Behind the Artist: Lucas León

Brazil Nut

With another incredible artist dropping on the marketplace we took a deep dive into the artist’s story. I’ll let the Q&A below do the talking for this article!

How did you get started with art?

I have the story of the artist who started drawing from childhood and never stopped, but what really made me decide to dedicate myself to being an artist was a near-death experience.

When I was a child, art was always a refuge and a way to enjoy my loneliness, despite having good friends, it was something in which I could pleasantly isolate myself. At school, I drew on the last page of the notebooks, and I made cartoons to laugh with my classmates.

My first aesthetic maturation came when I took an extra charcoal drawing workshop at my school. This artistic path was motivated by my parents when they saw my enjoyment when I create something, especially from my mother who painted ceramics, and from my part, playing to draw, somehow made me know that despite everything, I had art, and it still is.

After several years, the near-death experience appeared.

After several years, the near-death experience appeared. This happened when I was studying Graphic Design at university (meanwhile I kept drawing on some pages of my notebooks, always as something hidden). Due to a risky situation at a party, I deeply suffered the panic for the chance of losing my life.

That horrible moment made me rethink fundamental things about my existence. I ended the relationship with my girlfriend of that time, and I left Graphic Design in the last year of my career. I needed to know what it was that overflowed sensation and what generates so much internal emptiness. I desperately needed time for myself and looking for something that would give me meaning to my life, something that could be real among all the appearances I was living in, and that was what pushed me to decide to be an artist.

I started studying Professional Illustration, and art went from being something displaced and an unimportant thing to being my way of working on my desire to live deeper. I wanted to increase the awareness of existing, understand reality and what I really desire to be and do in life. That is the vitalism that I carry and I want to share in my works, to connect and enrich myself with others.

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How did you discover NFTs? 

When the pandemic began, it was strange and terrible for me sometimes, but also it was an impulse to find what different things I can do from the confinement. The first year of the pandemic I focused on applying to international art awards (39 prizes in total, of which I was selected in 21, with 2 first places and 1 second place).

I also followed many artists, galleries, and creative agencies to see how they were working on solutions. Among all that movement, Chimera agency (UK) saw the awards that I won in 2020, and reach me to represent my work as an NFT artist.

They called me and I found out about the NFT’s existence, they told me about this market, about SuperRare, and about their projects. I started researching to see more of crypto’s potential, I accepted the contract with the agency, and I decided that my place would be the NFTs.

What made you decide to get involved with NFTs?

I saw the NFTs as a way to finance my art in a revolutionary way, I saw it as a great anarcho-capitalist structure ready to boost artistic careers. I saw the concept of royalties as something that increase the value of the artist like never before, not only for its direct economic benefit, projected to infinity, also as a way to stay out of the abuses of a lot of traditional art galleries with very high sale percentages and no royalties, and to create economy outside governments and banks, here the artists have more power of decision.

Although it may not be this way forever, but this is how I felt my enthusiasm from the beginning. Now I look at it with more criteria and am always attentive to questioning, but the NFTs is a power that I want to continue expanding, I am excited when a universe of possibilities opens up.

That is why I want to know about what type of institutions came in, that will seek to centralize and replicate their structure of abuse, limiting human power and creativity. I think this could happen, but also, as always, there will be resistance, and now we can work it from this new position.

Can you tell us about your NFT journey so far? Any highs and low’s to share?

In the beginning, many beneficial things coincided for my entry into the NFTs. I was really excited when IndraTor (artist and moderator of Foundation’s discord) did a giveaway for an invitation to the marketplace. While I was posting my work on the “invite” section of its discord with a lot of other artists, she select my art from that section and I had no idea about the giveaway, so it was a great surprise, and she gave me the invitation.

When I announced my entry to the NFTs, I already had two friends (Tristan Yver and Jorge Corsi) who wanted to invest in my works. They have followed my art for years and they wanted to encourage me by buying some of my NFTs, I felt deeply grateful to all of them, that whole process was beautiful, because I was also very welcomed by artists that I admire and now we are together moving in this place.

Then I went through a low period of several months without selling works, I felt frustrated and disappointed, I was tired to work on my own marketing, and being so attached to the cell phone to build community, and it felt like it wasn’t working. So I realized that I need help from a team that takes care of marketing, that way I can dedicate myself entirely to my art.

So there is when The NFT Agency appeared and I got a chance to drop in and Kollect, it’s awesome. With this, I feel that I am going up again and I am happy, also because I have been able to spend less time on social media and in a more healthy rhythm for me. Now I’m just creating most of the time, and I love it.

How would you describe your style? Where does your inspiration come from?

Formally, I create Fine Art illustrations of surrealism, I’m solely focused on making authorial artworks and transforming them into NFTs. More sensitively, I find myself more intimately in art when I go through all these details in the artwork because that teaches me deeply about existence, and I want to share it as best I can, in case something resonates, awakens, or heals us.

