Laro Lagosta, the Sneaker Illustrator Instagram Deserves

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Laro Lagosta is a sardonic illustrator with a knack for taking the piss out of sneakerheads. That’s not a shot – his work is only cutting because it comes from a place of love, and gives us a chance to laugh at the stupid things we do and buy.

Those who keep up with sneaker Instagram will have seen his work. Whether it was a hypebeast caricature that hit too close to home, current releases imagined in odd locations or (most likely) a sentient skeleton reflecting on life as a sneakerhead, there’s every chance you’ve double-tapped one of Laro’s illustrations. What you're not privy to is the artist’s views on everything from Black Panther to sneakers that look like boobs. We dropped a line to probe these pressing subjects.

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Your posts are dark, critical, and hilarious. Why is it so fun to take the piss out of sneakerheads?
Thank you! If someone gets pissed off it wasn’t my intention and he/she probably didn’t understand the point. I laugh about frustrations, desires, conflicts within a culture that means so much for some people — me included — but is completely ignored and insignificant to others. You've gotta be able to criticise and sometimes be sceptical of everything, even about the things you love.

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What’s your favourite sneaker meme you've created?
For me, one of the best that I’ve created is the one with the Yeezy Boost 700, Balenciaga Triple S, Louis Vuitton Archlight and the Middle-Ages era torture device for the feet with a rattle. I asked people to pick one; they’re three controversial shoes, so I was sure that a lot of people would choose the torture shoe just to show how much they hate the other ones. It’s funny, some really like them — others hate them so much they would rather be tortured. It caused a lot of discussion and interpretations of the same image. That’s the kind of reaction I like.

It feels like your account went into overdrive recently. What sparked the output?
Things changed when I focused on the subjects I really like and can speak on. Before that, there was a lot of experimentation and figuring out what I was really good at capturing and representing as an illustrator. The memes were the spark because people started to share them a lot. It's like I found a megaphone to speak to a community that understands me.

Do you ever experience the illustrator’s equivalent of writer’s block? What happens when you do?
No, because I don’t stop thinking until I get to something — you get a block if you give up or start to stress. There is always an answer if you don’t give up. If you really can’t get to a point, change direction and you should find the way.

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What type of sneakers does Patrick Bateman wear?
Damn, Patrick Bateman is one of my favourite movie characters ever: I love American Psycho. If it were today, he would be wearing running shoes like Nike's Zoom Vaporfly as they're best for chasing people with a chainsaw. But if he stuck to the look in the movie, definitely the Nike Air Monarch IV.

Which Playstation character would have the best sneaker collection?
The GOAT, CJ from GTA San Andreas. He’d cop everything from ProLaps and Sub Urban.

You’ve said your favourite things to draw are skeletons and boobs. Which sneaker looks most like a skeleton,and which looks most like boobs?
Like a skeleton, Nike Vapormax Flyknit, and like a boob, Nike Zoom Flight 95.

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When was your first big break?
I don’t feel it ever happened. Things are slowly and steadily evolving into something better.

In your Maybe series, you questioned whether working really hard would mean you could make a living from drawing. Are you there yet?
Not yet, but I’m getting there. If I can’t make it, it’s all good. I’ll never give up drawing.

Which brand is most fun to draw and why?
Supreme, most definitely. It’s the most controversial, there’s a lot of hate and love. There is always something about Supreme that causes social media to react — that’s perfect for creating something new.

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You're an avid critic of sneaker culture. What do you think is something that sneakerheads focus on too much, and something they don't focus on enough?
Not only sneakerheads, I think everyone should better appreciate the sneaker itself, wear it, live with it and love it more. We focus on getting the next one, we try to get the new sneaker everybody wants and forget about the ones we have on our feet. I understand why people collect them and want to have the latest drop, but we should also focus on wearing them: that's their functionality, that’s why they were made.

You did a whole series on Frank Ocean’s Blonde. What’s another album you’d like to pair a sneaker with, and which sneaker would you pair with that album’s single?
The soundtrack to Black Panther. The first single is ‘All the Stars’ but I would like to choose one of my favourites, ‘King’s Dead’, and pair it with the Nike Air Max 95 Atmos ‘Animal Pack 2.0.'

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You’ve worked on a lot of projects. What’s something brands/people should know when working with illustrators?
They should know that illustrators work for money just like everyone else. And for those who are starting out and aspiring to work as an illustrator: your work is valuable and should be treated as such, so learn to say no. The internet is smoke and mirrors, work that to your advantage.

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