Siri: Michael, what animal does your brother Thane remind you of?
Michael: A sloth. He’s got an easy-going, even temperament, but he always needs more naps.
S: What are some of the worst, weirdest pet names you’ve encountered in your work as a veterinarian?
M: Honestly, I feel like the worse the name, the better it is. Mona Lisa, Sparkles, Turd, Yoyo Britches, Mickey Mantle, Allegory, Precious, Foul Ball, "Flopsy Topsy TwoByFour", Frankfurter, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Verzulio are a few of my favorites.
S: Turd? Really??
M: And not just one. Numerous Turds.
S: What lead you to become a vet?
M: I remember once being asked by a dear friend, “Why wouldn’t you just go and be a real doctor?” My answer was that some of us care about people and animals, and also have this desire to be a part of the medical team, so I should probably be a vet. That answer still rings true.
S: I understand you also love dinosaurs?
M: The story behind the dinosaurs goes that, as a child, I had the complete set of these Jurassic Park toys, which got sold at a rummage sale when I lent it to a cousin. I was maybe traumatized for a few years, but our older brother seems to think that maybe I’m still a bit traumatized today. So for some time now he’s been sending me boxes of dinosaurs. It started getting pretty surreal when, for a whole month almost every other day, it was another box of dinosaurs in the mail. Now we have a lot of dinosaurs.
S: That sounds pretty magical. I notice you also have a lot of origami cranes laying around, where did these come from?
M: Making and giving origami has become something of a Lund brother tradition. The cranes started with a cousin of ours getting married to a fine Japanese fella. They were going to do the whole “thousand cranes for happiness” thing, so I asked them how I could help, and they said “oh well, we’re just going to do five hundred actually.” And I said “That’s ridiculous!” Nobody gets just half a life of happiness.
S: Thane, what do you want to be when you grow up?
T: I think in second grade we had to make a drawing of what we wanted to be ten years after high school, and I wanted to be a robot scientist.
S: Is that a scientist who studies robots, or a scientist who is a robot?
T: In my interpretation, I think it was a scientist who studies, builds and invents robots, and then probably deploys them for various tasks. Like sweeping the kitchen floor. Looking back it’s quite naive, but there’s still a sense of nostalgia there, and a part of me still wants to be a mad scientist and hammer on things that are flashing.
S: Tell me about your career as a boulder painter?
T: Back in North Dakota where we grew up, I got a lot of commissions to paint rocks on the side of the highway, a lot of Wild West stuff and old cars. It was great to move to New York and sort of liberate myself from my past in that sense, but it was also nice to work with people, learn their stories, and find out what excites them. After I had done a few of them, I learned that I really enjoyed meeting these people and having them show me their little collections. Everyone is a curator of their own life.
S: What do you collect?
T: I collect a lot of old books, with the intention of rebinding them and making them into sketchbooks. They all end up being gifted to the people they remind me of. Some people I give them to tell me that they feel almost too special to use, while other friends who are mad illustrators tell me, oh yeah, I filled it all up in two days. Which is awesome.
S: What’s the story behind all these cassettes?
T: There’s something I love about the way a tape wears out, how you can hear a song that you love as it ages from its original format. These tapes have come from everywhere. I have tapes from Denmark, I have tapes from Berlin, Brooklyn, North Dakota, Canada. One of my favorites is this mixtape I got up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, called “Wake-up Show” and it’s just the radio from the late ‘70’s. You put it on, and it’s like a time warp.