Photos & Words by Anthony Pappalardo
Brian Lotti is a Brooklyn, New York-based painter. Like many denizens entrenched in the ‘80s/’90s skateboarding culture, certain brands and skaters grew to symbolize more than tricks or accomplishments; they became important timestamps and jumping-off points for creativity. This was my introduction to Lotti’s form of expression, not just in skateboarding but the precision and freedom he exuded—equally progressive and expressive. Street skating in the early-’90s was a renaissance but not only in tricks, it was a change of aesthetics and presentation that birthed many creatives.
Unlike many of his peers, Lotti’s personal evolution sprawled past the streets and industry and into universities and even Buddhist monasteries. He stepped out of skating around 1993 to pursue other creative endeavors but sharing a through-line of feeling. As a painter and filmmaker, he’s able to animate the mundane and underappreciated much like he did on curbs, ledges, and schoolyards but it’s never literal or obvious.
I’d liken his work to the snapshots that exist in our minds of everyday moments that somehow stick in the backs of our brains vividly. Unlike memory which often proves to be more false than true and more romantic than palpable, his work evokes feeling through process, intuition, and individuality.
After a brief visit to his Brooklyn studio, we chopped it up about painting and I quickly learned how little I knew about the visual renaissance he’s entrenched and thriving in.