person/brand to gain that from you?
Staying true, having a real creative purpose, not riding trends and staying true to your basis. I meet a lot of people in NYC who I grew up respecting and thinking were all that. Then I saw they were all snakes and super fake. Most brands just copy the top elite brands and don’t have there own real creative process. I’ve always been about supporting real local brands. Over time things get hyped but the real ones always stay true. Stussy and Supreme are the top dawgs and no matter the hype, they always bring new heat. Nowadays you can watch brands play copy and paste season by season. Everyone’s lookbooks look the same, the colorways, the designs, camo od , leopard od, all black od, etc. As soon as a rapper does something everyone jumps on it, as soon as a top brand does something they jump on it. We live in a new generation of super consumption, no real purpose to clothes and shit. It’s just trends and swag. I think that sucks. I fuck with brands for what they represent and bring to the table not hype. I wanna represent the same thing. Never hype, just real. No matter where I go people fuck with me. Black, White, Rich, Poor, it doesn’t matter. I always keep it real and that is what I expect from a brand as well.
Lucas Stevens Contact Info
Also, make sure to follow the journalist @Melissa_Blythe