Luka Sabbat, Noah Dillon, and Curtis Eggleston Talk #HOTMESS
Starting tonight, cultural tour de force Luka Sabbat and friends will be taking over Milk. They’re working out of our studios, uploading to Milk’s socials, showcasing in Milk Gallery, guest editing Milk.xyz—you name it. Milk’s founder Mazdack Rassi wants to equip our creative youth with tools that’ll bring their artistic energy to the next level, and Sabbat was the perfect candidate. We spoke to Sabbat as well as his friends, photographer Noah Dillon and writer Curtis Eggleston, about why they love Milk, being taken seriously despite their youth, and why you should always want more.
What was your perception of Milk before you came here?
Noah Dillon: Milk started following me on Twitter like year and a half or something ago and I was like, “Whoa, WHAT?” Milk is crazy and I knew you guys were reputable. I was just hype on that and then when [Luka’s father] Clark texted me, he was all, “Milk wants to have your next exhibition and they just told me that you guys are taking over all of Milk etc, etc.” and I was freaking out! I still am. I’m still in shock.
A big part of this initiative is Milk wanting to put young artists on a platform and give them a voice. Do you feel that are at your age, as young as you are, do you get taken seriously as artists or do you think people cast you aside?
Luka Sabbat: Everybody tries to cast us aside that’s why we do the show.
Dillon: Everybody, all the corporate heads, all these corporations are like, “You guys are so cool, we like you, but nah, we will see how this goes first and once you guys prove yourself then we’ll see.” But Rassi was all, actually nah, I’m going to actually believe in you and he did. Everybody else said no.
And you think it’s because you’re young? Is it an age thing?
Sabbat: For sure. Why would you trust me to shoot your campaign? I just graduated like a year and a half ago. I get it.
Dillon: But Virgil did. Virgil trusted us and it’s fire. So we are just proving to everybody that we can do this and we should be doing it because we are relevant to the audience that all these corporations are trying to capture. Like Twitter, Chanel—whatever the brand may be, they are trying to capture the youth, so why not use us? The youth, to capture the youth. It seems pretty simple to me.
Do you think people get cast aside as artists because they’re also social media people? Or do you think art and social media now go hand in hand?
Sabbat: I think social media waters a lot of art down because it looks like trash on the Internet, or people market it the wrong way, or their social media persona is just bad. There are plenty of people, but I’m not going to say who because I’m not trying to hate and I’m not trying to have beef with nobody. But, there are plenty of people where I hate who they are on social media, I hate what they stand for on Twitter and Instagram—their actual art is sick but it ruins it for me.
Dillon: I think a lot of companies don’t take social media people seriously, but they are starting to now. Like Milk is taking Luka seriously because like he’s an influencer online. So it’s something that will let him make the jump from the Internet to the real world. But I think the Internet is real life too, because it got me where I am today with Twitter and DMs.
I know with #HOTMESS, you guys are doing it multi-platform, with things like text and VR accompanying the imagery. How did you decide what elements you wanted to bring in?
Sabbat: It’s the whole vibe. So it all falls under the same umbrella. It’s the same concept, same vibe. It’s the same concept, same vibe but a different platform. As in, like oh Hot Mess, OK, but VR version. Hot Mess aight but clothing version. You know what I’m saying? The clothes make sense with all the photos.
Dillon: Exactly. Everything makes sense together. It’s not us trying out a bunch of different stuff; everything is cohesive because we aren’t just one thing. Luka isn’t just a model, clearly. I’m not just a photographer. We are using all these platforms to create our own world, almost, lowkey.
Why do you think our generation is this “slash generation?” It seems like our parents chose one career, but now kids are like, “I’m this, slash this, slash this.”
Curtis Eggleston: I personally think once you are put into a box, once someone defines you as something, it really hurts someone’s confidence to go into something else or to continue to try to expand into something else. The fact that anyone can get into any type of medium—whether it’s text, photos, clothing, video—it opens up another world for people. I think it’s sick that people should just try. Noah’s getting into music now and he’s been working his ass off for years and his music is super dope. And he just decided he’s going to be a rockstar one day; that’s sick. There shouldn’t be a definition or a box around something. It should be just broken.
Dillon: I’m not sure what it is with people—it’s almost as if when you’re doing more than one thing people get all insecure about it.
Right. Do you think that goes back to being able to be taken seriously?
Dillon: Well it’s going to take time. You can’t say you’re going to be a photographer and then you are the next day. You just have to put in the work. You can’t just say, “If photography doesn’t work out in a year I’m going to move on to making tea.”
