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Meet Millard “Dezcjon” Lathrop IV

Today we’d like to introduce you to Millard “Dezcjon” Lathrop IV.

Millard, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Prior to last year (October 2017) I never painted nor took my art seriously. But I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, 1997 in my Grandma Mason’s living room. I remember my mom taking me to The Watts Towers as a kid and imagining what it would be like to be an artist and leave something great behind for the world to see and appreciate. My mom always told me I could do something with my art but I didn’t believe it because I felt that was a biased opinion. Twenty-one years later it feels surreal to actually do so.

During my first semester at El Camino Community College, I went to our art gallery on campus with a young lady named Jasmine (my day one and number one muse) who saw my amazement and fascination with the art exhibited and told me “just imagine what you could do…” but unfortunately at the time I didn’t have the vision, faith, or confidence in my work. After returning to school from taking some time off to work full time, I got started with art simply looking for a new source of income to help my family through some hardship. I had an English professor by the name of Ms. Corbin who liked my art/doodles done in class on her assignments and my belongings, For months she continuously asked and bugged me about pursuing art but I kept blowing it off.

Eventually, life came to the point where I was about to withdraw from school and figure out new streams of review. After a conversation with her about quick fixes not being the answer and thinking about the long run, I figured I needed to try something different.

Growing up in South Central I never saw or knew of any artist personally to ask about pursuing art or developing my artistry. To be honest, I didn’t even feel like anyone would want to see my art let alone pay for it, which is why I was going to school for graphic design (Thanks Tay and Kawan for showing me the ropes), I figured that would be the only way to earn money using my artistry. Eventually, I reached out to a few artists online about getting started in art but received no responses. I remembered a man I met a couple of years ago, who was building this cool giant headlamp in the shape of a flame.

The guy’s name was Scott Meskill, a South Bay-based artist who can do it all from painting to wood/metal works to sculptures. One day before work I went to Scott’s studio and asked him about getting started with art. That day changed my life, we talked about art, the different levels to the art world, his story, my journey thus far, the fear of putting work out, and much more. I ended up being about 40 minutes late to work and 100% worth every minute. After leaving he gave me a book to read called “Art & Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland which touched bases on a lot of stuff I was feeling and thinking about. Scott told me to just keep creating for when the opportunities arise, which I did.

Before I knew it, a couple weeks later I was preparing for my first show for the Hawthorne City Council Woman. My first show went well, I sold my first piece and been going non-stop since.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road definitely has been a bumpy one but you can’t get to your destination if you let that stop you right?

Being I work full time, working on getting to where I do art full time, and going to school part time I usually have a busy schedule. I do my best to find a balance between everything I have going on and personal relationships but I know I need to get better with that. Somebody recently told me “With you, I know I can only have your time in between time because you’re always busy…” unfortunately I couldn’t do anything but laugh and say its true.

A lot of people and clients don’t know most of any artwork done by me is done between midnight and 5 am being that’s the only time I can really sit down, get in the zone and create. Being I didn’t start painting till I turned 26 I always feel like I have to make up for all the time I wasted in my youth not doing anything with my artistry.

Between my personal, school, and art expenses my money can be spread just as thin as my time. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve had to spend my last on art supplies, but it’s been worth every cent invested every time. Unfortunately, it has taken a toll on school, this past spring semester I had to withdraw from school due to the cost of supplies and etc. being too much and me needing to work more hours. The funny part was about two weeks after withdrawing from school I received a letter stating I had received my first scholarship. I plan on returning in the fall and picking up the pace.

Being I also have never taken any real art classes I look forward to returning to see if and what they can add to my craft. Plus if I don’t return my big cousin/day 1 supporter Rashada may kill me. (I laugh in the face of danger though). So despite the road being bumpy I just consider the time spent dedicated to art as my commute and the money invested as my gas money to my final destination.

Dezcjon (being I am the fourth my friends and family call me by middle name & those that support me are like friends and family so I don’t use a “cool” artist name I just go by Dezcjon) – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am an artist and I specialize in simply creating from my imagination, thoughts, and feelings.

I am known for creating paintings with my original characters, a lot of symbolism, text, strong line work, and whatever else comes to mind. Even though I am known for my paintings I am not limited to it, I express myself in a number of other creative outlets. I also do freelance logo design. live paintings, drawing, murals, street art, printmaking and illustrations.

As an artist, I am most proud of simply creating. Being for the longest I didn’t believe anything would come from expressing myself artistically I am proud to just finally be creating and seeing where my artistry takes me. Being I am the fourth, I sign my works with a roman numeral four somewhere in the piece.

I believe what sets me apart from other artist is that most of my compositions keep the viewers pulled in and scanning the artwork trying to decipher what my imagination has created.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Many fell to realize I’ve only been painting for about ten months. The proudest moment of my career has been at every moment, I appreciate every opportunity for different reasons. I am proud to simply be going onto the next project and creating while honing my gifts. Whether doing gallery shows, going to Mexico to paint a Park & Pay (thanks E), or doing a live painting at Yamashiro of Hollywood (shoutout to Nick) I appreciate every opportunity!

My mom has always said I am blessed and highly favored when it comes to the art world I know that has definitely been the case when it comes to my accolades, accomplishments, and opportunities. I’m proud of simply embracing my gifts from the man above and seeing what opportunities it brings and how far it can take.

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  1. Rhea Doswell

    August 26, 2018 at 01:32

    Dezcjon,I am so very proud of you, but not shocked because you have always had a creative mind. You just needed the right outlet to unlock all that God blessed you with. Keep up the good work. Remember this, dreaming and having faith is limitless in God. Soar, soar, soar into everything that has always been yours Black King and surround yourself with those who will dream along with you.

  2. Marjorie Duncan

    August 26, 2018 at 19:27

    Knowing this young man is an absolute delight. He is hard working, well-mannered, and a young man destined to make an impact on the world around him. Dezcjon, we wish you the best and know that if you continue to walk with God, He will open the “right” doors for you, and lead you to the success He has in store for you. Just remember to keep HIM FIRST; FAMILY second, and the thing that you love to do as your livelihood, and the rest will follow. “Seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and these things shall be added unto you.” Love you to LIFE. Mama Marje

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