Our neighborhood has a distinct energy. That feeling comes from countless artists, musicians, crafters and creators, all working around the clock to follow their passion. Inspired by the new year and Dry – or Dryish – January ahead, we packed up some Brooklyn Special Effects and caught up with some of the makers in our neighborhood to see what drives them.
Fernando Lions, better known as simply Lions, is a tattooer, designer, artist, and illustrator based in Brooklyn. He blends influences ranging from street culture and iconography to comics and psychedelia to his work, churning out a steady stream of tattoos and designs from his studio, Street Dreams, located in the heart of Bed-Stuy.
We caught up with Lions and his dog on their morning deli run before heading to Street Dreams to talk about the wild pace of NYC, continuing to push your boundaries, and using non-alcoholic drinks as a way to stay social while keeping your creative edge.
Brooklyn Brewery: What is life like in New York City?
Lions: I really love New York City. I really love Brooklyn. I feel very lucky to live here and have my career here. But at times, you know, nothing’s easy. Everything is kind of like an extra step. Still, I really love the pace and the community that we have here. I get inspired by people and the imagery around me and kind of like the hustle and bustle of every day in New York.
BB: You’ve lived in NYC for over 25 years – how has your attitude changed with your time here?
L: We’ve had a lot of fun here, so I’m grateful for the times I’ve had. But I’m also focused on continuing to grow and I don’t feel like I would necessarily grow if I was partying super crazy. I take big breaks from drinking alcohol often and I feel like with the pace of life here, it’s really nice to take some time to focus on your health and clarity and be very productive.
BB: What advice would you give to artists just starting out in New York?
L: Health is wealth. Try to get fit and stay healthy as soon as you can, and build some healthy habits that you can carry on until later years. And try to maintain a constant balance of staying creative. Also I think rest is important. Relaxation, chilling, we need some downtime especially in this crazy city when you’re doing so much you need to take a moment to relax and recharge.
BB: Do you feel like there’s a stigma to non-alcoholic beers that we’re moving past?
L: My early impressions were that non-alcoholic beer is not going to taste great, or even similar. And now I think everything is moving towards people looking for the familiar feeling without the negative effects of alcohol.
BB: How do non-alcoholic drinks like Special Effects fit into your life?
L: Non-alcoholic beverages are a great option for us to have, especially around the holidays when you want to socialize and you don’t want to feel out of place. It’s a nice way to stay included.
Looking for more stories from our neighborhood? Check out our sessions with Victoria Rose Adrian, Jordan Page, and Jenny Olbrich for more. Plus, drink along with $10 off any $50+ Special Effects order from our Online Store this Dry January.