Sabbat: Yes, you can be a poet and write movies. Or write movies or write scripts. He could even be a creative director or an artistic director because his words are so descriptive. It could just be words but you can imagine those words so he can turn them into anything. Like, I love clothes, but what are clothes? You put them on people. Everything correlates: clothes, fashion, movies, music. It’s all one fucking thing.
Dillon: It’s literally more than just the art game. It sounds corny but it’s about race and stuff like that—everyone is breaking everything into different categories so they can be understood. But stop trying to understand things and let it be.
Sabbat: I think you’re wrong—try to understand things and if you don’t, then it let it be.
When you guys take on an artistic endeavor, how do you gage whether it was a success or not?
Eggleston: I just want to say the success is that you even did it at all.
Sabbat: Yeah, like if nobody can show up [to the gallery opening], I still won. We’ve been working mad hard. If three people show up it’s lit. I fuck with them. I hate the word “success”…I already consider this winning. Because people will say this wasn’t successful if not enough people came. How about just the fact that people came? How about we actually did the fucking thing, you know what I’m saying? So I think success builds up this thing that if you don’t get that one thing, you automatically fail. But just because you didn’t succeed doesn’t mean you failed. A lot of the times it can mean that. But there is that gray area where it’s like, “Well, I still did it. Not that many people came through but I still did it.” You know what I mean? Everyone has their own definition of success. To me it’s like, how do you consider yourself successful or how are you going to keep being successful? I’m not; I’m just going to keep winning. I don’t set goals and I just always try to do something and if I do it, then I won and if I didn’t, then I didn’t lose, I just didn’t win yet.
Right, because otherwise you’d be living under this pressure of so many expectations.
Sabbat: Exactly. I don’t live under any pressure. That’s why this took two years because there was no pressure bro.
Dillon: After the first shoot, Luka and I were like, “OK, we wanna get shit poppin.” But then Clark told us to hold on and we listened to him and now this happened, you know? Just take your time and make sure things are right and flush your ideas fully out.
Sabbat: Right, because I wanted this to be a success ASAP. But then really, it was like, if you take away the pressure part of it, you’re good bro. This took two years and that’s cool. It came out better than it could’ve ever came out and we could’ve waited another four years…who cares. That shit would’ve been the illest thing ever in 2021.
Dillon: It’s just going to keep growing dude. It just sucks because of the waiting. Luka makes money but I do construction and I have like no money. But it will work out. Whatever.
As an artist, do you feel comfortable with the competitiveness of the art world and it being so hit and miss?
Dillon: No. I still feel unworthy. I lowkey was a jock, kind of…not even a jock but I was good at sports. I wore really tight jeans and got made fun of and got called gay everyday. I would never call myself an artist. I still feel unworthy of it.
Eggleston: Yeah, like I didn’t try to get into writing because I was planning on making money. It was just me having a bunch of words that I needed to get out on paper. Eventually, I mean that’s always the dream; you always want to do what you love to make money. I studied finance in school and I thought it was interesting but money never inspired me. That’s why I decided to move to Brazil. I’ve been living in the Amazon. I’ve been living with indigenous tribes. You don’t need money; they don’t use money, and that’s what’s been good for my writing. The fact that Luka gave me a platform is phenomenal. Just to show it a little bit, if I make no money from this—I’m not planning on it—I’m still going to write every single day. And being uncomfortable with not having money is so, so good for inspiration.
Sabbat: You’re never supposed to feel like you have enough. That’s how I keep working. I was trying to print more photos and they were like, “Dude, 80 is enough” and I was like, “No, it’s not. We need 200.” We need more clothes, I want more time, I want more this, I need more money, I need a bigger space. If we would’ve just said, “This is enough,” we would’ve been at some rinky dink fucking gallery with like five photos on the wall and one half of a T-shirt.
I bet you still would’ve been grateful, even for that.
Dillon: Yeah, I’d have been hype!
Sabbat: Fuck no! We always gotta want more. People think I’m selfish and greedy. I’m just trying to win bruh.
Dillon: You gotta be selfish and greedy to win.
Sabbat: I just want more. I want another studio. As a matter of fact, I want the whole floor.
Dillon: Where is my muffin at? [laughs]
Sabbat: [laughs] I want everything, hurry up with my damn croissant!
What other kind of artists are you going to be bringing into Hot Mess and the whole experience?
Sabbat: Just the squad. The whole shoot of the last year was mad last minute. We did everything last minute. I don’t know who is coming up here to create. All I know is that it’s going to happen and we will figure it out day-to-day.
We literally have three set things. But everything else is going to be like, “Let’s do this, let’s do this.” Crazy people are going to be coming in and out of the doors and we are going to create with whoever it is that comes through. It’s a Hot Mess.