a conversation with Luis Diaz

by Eddie Arroyo

A Voltron action figure stands sentinel among other toys the display case. It is the Lion Force Voltron and my personal favorite, far better than the vehicles and the gladiators that came afterwards. I can hear the epic theme music that introduced the television series as this mighty robot generated its blazing sword to defeat its enemies and save the day. This small toy brings back old childhood memories of exciting adventures that have been experienced in the intimate confines of my ten year old mind And as I look around Luis Diaz studio I get that same energy emanating
from his work.

For the past decade he has been showcasing his artwork in and around the United States and Canada. A number of his work has been seen in the South Florida area along with publications such as Juxtapoz magazine. He has also created 40 paintings of the new Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages where the influence of thought pieces can be seen in his current series of work. Now he has studio space in the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, Miami.

I occupy a chair across from his desk, curious about his work.

Eddie Arroyo:
I see you have a Green Lantern T-shirt on are you excited about the movie
coming out this summer?

Luis Diaz:
I don’t know if I’m gonna see the movie at all. I mean, I’ll wait to see
if word of mouth is good but I have always been a Green Lantern fan and
don’t want the movie to ruin it for me. So right now I probably won’t see
it but then… who knows.

EA
So tell me a bit more about your Creatura Series.

LD
Well I just finished the Garbage Pail Kids and somehow still wanted to be
working with that same idea. So what I do is bring the image into
Photoshop and start to move the image around in different layers. When I’m
satisfied with what I’ve done then I print it out. Then I use it as
reference on a painting and continue to work with it until I’m satisfied
with the results.

I just recently changed the color to the background on this painting. So
it’s an ongoing process.

EA
I see that you’re really playing with these images the way you layer and
manipulate them. Are the images important or can you see yourself using a
different image?

LD
Right now I’m cool with the Garbage Pail Kids but I have used other images
before.

EA
Yeah, I saw the Frankenstein Painting that’s hanging in the hall. That one
works really well too.

LD
Well there was a client that was interested in buying it but then she
changed her mind and wanted another one but with less drips of paint. I
wanted to put twice as many drips when she said that.

EA
That’s funny. I know what you mean by that.

LD
I’ve done freelance graphic work for a long time but now I really want to
do stuff that I want. I’m very interested in combining fine art with pop
art; you know push that line further.

EA
I see you’re doing that with this Creatura Series. It seems more of an
exercise in working with the shapes and colors. Do you see these painting
as abstractions?

LD
I don’t know about abstractions. I guess they can be seen that way but the
images are still important to me so I don’t really see them as an
abstraction. I still see a mouth here and an eye there even though it’s
juxtaposed and layered. It’s still important that the image remains
somewhat intact.

EA
I see how your studio is set up and aside from all the paintings and
drawing there are a lot of toys and comic book paraphernalia. I’m curious
to know why.

LD
When I was a kid I loved comics and toys like most kids but I still like
the feeling they bring back. I see that people really respond to simple
shapes and colors and when I use images like the Garbage Pail Kids they
become really fun to me. It’s a great way to use pop imagery. There is
this thing that has been bothering me a bit that I’ve been trying to get
away from and that would be from doing Lowbrow stuff. I don’t want my work
to be seen as Lowbrow.

EA
What do you mean? Your work seems to be steeped in the Lowbrow movement
especially your past work.

LD
That’s the thing, I don’t want to be in a movement or group of people.
Don’t get me wrong I have a lot respect for the Low Brow movement and I
can see my past work being up in that group. It’s just that I’m at the
point in my life that I want to do my own thing. That’s why I’m really
excited about the Creatura Series, it not just about the Garbage Pail Kids
but what I’m doing with them.

EA
I see these large blank canvases on the wall what do you plan to do next?

LD
That’s hard to say. I’m thinking about using the same technique I got from
the Creatura Series and using it to the type of work I’ve done in the
past.

EA
That’s crazy. I can’t even imagine what that would look like.

LD
Neither can I.

www.ldiaz.com
www.bacfl.org

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Dont ask what the meaning of art is, define it!
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