3DTotal: You are heavily into your music. To what extent does music play a part in your inspirations? Luis: I’m heavily into my music, yes, but they’re usually two separate passions when it comes to artistic production. I don’t normally listen to the kind of music I play (Latin music) when I’m painting, because most of it is too upbeat - it makes me want to just get up and dance, and also because I like to focus on it to enjoy it. It’s demanding stuff to listen to! I don’t like to see music merely as a soundtrack for when I’m working... Unless it’s a poster for my band! But sometimes I do get inspired by certain tracks for the imagery of my pictures, either because they are scary or melancholic, or because they just show me something or take me somewhere. They can help me get into that painting trance, and I believe they contribute greatly to the final result.
3DTotal: You have a very wide range of subjects for your pictures, including yourself, friends, family, imaginary characters and caricatures, as well as a range of environments and landscapes. If you were ‘let loose’, what would you choose to paint more often? Luis: I don’t know; my interests shift from time to time, as well as my motivation to paint and sketch in a certain medium. Lately I’ve been gradually more interested in background art. And I find myself painting scenes with no sunlight, for which there’s probably some explanation, but I don’t think about it too much. When I’m “let loose” as you say, I just go from whatever is inspiring me at that moment, whether it’s art or reality. Recently, much inspiration comes from reading, and I’ve been reading some American authors like Bukowski and Philip K. Dick.
I’m also devoting my free time to a personal project that’s been slowly growing. I can’t say much right now, other
than it involves a ton of foggy
city scenes and some robots. But now you know that’s what I’ve been and will be doing for a while.
3DTotal: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists and conga players? Luis: Ha ha, it’s funny you put artists and conga players together, because I often think of the two in parallel. I’m self-taught in both activities, and my general advice for both is the same. First of all, don’t waste time, just do it! We’re all lazy. But if you like drawing, or playing music, the more you can dodge that laziness, the more addicted you’ll get. Second of all, don’t get discouraged. Failure is a natural part of learning and it’s only an obstacle if you can’t see past it. Get yourself a clear goal. You’ll worry much more about failing if you’re aimlessly trying to come up with stuff. Whether it’s a painting or a killer solo, you need a reference, a model, something to look up to and keep your horizon bright.
Get your foundations right. This has a lot to do with having a goal, but in a technical way. Know what you need to improve: figure drawing, drum strokes or whatever. Just look at your heroes’ work, look at yours, see what you need to improve, and get on it! Internet is free knowledge - it’s all there! Don’t get discouraged if the path seems too long. What does it
matter how long it takes when it’s fun?
Don’t be afraid to show your stuff and get criticism. There are many communities for all levels of
expertise, and you can get honest, useful crits from people that can really help you. But take a good dose of subjectivity with each crit. I’ve seen people react badly to constructive criticism because they’re too uptight and insecure about their work. There’s no right way to do anything in art, and every opinion is subjective. Just take whatever you think is right (if you think anything is) in what others say, and use it to push forward and improve. Never let it push you down. Also, be sure to always have fun (or as much as possible when you get to be a professional!).
Finally, search for your own voice and style. On one hand, don’t use “it’s just my style” as an excuse not to experiment or improve technically, but most importantly, don’t settle for replicating what other people do either. There are far too many artists doing the same thing right now, and while there’s lots of demand for certain styles of art with a similar look within the entertainment industry, we all have to gain if each artist finds an original angle on their subjects instead of just joining a trend. I’m thinking of Concept art especially, which is way too standardized these days.