Laro Vilas Boas aka Laro Lagosta Instagram is full of vignettes that depict sneaker culture through a powerful irony lens. This is the best possible door to the world of this illustrator and graphic designer we interview to talk about his work, obviously, but also about sneaker culture in Portugal. By the way we are happy in Sivasdescalzo because next Monday we are going to launch our website in Portuguese. Olá amigos, estamos quase aqui!

Laro Vilas Boas or  Laro Lagosta. As you please. It doesn’t matter the name you know him by, because the important thing here is that you do know one of the most important artists in Portugal. If you know him, you don’t need any kind of excuse to jump directly to the first question of this interview. But if you not, run to his Instagram and be prepared to spend a few hours laughing with his sneaker’s world vision.

This illustrator and graphic designer has specialized on eloquent vignettes inhabited by skeletons and more hell beings who help him to uncover all of sneaker culture’s nonsense. Those skeletons are a mirror where all of us can see all of our sneakerheads’ nonsense reflected, you can’t deny that.

First of all, why is Lagosta your alias?

Around 2006, I had a Fotolog called lobsterprankster, I was looking for a cool animal as my alias, lobsters have a very alien, strange look that I like. I mixed it with music by The Offspring called Original Prankster from that time. I posted daily illustrations and photos, my friends started calling me lobster and then Lagosta, which means lobster in Portuguese.

What came before in your life: your passion for illustration and graphic design or your addiction to sneakers?

My passion for illustration has always been there, I've loved to draw ever since I was a kid. Sneakers came as a teenager, it was a pair of Nike Dunk in a Chicago colourway that took my heart and since then sneakers have been part of my life.

Why do you think those two worlds mix in such a harmonious way?

Maybe because sneakers are a very plastic object, the fabrics, textures, colours, graphics, they can have so many shapes, so many different results that it is an infinite medium. The sneaker scene has a lot of stories to be told, a lot of feelings, emotions vary from that which is perfect for my type of illustration.

You do all those funny and witty cartoons for people to use in their stories and choose between two different options… So, what would happen if you had to choose between sneakers or illustration?

I have to pick illustration, at least I could always draw the sneakers I could never have. Actually, it happens a lot now, I take a lot of L’s.

You define yourself as a sneaker addict in one of your cartoons… How is the everyday life of a sneakerhead?

It’s about how much time can you avoid buying another pair of sneakers.

It’s interesting how, even if you love sneakers, you critique that world and a lot of the nonsense that comes attached to it. What do you hate most from the sneaker world?

The fact that some people don’t wear what they like but instead are always on the hype train. I think if you do that you stop caring about the sneaker itself, you’re thinking about reactions from other people. You’re supposed to choose what you like and wear it, not from what the internet is saying is cool. You wear it for a week and then you store it to make way for the next sneaker that’s getting the hype.

Why is your work full of bones and blood and demon girls? What do they have that keep you that interested?

It was a thing that I loved to represent, a gory violent world, the actions were violent but the mood for me was always dark but in a funny way. The bones are still present in the skeletons with sneakers. The bloody stuff is not so present in my work right now but they’re always on my mind.

You were born in Ponte de Lima but you now live in Oporto. From a small town to a big city, how have you lived the rise of sneaker culture in Portugal?

Through the internet, blogs, Facebook groups, Instagram. The sneaker scene is growing, more in the last years, you can feel it in some gatherings, parties, the few releases that we have here. Slowly things are getting better and with a more strong audience!

And how do you see the illustration and graphic design scene in Portugal?

We’re not a big country but there are a lot of amazing illustrators and graphic designers in Portugal, the level of talent is through the roof and we have a lot of people that are doing big things, in our country and who are spreading it throughout the world.

What are you working on at the moment?

Besides my illustration, I’m working at Prozis, an amazing company that is going to take the world by storm. Just watch.

And what is your dream project mixing sneakers and illustration?

Doing a collab with a big brand, having my own signature sneaker. A man can dream!