Lee Schulder | Paintings of fun loving boys

for Munchies Art Club Magazine
Lee Schuldner Artist Interview
Published on
October 16, 2022
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We introduce you to the Chicago based visual artist Lee, who paints their way into our heart. Read the interview and explore their work!

Lee and their beautiful paintings of the boys

The Munchies art club is thrilled to present the contemporary artist Lee Schulder. Lee actually contacted me in Summer and I knew I loved their work, but time somehow flew and it was that kind of on and off time, but they were persistent, and I am glad of it.

It has been such a pleasure working with Lee and I truly enjoyed their answers to my questions triggering so many similarities and memories.

1. Who is Lee Schulder? 

My name is Lee Schulder and I am an artist currently based in Chicago, IL.

I love when guys are silly and have fun, so that’s what I paint about. 

Johnny Knoxville is my muse and so is Steve-O and so is Dave England and Chris Pontius and Wee Man and Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge and Travis Barker and the list goes on and on. 

 schulder, lee, artist, interview
Lee Schulder Portrait of the artist | Image courtesy the artist
I did not get to be a guy in the early 2000s but I do get to make beautiful oil paintings about them, and that is almost as good. Maybe even better!

2. Do you remember your first encounter with art? What made you want to be an artist?

I always really liked looking at art and going to museums and what not but I didn’t really start making work until sophomore year of high school. 

I did ballet and modern dance from ages 3-15, and then starting in middle school I played oboe and ended up getting pretty serious about it. 

I was also into theatre for a while. 

emerging contemporary artist lee schulder
Lee Schulder | Garage | Acrylic on hardboard | 2021 | 8 x 10 inches | Image courtesy the artist

All of this is to say I was always interested in “the arts” but it took me a while to get to visual art. 

I guess I always just enjoyed drawing in my room or whatever more than I enjoyed practicing oboe, and I always want to be having the most fun possible. 

As the great Kim Cattrall once said,

'I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself.’ 

So I decided to drop out of band class (awesome sentence) to take a painting class, and the rest is sort of history.

lee schulder interview munchies art club
Lee Schulder | Shaving | Acrylic, Oil pastel, Steve-O signature on canvas | 2022 | 25 x 25 inches | Image courtesy the artist

3. What does a work day look like? Could you walk us through a day in your studio?

I’m in a studio building with a lot of my friends and artists whose work I really admire which rules. 

I went to art school but there were a few years where I basically stopped making art outside of school because I got super serious about doing stand up comedy (but that’s a whole other story). 

lee schulder young art to collect munchies art club
Lee Schulder | Buddies | 2022 | Oil on Canvas | 40 x 30 inches | Image courtesy the artist

I got this studio during covid when I was reevaluating my relationship to stand up and it completely reinvigorated my practice. I’m very grateful for it! 

So anyway, a typical day in the studio. I get there and start working on paintings I’m already working on. 

I take a bunch of in progress pictures and look at them when I’m not in my studio so I usually have an idea of what I want to add or change when I get there. 

When I feel like I’m in a rut I do some image transfers, which I’ve been having a lot of fun with, or I start a new painting. 

lee schulder artist, q&a
Lee Schulder | Karate Chop | Distemper and oil on panel | 2022 | 14 x 11 inches | Image courtesy the artist

I like to always be working on multiple paintings at once so I don’t drive myself crazy. 

I also have a reclining gamer chair that sits on the floor and reclines all the way, so if I’m REALLY in a rut but don’t want to leave yet, I’ll sit in my little gamer chair and play* on my phone. 

It’s important to sometimes take a break to play on your phone.

*playing on my phone sometimes means just looking at twitter but sometimes I go on Pinterest or and look at all my pictures I’ve collected and try to find new ones.

I love looking at pictures! I love doing serious research (finding pictures of Blink-182 and Jackass that make me smile).

lee schulder artist, interview munchies art club
 In the Studio | Image courtesy the artist

4. What are the last 5 songs you were listening to whilst painting if you check your playlist?

I’ve gotten super into the band Wednesday recently so I’ve been mostly listening to them, especially their Audiotree session. 

