“Because of my intimate relationship between Paris and New York it felt really natural for me to do,” says Lyons, who often travels between the two cities to work for companies like the boutique Colette. “And a brand that’s open to art is a brand that I want to work with.” We are riding together from Paris to New York, surrounded by the buoyant drawings. From my window seat, I’m confronted by a laughing monster.
For the commission, Lyons created a total of 40 different images, which were then applied to 80 windows (all but those at the fire exits). A large, grinning critter is also splashed across the plane’s tail. Each airline passenger is given an accompany ’zine that collects all of the drawings. “The best thing these monsters do is put smiles on people’s faces,” Lyons says. (He first started drawing them for his young daughter, to encourage her to eat her lunch.) “The thing about them is they’re not male or female, black or white, Jewish or Catholic. They’re not divisive, they are who they are.”
While doing research for the project, Lyons scoured Instagram for photographs taken from planes: round windows framing idyllic sunsets or cityscrapes, as well as drawings and selfies. The goal, he says, was to find a way to make passengers socially engage with his characters. “It’s one thing to do art, but this is not technically an art show, it’s a fun experiment where I want people to be involved.”