I first became acquainted with “Lurker” Lou Sawrosky through his part in Vicious Cycle, 2005’s classic NY skate video that also featured the likes of Harold Hunter, Zered Bassett, Eli Reed, and Brian Brown just to name a few.
Since then, Lou has developed a multi-faceted reputation as a constantly motivated skater, merciless ballbuster, keeper of some of the best hidden spots in New York (as well as a few that are not spots), and extremely creative and talented artist.
As I’ve grown to know Lou better over the last year an a half or so since showing some work with him in a group exhibition, I can say that all of these are true.
That’s what is so great about skating and hanging out with him, at all times he’s bringing these things to the table. Whether it’s spending hours lurking for spots in his car, or talking his about his sculptures at a gallery in midtown,
he’s never not Lou.
Hey Lou, how old are you and where do you live?
34 y/o living in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
What is your first skateboard memory?
Watching someone try to ollie a parking block over and over. Then my mom telling my grandmother, “my children don’t have the patience for that”. I was set out to prove her wrong.
Where did the nickname come from?
I overstayed my welcome at a few different apartments in Boston when I was a teenager. One night, Doug Brown and Brian Brown put me on the spot and said, “are you gonna just stay here or you gonna ask to stay here, lurker” and then it stuck.
Noseblunt slide – New York City
How did things change for you after the SLAP – One in a million?
Internet trolls talking shit and then in person no one says anything. No one could make eye contact and just put their head down anytime they would see me. If I got to know the person they would just ask me 1 million questions.
Were you bummed that they portrayed you as a devil judge?
It’s all good now, but Alex Klein was just trying to be a producer fuckboi looking out for his best interest. It was annoying that no one knew my past before I went on that show but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
“I like to keep the doors open and the filter turned off.”
Have you ever seen or talked to Alex Klein after it?
One time. He was just apologetic. I got paid 300 bucks and a thrasher sweatshirt out of that whole thing so I never sold out like everyone said I did and I didn’t really receive shit out of it other than 11-16 year-olds hating me. Now that they’re 23 and they finally meet me they tell me I’m a nice guy.
Oh yeah Tony Vitello promised me one of those canvases in Thrasher to feature my art that never happened. Good looks Tony.
Switch 50-50 – New York City
You’re known to be quite opinionated, do you think millennials are too sensitive these days?
Everyone hates behind closed doors, I like to keep the doors open and the filter turned off.
What is Iron Claw Skates?
It’s a brand that my friend Tyler conceived in 2011. He asked me if I wanted to skate for it, I said I want to be a partner, and from there on our ideas collaborated into what we wanted. A simple company based off American imagery.
“I wanted to smoke weed for the rest of the 4 Hour Drive, so I stuck weed under my foreskin and smuggled it through my dick.“
How came the need to create this brand?
In 2010, I skated for a company called Coda. After I quit, I felt I was pretty rinsed from skating and just needed to do something on my own, not try and have someone give me skateboards. This is right before everything went downhill when people said “I want to brand too”.
How is it to have an indie skateboard brand nowadays?
Don’t do it unless you really want to just sell your friends skateboards or you have good distribution.
Switch Back Tail – New York City, Photo: Chase Doerflinger
Do your teammates learn to not be too sensitive?
They all know my true personality. I love them, but will give them shit over little things when I knew that they can perform better.
You came to Montreal few times, how would you describe the city to somebody who has never been here?
I was into Montreal the last couple years, but I feel like it’s a hotspot to go to in the summer now. I like going to the cities on the East Coast that aren’t as frequently skated.
My best story probably is when I went with the orchard skate team and we are going back into the states through New Hampshire. I wanted to smoke weed for the rest of the 4 Hour Drive, so I stuck weed under my foreskin and smuggled it through my dick. Everyone was mad at me that I did it and then after we got into New Hampshire 4 guys smoked the weed that was stuffed in my foreskin.
Skating with Billy Rohan & Zered in NYC is probably quite an experience, do you have good stories about them?
Zered and I have spent more than half our lives as friends, there is just ridiculous amounts of stories between the two of us. But Billy Rohan I love that dude and don’t want to put them on the spot with the stories from his crazy times.
Of the last times I saw Billy, he knocked out my friend Ray that does prizefighter wheels.
Months went by, he was back on his medication trying to apologize to me. I couldn’t really accept his apology but lightweight forgave the man.
Are you still building sets for movies?
Yeah I primarily do it for fashion photography and commercials, only worked on a few different movies.
What were the movies you worked on, that you were proud of?
Not proud of being in sex in the city two.
How did art come into the picture?
I was always creative as a child but art in class my teachers never saw my work as anything impressive. All their focus went on the kids that could draw well. When I truly started painting and creating, a lot was through a winter spent with Forest Kirby in Miami at his house. I contribute getting into art to Forest Kirby which is very strange now to think.
What is your process to get an idea done?
Work quick and don’t tell people your ideas.
The VX series is dope!
Thanks I just want to see that camera live on in some shape or form.
Tell us about the full coloured Lou.
I had no idea what I was going to be for Halloween in 2007. My birthday is the day before so I usually like to go in pretty hard for Halloween and I had the idea to be the silver lurker, like the silver surfer but skating. People tripped out super hard so I knew it was gonna work every year with a different color I’ve been 11 colors I think now.
Photo: Chase Doerflinger
What’s up for 2018?
Keep working on the sculptures for my trip to Japan in September I will be showing them out there. Keep filming this purple shoe Lou part for Adidas without their consent. Hopefully the part will get a cease and desist or I’ll get a colorway on Adidas through iron claw. Either or, I’m praying that the cease-and-desist happens for the video part I like stirring up the pot.
Anything you want to add?
Know your history within skateboarding and art. Try not to repeat the past as much things were in the past. Don’t take anything for granted.
And if you’re a talented skateboarder and you want to play that too cool route and not be sponsored and travel the world, you’re a fucking idiot.
Introduction and photography by Cole Giordano (except mentioned)
Interview by Babas Levrai