I saw them live the other week and they were unreal. I’ve also been listening to Ovlov a lot. 

contemporary art on view munchies art club
Lee Schulder | Mark on the Toilet | Distemper on panel | 2021 | 11.5 x 9 inches | Image courtesy the artist

5. You paint and make tile transfers what other mediums have you been working on?

It took me a really long time to settle on painting as a medium. 

In college I jumped around a lot from photo to video to performance to comics. 

I did a little bit of time in a LOT of departments. 

image tile transfers, contemporary art on view
Lee Schulder | Jet Engine | 8 x 8 inches | Image transfer on tile | 2022 | Image courtesy the artist

So I’ve been really enjoying focusing my energy on painting and just trying to get really good at it. 

With that being said, I’m going to try to do more sculptural work with the tile transfers soon. 

I just want to make a bunch of them first.

lee schulder contemporary painting
Lee Schulder | Go piss! | Acrylic and oil on panel | 20 x 16 inches | 2021 | Image courtesy the artist

6. Can you tell us about Kenny McBenny and Lenny Jooce?

I invented Kenny McBenny during a class I did at Oxbow, which is an artist residency in Michigan. 

The class was called Exploding Paint and was technically a painting class, but the teachers were really great about just kind of letting us go hog wild and do whatever we wanted. 

I wanted to take advantage of being in nature, and I had this image in my mind of a man emerging out of the lake in a checkered suit. 

online art magazine munchies art club feature
Lee Schulder | Fish hook | Oil on canvas | 2022 | 25 x 30 inches | Image courtesy the artist

Somehow that turned into Kenny McBenny, a used car salesman who reaaaaaally loves cars and is basically having a breakdown over his wife Sheila leaving him. 

I ended up also doing a couple of performances with him over the next few years. 

I am really fond of him and would like to return to him at some point.

lee schulder portrait of an artist
Lee Schulder | Image courtesy the artist

Lenny Jooce came from a class I took called Exhibition Prosthetics with Joseph Grigely.

It was a class about all of the things that go into an exhibition.

He had assigned this really great piece on International Art English and I had been frustrated with that kind of language for a while, so decided to use what I learned from reading about it to create Lenny Jooce. 

He’s the most insufferable artist you’ve ever met, his art is nonsense, and the art world is obsessed with him. 

drawing, graphite on paper, young art
Lee Schulder | Running Of The Bulls | Graphite on paper | 7.5 x 10 inches | 2022 | Image courtesy the artist

Creating these guys was some of the most fun I’ve had making work. 

I want to go back to being a Guy Inventor at some point in my life, and I think I will, but I don’t want to force it. 

For now I’m happy making work about guys who already exist.

chalk and pastel on paper, artwork, lee schulder
Lee Schulder | And I Threw A Tennis Ball At His Balls | Chalk pastel on paper | 9 x 12 inches | 2022 | Image courtesy the artist

8. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything else you would like to add?

Edging by Blink-182 out now on all platforms and also the link to my

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Studio view | Image courtesy the artist

7. You are involved in LVL3, a volunteer artist-run exhibition space and digital publication out of Chicago, could you tell us about that a bit?

I got involved in LVL3 at the beginning of this year and I've really enjoyed it! I think as an artist it's been a super valuable experience learning more about what goes into curating shows and keeping a gallery running, and it's been super cool to be able to interview other artists about their practice for the publication. (Here you can read the interviews. ) It's really helped me get more involved in the Chicago art scene and meet a lot of great people. 

lee schulder feature munchies art club
Lee Schulder | Time for Some Man Fishing | Image transfer on tile | 5 x 5 inches | 2022 | Image courtesy the artist

8. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything else you would like to add?

Edging by Blink-182 out now on all platforms

Which keywords describe your work best.

Fun! Friendship! Dudes rock! Fucking around! Getting extremely nostalgic! 

Follow the Lee on Instagram:

Short Bio/CV

Lee Schulder is an artist based in Chicago, IL. 

BFA 2021 — School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA 

Huge thank you to Lee for sharing their amazing journey so far and their amazing work with us to share with you! Looking forward to crossing paths again soon!