Would you rather be great at one thing or good at many? It’s a question that has been asked over and over again, but perhaps not to Landis “Expandis” McCord, who defies the logic behind it.
Landis Expandis is a Baltimore-based artist who has been a fixture in the creative scene for about 30 years. He takes pride in being well-versed in different forms of expression, diving into lanes of visual art such as painting on top of being a musician and DJ.
Expandis has stayed fresh by constantly reinventing himself. After moving to Baltimore to study painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, he first found popularity while fronting the All Mighty Senators band. Since then he has performed with other groups, such as Flo and F City, as well as creating his own act called Landis Harry Larry.
As he has brought a sense of joy and entertainment to many, Expandis’ loved ones are hoping others will return the support. In the midst of his various artistic endeavors, the Baltimore staple has dealt with personal battles as well, including pneumonia, kidney dialysis and transplants. Now Expandis, who is immunocompromised, has kidney and liver failure, the latter due to lymphoma.
Those close to Expandis and his spouse, Freda Mohr, have organized a GoFundMe to help his family navigate through the hardships they are enduring as Expandis has been hospitalized for more than a month.
Nic Berg, one of the fundraiser’s organizers and Expandis’ close friend of 22 years, joked that Expandis was from another world because “he can’t be defined.” “He’s just so into everything and everyone and he loves vibrant personalities because that’s exactly what he is. You are what you attract,” she said.
Fellow F City band member Lala Anderson has known Expandis since 2017. She believes that his infectious energy and incredible personality are some of his defining traits, which makes it easy to work with him. “He’s encouraged other people and done so much for them by just being himself and being so welcoming,” she said.
His desire to reach others continued over the COVID-19 pandemic, even when he was unable to perform live or see others. He offered online painting tutorials during that time, helping aspiring artists to begin their careers. And from quarantine his Landis Harry Larry trio was also born — a synth punk/funk crew of three different versions of Expandis coupled with fantastical videos.
Rebecca Hoffberger, the retired director of the American Visionary Art Museum, worked with Expandis on the institution’s “The Science and Mystery of Sleep” exhibition after hearing Expandis’ “Sleep schedule” track. With lyrics like, “Well, is it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or what? / Sleep schedule’s all jacked up / Wine glass sitting next to my coffee cup / ‘cause of sleep schedules all jacked up,” Hoffberger believed it would be the perfect soundtrack accompaniment. She said his intelligence and dedication are two of the main reasons she and many others are fans of his work.
“I just have so much respect for Landis,” she said. “He’s so creative. A lot of people are one-trick ponies, but not him. He’s so good at everything that he does.”
He still maintains work as a painter, his original reason for moving to Baltimore from New Haven, Connecticut. Influenced by Van Gogh and Matisse, he sells pieces on his personal website, like “Uptown Friday Night,” a modern depiction of a nightclub with dancing, live music and drinks.
And it’s his creative outlets that are also helping him in this time of need. His record label, Big Curve Music, wrote a Facebook post last week with all the ways fans can help Expandis. In addition to sharing the GoFundMe, Big Curve announced the company is selling bundles of Expandis’ music as well as posters and stickers to help raise money, with all proceeds going directly to the artist and his family. There is also a Landis Harry Larry listening party at The Brewer’s Art on June 20, with all record sales going to Expandis, as well as a benefit show at the Ottobar on July 1.
The response to his diagnoses and outpouring support from the art scene continues to show Expandis’ reach and influence in the city. “He’s one of the great treasures of Baltimore and beyond,” Hoffberger said.