Remembering the generosity of William Lu


It’s with great sadness that I write that artist and DIY scene supporter William Lu passed away this Thursday.

William was a mainstay at The Smell and Pehrspace, and was an 8-bit video game artist, gamer (“CarpetFrom Aladdin”), Samurai Shodown champion and generous friend. He was 37.

Lots and lots of tributes have been appearing on social media for good reason: William was a truly special guy. He was outgoing, gentle, had a pure heart, a great sense of humor, was an enthusiastic supporter of musicians and artists, and was an exceptional artist in his own right.

William Lu RIP

Please consider contributing to a GoFundMe started by his cousin, Dat, to help cover William’s family’s bills from a month-long hospital stay and for his funeral expenses.

William’s cousin writes:

William Lu is a selfless person. If you were lucky enough to hang out with him you would know that he genuinely cared about you and always listened; he was the best listener ever! His heart is gold and his actions full of compassion. He’s an incredible son, brother, cousin, uncle, and buddy to countless people. Especially the music scene in Los Angeles, William would always go out of his way to volunteer at the Smell and other venues. William loved video games and was part of multiple online communities, most importantly William cared about people, if nobody got you a gift on your birthday, William would be the person to get you one.

William was diagnosed with pneumonia (NOT COVID), he battled with it for 4 weeks and passed away this morning July 9th, 2020. He was 37 years old. Prior to getting ill, William worked many hours, and also took care of his ill mother. He also loved his nephew and nieces very much.

Thank you for reading. Anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated by the Lu Family.
We Love You William, 09/28/83 – 07/09/20

I was a recipient of William’s generosity on many occasions. He created some 8-bit art for my website—and an amazing pillow with stars of the local music scene like I.E. and Captain Ahab printed on the front.

I was so proud of the pillow that I displayed William’s handiwork in my living room for a decade. Unfortunately, I loved it to the point of destruction—the printing faded to blank from sunlight, which is heartbreaking.

Here are some examples of William’s 8-bit art:

Looks like you can now buy a t-shirt with The Smell design—cool!

In 2010, I had the fortune of interviewing William Lu for a mini-documentary I made about Walt Gorecki’s Tetricide gallery show at Pehrspace which William showed his work in. (You can watch the original video here.)

This morning, I posted a remastered version of the Tetricide documentary with aspect ratio issues fixed, and some gentle sound + color correction.

And I made William the cover star—he deserves it:

See William Lu talk about his art just after the two-minute mark.

William may have been a gentle guy, but he knew how to have fun with the punk rockers in the pit. Here’s a gallery of Willam at my old Pehrspace shows, including the Tetricide closing party.

These images have never been published before:

In late May, William messaged me that he was experiencing shortness of breath. I told him on May 29th: please go to the emergency room. I never thought that would be the last time I would talk to him.

2020 has not been a great year, and this adds to the despair.

Rest in peace, William, I am glad I knew you.

Please contribute to the William Lu GoFundMe

Check out the tribute from William’s SamSho community

William’s IG

There’s some cool stuff on his YouTube too

Read more about Tetricide

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