We had the good fortune of connecting with Sküt (Scott Lewallen) and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sküt, how does your business help the community?
I made a conscious decision in my art career to benefit charitable causes and organizations that I feel strongly about. The best way to make an impact is to help others, and for me that’s through my voice as an artist. I’ve contributed to the Los Angeles LGBT Center via proceeds generated from a collection of Pride-themed rainbow art, in and around West Hollywood. During my solo and curated animal-themed exhibitions for Earth Day 2021, I was able to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and Aquarium of the Pacific. When I create a new piece I ask myself “who can this help?” and the rest flows naturally.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I enjoy experimenting with new mediums that I’ve never used, or that I know I’m uncomfortable handling. I approach art as a problem solving experience, using technology and design to achieve my goal. When I have a vision, I figure out what steps to take and what materials to try, to bring that idea to life. I love learning about what I don’t know.

I’m stoked about using experiments from the past year to make new art. During COVID I was in my studio daily, playing with concepts, making a mess, figuring out how to physically manifest ideas. I played with pigment, texture, and coating. You see a lot of color play in my recent works.

My solo exhibition Deep, April 2021, celebrated ocean animals with an immersive installation. I used canvas, paint, sculpture, sound, and light to exploit art through technology. I played with reciprocal mirrors to show endangered creatures appearing and dissolving into your reflection. I built sculptures with up-cycled materials (cans, leftover Ikea bits, plastic scraps) and covered them in reactive paints to blur the line between natural and surreal. Everything was saturated.

Professionally, I think my keys to success are persistence and innovation. I used to be terrified of mistakes. Life taught me the value of fault; now I embrace the unfamiliar and welcome new experiences to find alternative paths forward. I love to fail because I learn from it. I build, grow, and evolve from that flashpoint.

As for my story, it’s still being written. I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished so far. Launching Grindr was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m proud of designing what I think fundamentally changed human interaction, in LGBT microcosms and global communication at large. I use that experience in my artistic endeavors.

Doing good and being kind, for me, are eternal rewards. I am most happy and fulfilled when I see tangible effects and direct impacts from my projects. My adventure continues through creation, and I want to help underserved and marginalized groups through art.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh, you’ve never been to LA? I’m a native. We do the beach, a lot. Redondo, Hermosa, Huntington, Laguna, Malibu, et al. We’ll hit a few of those, and yup, you have to dip in the ocean.

Then we hike Griffith Park. It’s huge, we’ll be there for hours, wandering through a maze of obvious and obscure paths, looking for rattlesnakes, and eventually make it to the Hollywood sign for your selfie moment.

We spend a day at Long Beach at Aquarium of the Pacific. It’s one of my happy places; they do a phenomenal job of educating people on ocean conservation.

We’ll hop LA Metro subway from Hollywood to Downtown and explore The Broad contemporary art museum, along with galleries and local watering holes.

A night out in West Hollywood is mandatory, stuffing our faces with bites from neighborhood restaurants, ending up at the gay bars. It’s the best night life in Los Angeles, and is the ultimate LGBT destination.

Finally, we dine at Terrana, a cliffside resort in my hometown, Rancho Palos Verdes. It’s built on the former site of Marineland, an oceanarium that closed in 1987. My dad took me there as a kid. We spent hours at home recreating whales, sharks, and other sea creatures out of construction paper on the floor. It sparked my artistic passion, and thirst for nature, and I dedicated my recent art show to its legacy. My mom encouraged me to create daily and nurtured my ability. So I feel very fortunate that my love letter to Los Angeles began at home.

Your LA tour concludes with a glass of wine in the company of my folks, as we sit on the porch and watch the sunset. Sound good?

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One place, and three people deserve credit.

I graduated from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California. That education, time, and life experience were keys to my career, and I am grateful to have a strong connection with my alma mater. Fight On!

Big shout to my best friend and confidante Dex Franco @dexfranco. We make stuff together. He’s an insanely talented actor and writer with an endless flow of charisma, creativity, and inspiration. He shines in front of, and behind, the camera. We’re constantly pushing each other to create new things and test our limits. You’ll see some of his works soon.

My colleague K Ryan Henisey @kyryanhenisey led me into the art world. I met him at WeHo in Paso, an exchange between City of West Hollywood Arts Division and Paso Robles. Ryan asked me to join TAG Gallery Los Angeles. I applied, became Vice President, and now we run the cooperative together with forty incredible member artists showing fine art with unique monthly events.

Finally, Stefano Rosso @gatorosso is a bold entrepreneur, and my personal cheerleader. I met him in 2009 shortly after I launched Grindr, and asked him to collaborate at LA Pride. He said yes and we’ve been friends ever since. Most recently he asked me to design and paint a 30-foot-tall mural at Micky’s West Hollywood to celebrate their grand reopening. I was able to donate leftover budget funds to benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Website: https://inkedbyskut.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/inkedbyskut

Linkedin: https://linkedin.com/company/inkedbyskut/

Twitter: https://twitter.com//inkedbyskut

Facebook: https://facebook.com/inkedbyskut

Image Credits
Dex Franco, Monique Ramirez, Kevin Winston (Digital LA)

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