At least I know that dedicating myself to art is dedicating myself to love – it is the work of expressing something honest. Despite our mistreated world and society, that love is in helping us to talk with the soul, from there I trust what comes out, I trust what connects, and what that disarticulates to build another rebel and more open being. About what inspired me: The depth. That substance within the image of things.

The question of why something exists like that, and value or criticize it from its mystery. Depth enriches life and enters the wound. I want to show it because from it we can heal ourselves and build clarity to bear the pain, and redirect our potentials. I am inspired to be able to contribute my part to the world, I feel that I can help to have a better relationship with our unconscious, with others, and with nature.

What is your creative process when creating an NFT?

I usually begin by writing, studying, and registering the most interesting ideas and feelings at that moment. Generally, I take influences of varying fields such as philosophy, psychoanalysis, and spirituality. When I discover what I want to say, my intention is to express it in the most intimate and elegant way.

I sketch symbols that can capture part of that investigation, and I discover what elements I need to draw in the final artwork. So I take photos of those forms in the real world, people, landscapes, and mix them with images from the web. I design a digital collage with all that images in Photoshop. Once the collage reaches its final composition using a mathematical structure, I print and work it in a light table, drawing with graphite on the final paper, to copy shapes and shadows, and mix it with imaginary shapes that are not found within the college.

Then, I draw on this graphite structure using inking as well as pointillism techniques, or with my new fine technique in graphite to finish the analog part. Finally, I scan it in 1200dpi and paint it with digital colors in Photoshop.

What are your thoughts on the future of NFTs?

Technology creates structure in society. Technological inventions are setting guidelines in our ways of relating and how we inhabit places, how we do business, and how we connect or disconnect between ourselves, the city, and nature. The meta-universe, cryptocurrencies and NFTs, are the new great structure. I think it will be integrated into new generations where cryptocurrencies will replace fiat money, and NFTs will become the way of authenticating trade, legalities, events, and everything that needs to be verified.

The NFTs in terms of art, I think it will be the way to authenticate physical and virtual works, where traditional art galleries will be forced to distribute their power between the marketplaces, VR galleries, AR, and new forms of virtual exhibitions that are not jet created, as well as new forms of the physical exhibition on screens, billboards and more.

This will bring new artistic auction platforms, different from the traditional and centralized ones. Also financing from virtual communities such as DAOs, and powers that we cannot yet imagine, which will happen when cryptocurrencies become the social structure.

If governments and multinationals fail to centralize important parts of the blockchain, I think that all of this creates the potential for more types of commercial strategies for culture, other ways to value an artist and to reach different exclusivities, which can give space for more people to make a living from their art. The blockchain not only can decentralize money and banks, but it can also decentralize the art market.

Are there any drops that you are looking forward to?

On November 30 I will have my second drop with The NFT Agency on with a collection inspired by three tarot cards: “The Fool”, “The Magician” and “The Sun”, where I made a story to show them as essential elements of a spiritual transformation, between freedom, responsibility and expansion.

And on the other hand, I am investigating around the topic of “finitude or closeness to death as a way to create vitalism”. With the story that I told in the first question, you can realize that I lived this, and I know that the awareness of death gives the possibility to have a more authentic existence, the power to live in a more real way to oneself, and this investigation gives me more understanding about my experience, a better way to express it and expand the importance of this topic from other thinkers. This new collection will be released next year as my genesis drop on SuperRare.

What would be 1 piece of advice that you would give to a new NFT artist?

Be patient and realistic, if you don’t sell, try other things or work with other people, but you need to accept reality as fast as you can because that way you can put your energy where really need to go. That’s why I am firm with the agencies and right now we are working better together. People will tell you how it can work for you, but always be yourself and make new mistakes.

Creating community isn’t the solution for all, marketplaces don’t work the same way for everybody, agencies don’t give you the same movements, so you have a clean road to experiment and create your own path. Finding someone that wants to invest in you is both luck and hard work because I feel that when you put your soul in art, that content can connect with more sensibilities of people, and in terms of money, they can be closer to support your creations if they feel that connection.

The artists need to learn to philosophize and allow themselves to feel emotions, as well as learn about business and marketing. In terms of the relationship between artist and art, I think that the study of being in the first layer of creation. Art is refined if it is driven by self-knowledge. Art is a field of knowledge that speaks firmly of the human being like science, philosophy, etc. it expands our “sensitive vocabulary” to understand us.

I think that it requires a deep study to know what you want to express, ask yourself why? for what? how? And answer or play with it in aesthetics. Art is a game to be taken seriously, and sometimes it is the most difficult thing to do, the most difficult thing to believe in, and you have to resist, because it is necessary that art sometimes dies in you, so that it appears in you with new power. Because art also fights, fight for what you want to say from the bowels, that can open from distressing repressions, free us from that and be more humans.

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