Illustrator and designer Jerome Lu was born in Mountain View and raised in the Bay Area. He founded Hyperactive Monkey, a collectible toy, apparel and entertainment company, where he serves as lead creative artist. His creations are inspired by his love of cartoons, comics, toys, video games, and movies of the 80’s.
I think you’re one of the busiest guys in the art world. How do you stay so motivated?
Awww you noticed that I’m always busy. It’s true I’m always trying to juggle work life, art life, and changing diapers all at the same time. For me I’m a pretty happy go lucky guy because I enjoy what I do whether it’s doing work for a client or for myself. It’s pretty cool I get do draw and design cute things for a living. Also if I don’t really feel an art project is a fit for me I usually turn it down. As for motivation, I always try to think of what Soso would like. Like if she sawing this drawing or toy would she stop and laugh and giggle at it and have fun. That’s pretty much been my motto for all of my art. I just want people to stop and smile at it. :)
What would be your advice to anyone trying to make it in the toy game?
Don’t chase the money. Make a toy not because you want to make money from it, but because you love your art so much that you want to share with the world a 3Dimensional version of it that you and people can enjoy.
I love when you incorporate food into art, like your piece for California Love. Where is your favorite restaurant in California?
My favorite restaurant would have to be Taqueria San Bruno. It’s a super small restaurant that it is sandwiched between miles of auto mechanics of in the Bay Area. It’s also super hard to find parking. But they make the best grilled shrimp burritos I have ever eaten. Yum yum!
What is the secret of your awesome bento-making skills?
Try not to have an empty stomach while making fun bento food art. Many cute food critters had to be sacrificed to the lead designer (me).
When do you think Soso will be able to join the Hyperactive Monkey operations?
Soso is already head Creative Director. She really does let me know if my drawing is good or not. Most of the time she approves, but sometimes it’s a no go. She’s a tough cookie to please.