My Hustle: Lucas Raynaud

For a small-town guy like Lucas Raynaud moving to Hollywood to pursue a career as a dancer was a dream come true. But little did he know that chasing his dream would lead him to uncover his true passion: art.

Instead of going the traditional route of taking art classes and trying to land conventional gallery shows, Lucas was inspired to create free art and use social media to encourage the public to support. “The Painted Planks Project is my attempt to beautify the city and inspire others to do so by hanging free art everywhere I happen to be,” says Lucas who has put his paintings up in Germany, London, France and LA on telephone polls, cinder-block walls and even in an IKEA bedroom.

This project, this one move has distinguished him as a rising player in the underground LA art scene and has transformed his hustle from a good idea to a genius move. Behind the Hustle sits down with Lucas to get inspired.

Who are you?
I am Lucas Raynaud, a goofy, creative guy from Nipomo, California that moved to Hollywood to chase this dream we call “The Entertainment Business”.  After living here for 10+ years and being surrounded by so many creative people, I discovered a true love and passion for art of many styles and started painting as a way to relax and jell out.

What is the Painted Planks Project?
The “Painted Planks Project” is my attempt to beautify the city and inspire others to do so by hanging free art everywhere I happen to be.  I do paintings on little planks of wood, glue a piece of paper with my mission statement and info on it, and then I hang them.  I take a picture of the plank and upload it onto Twitter along with the address and let the scavenger hunt begin.  When people find the piece, I encourage them to take it down and hang it somewhere in their house and then take a picture and hashtag #PaintedPlanks.  It’s a fun way for people to find free art.

What inspired you to do this?
I wanted to launch a street art project for some time but wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it.  Then one day I attended the Hennessy X Futura Collaboration event and something happened.  I was walking around sipping on drinks and looking at artwork and admiring it while thinking to myself “How cool would it be to have one of these up in my house?”  Then at the end of the night, I was lucky enough to receive a small section of a piece [the artist] had done that night.  In reality, it was just a small box with some random spray paint on it but to me it represented something more.  An idea:  Take-home street art.  I always wanted to have the ability to take home some of the art I see on signs, billboards and walls.  How could I accomplish that?  I took that idea and just ran with it and the “Painted Planks Project” was born.

Also at this point of my painting career, the only people who have and see my pieces have been family and friends.  I wanted to launch a product that would also get my stuff out there to be viewed by everyone.  The thought of some random person taking home one of my planks and hanging it in their room next to a Justin Bieber poster seemed so fun and cool.

How did you discover that art was your passion?
I actually started painting because I had just moved into a new place and wanted to decorate.  Every painting that I would see and want for my house was so freaking expensive so I figured that I would just try to create some stuff out of the blue.  The thing that I quickly discovered was that there were no limits to what I could paint.  If I wanted a painting of a Ninja Turtle, He-Man, or Kelly Kapowski, all I had to do was paint it.  I totally fell in love with the limitless nature of it.  Now if you come to my house it looks like an art gallery and all I had to pay was for the materials and a whole lot of my time.

How would you describe your hustle?
I would describe my hustle as the “Mixtape Hustle”.  Basically if you want people to pay for your product, give it away for free and if it’s good and they like it then they will buy it.  The way that the music and clothing industry have used this tactic and watching it work, inspired me to try it with my art.

You’re also a dancer.  How do you find time for both?
Dancing and entertainment is what I moved out here to do so that is what usually consumes my days.  I pay all my bills with dance and still enjoy it.  I like to paint at night because it allows me to release and relax. It’s crazy how therapeutic it is.  The great thing about my art is that I’m using it as my hustle to bring in extra money but I’m not driven totally by the money.  I’m driven by the creativity of it and the love and passion, and that allows me to really create what I want to create without the money clouding my vision.

What qualities do you possess that have contributed to your success?
The quality that I possess that will contribute the most to my success would have to be my thick skin.  Not everyone is going to like my art and I’m okay with that.  Having thick skin allows me to not be discouraged if I run into negativity but instead use that as advice and to drive me to create better art.  Another quality that has contributed success is my odd belief that I can do almost anything with the right tools.  It’s what started my painting.  I would see art and go home and try to do something similar.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I would do that, and the thing I created was so much better than the original.  I’ve done it my whole life with dance, cooking, building, whatever.  With the Internet at our fingertips, you can learn how to do damn near anything.  I have a constant thirst for knowledge and to learn new things and his has contributed to all sorts of crazy art ideas.

What’s the best advice you ever received about hustling and working hard?
I read a book called Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon and he had an entire chapter called Do Good Work and Share it with People.  To me it was so obvious but at the same time so inspiring.  It’s self-explanatory and literally works in any field of work that you could every think of.  That advice drives me to never settle and always try to improve so that I can share the best work with others.

Tell us about your support network and other hustlers you surround yourself with.
One of the biggest advantages of living in Los Angeles is the wide range of occupations and hustles that you have around you.  I am super blessed to have such a strong core group of friends that I moved down here with.  I have personally watched and been inspired by Harry Shum Jr. and KO the Legend.  When living with Harry I saw him grind literally every single say and never seemed to get tired.  When he would get tired he seemed to just push through and take on even more tasks.  The guy never makes excuses; he just makes things happen and adjusts on the fly.  With KO, I have been inspired by how even when knocked down he constantly reinvents himself and tries again.  It’s very encouraging to have a group of friends from music, acting, comedy, art, and business that can all provide advice and support when your hustle might need a little readjustment.

What are your goals?
My main goal is to have as many people as possible find out about the project.  I love painting these planks and I love hanging them around the city.  My goal is for people to love searching for them.  In my eyes there is no such thing as failure because I am already doing what I set out to do.  I’m hanging my art around the city for all to see and for everyone to take.  Hustle wise my goal is to use this project as a way for people to learn about me and my other art.  I would like to create a following of people to support future projects.  I also would love to inspire the youth to do what I’m doing.  I think it would be great for kids to express themselves through art and to put it out there for everyone to see in a non-destructive manner.  In the future, my goal is to have other artists from around the country and the world do art under the Painted Planks Project.  I would love for an artist from New York or Chicago or Detroit to paint their style of art on planks of wood and hang them up for the world to see.  The more artists involved in the project, the better in my eyes.

Check out the video below to see Lucas’ Painted Planks Project in action!