Lucy Picasso launches a new line of celebrity totes
We are excited to introduce a new line of original totes by Lucy Picasso. Primarily a painter, Lucy spent the spring revisiting a custom bag practice that she began in 2019 with a sizzling hot dog tote inspired by Hot Dog Daze, our performance at the Lab Theater.
Picasso paints each tote by hand, so they're all one-of-a-kind pieces. Referencing found images from books, friends, and the internet, she puts a contemporary lens on pop culture legends. Her new line stars Prince, Lucille Ball, and Frida Kahlo, among others. Our Gallery staff sat down with her earlier this week to learn more about the inspiration behind it.
You can find the Prince, Lucille Ball, and Frida totes in Lucy's collection.
Gallery: Rumor has it you're named after Lucille Ball. Is that true?
LP: Yea. I named myself after Lucille Ball because I didn't like my full name and I asked my sister if I could change my name to "Lucy" instead of "Louanne." And I absolutely love the Lucille Ball show, and that's why I wanted to draw her. She's my favorite, and she's really funny.
Gallery: What do you think makes her such a great comedian?
LP: The way she acts around Ricky. She acts really funny, and her and Ethel are like a pair.
Gallery: The first tote that you made this spring features Frida Kahlo, and you've painted her a few times before. Can you tell us more about why you're interested in her as a subject?
LP: Frida is my favorite icon. I think she was a beautiful woman. She was an awesome artist when she was alive. The way she put her hair up with flowers, and all of her monkeys and her birds that she had, you know, like, on her shoulders. And all the different necklaces she had—the bone necklace around her that looked like a spider's web. And she had one eyebrow and a mustache.
Gallery: Yea, her facial hair was really distinctive.
LP: And the disabilities she had. She had that accident, and all of a sudden, she like, died from her car accident or illness that she had, and she couldn't walk I think. And she just laid in bed.
Gallery: You've also painted Prince in the past. What made you decide to revisit him as a subject?
LP: Prince is an awesome singer, and he was a great icon to different people.
Gallery: Do you have a favorite song of his?
LP: Yea, "Purple Rain."
Gallery: Is that why your hair is purple?
LP: Yea. Or "Raspberry Beret." I like that one, too. I sing it all the time if it's on the radio.
Gallery: Where do you think people will wear these new bags?
LP: I think they'll be using them with, like, school—they can carry their books in them, or their groceries. Their iPads they can stick in, like groceries or books or paper in there. Anything. Anything they want to use them for.
Gallery: Is there anything else you want people to know about them?
LP: I think they're a fashion statement. I just love doing bags.
Lucy Picasso has practiced at Interact since 2008. Her pop culture portraits reimagine famous works of art, celebrities, and historical figures. As most of her work translates photographic images into paintings, Picasso engages with long-held traditions in portraiture. She has presented work in exhibitions throughout Minnesota, including We Are Not Disposable (2020), Randomland at The White Page (2019), Groundswell at Artspace Jackson Flats (2019), and Work with Your Quirk at the Bridgewater Lofts (2019). You can find more of her work here.
Since 1996, Interact artists and performers have been creating art that challenges perceptions of disability. To support us in this work, you can donate here.
Image descriptions: (1) A collage of three photos, each with artist Lucy Picasso wearing one of her original hand-painted totes. (2) A detail of Picasso's Lucille Ball tote collaged against a checkered background. (3) A detail of Picasso's Frida Kahlo tote against a red and yellow background. (4) A detail of Picasso's Prince tote against a purple, black, and white background.