Each month we invite a creative to curate the Behance social feed for a week. We spoke with this month’s Guest Curator and illustrator Antonio Luvs about his influences, creative processes, and the moodboard he curated on Behance.
“For me, as a queer person who grew up in a conservative and religious environment, drawing has always been a form of self-representation that allowed me to glimpse into worlds, unthinkable possibilities, trances, and dreams,” shares Antonio Luvs, an illustrator and art teacher based in Brazil. “Even today, as an art teacher, I try to tell my students that artistic expression is a tool for self-knowledge and knowledge of others.”
Antonio has been drawing since he was a child — one of his earliest creative memories is drawing comics in his childhood. Comics still have a big influence on his work today.
He went on to study visual arts in college, but turned to illustration when he “began feeling lazy about the seriousness and pretentiousness of contemporary art and the art history world.” And while he describes his visual arts education as an invaluable experience and influence on his art, he finds illustration more fun and accessible.
Antonio sees the creative process is akin to a spiritual ritual. “Art was born out of rituals, after all. And it has always kept this relationship with the spiritual (for instance, the flourishing of art in the Middle Ages). And I see art making as a magical-artistic-ritual.” He often involves oracles, such as Tarot Cards, to guide him through his illustrations.
Antonio admits that pursuing a creative career can come with its hurdles: “It is really challenging to be an artist in Brazil, which is a country with immense riches, but undervalues art and culture. Making a living through art can be a problem, although I’m aware this isn’t a Brazilian particularity.” But to Antonio, the sacrifice is well worthwhile. “It is extremely rewarding to share an idea, a feeling, a thought, a trauma, a problem. Things like that are existentially rewarding in a way that I can’t even imagine my life without art.”
As an art teacher, Antonio believes one of the most important lessons he can part to his pupils is looking for external references: “I think it is a fundamental part of art production to consume, to be interested, and to be open to other people’s art. It builds an essential repertoire for any artistic process.”
Antonio quotes music, visual art, design, cinema, fashion, comics, and advertising among some of his sources of inspiration. In his project Inkpalletmusic, Antonio combined several themes to create a series of dynamic illustrated portraits: “I mixed two Inktober themes: one consisted of a predefined color palette for each day, and the other of album covers. It was fun to select the albums according to the given color palette.”
Behance has been a valuable resources for Antonio to browse a wide range of inspiration from professionals of all backgrounds and walks of life: “Behance is a place where I can use the proper tools to organize these multiple languages in moodboards. Also, it holds a great diversity of media, so it’s a really precious source.”
When it came to curating his moodboard, Antonio has a clear vision: he combined high fashion influences with psychedelic illustrations that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Fashion is a source that Antonio references frequently in his work, and he was drawn to South African Justin Dingwall’s dynamic interpretation of Picasso’s paintings. Justin’s concept was to “explore how Africa inspired Picasso and to reinterpret his work to create a photographic series that captures the energy and emotion his paintings evoke.”
Antonio was taken by the contrast between the various elements of the editorial: “the outfits are so fluttering, so rich in patterns and textures. It really delights me. The shadows projected by cardboard masks provide a fancy and dense atmosphere.”
“I love how in this project, Berje is able to use lines in a way that produces texture and movement,” says Antonio of fellow Brazilian illustrator Cezar Berje’s illustrations for a distilling company. “Even when he uses only solid colors, he can create an extremely tactile sensation. And the design of the characters gives me hallucinogenic Dungeons & Dragons remake vibes.”
Some projects Antonio came across on Behance changed his entire outlook on specific types of imagery. “I had never liked the Christmas aesthetics, but this work made me change my mind,” he says of Ge Lima’s vibrant holiday illustrations. “The ballroom culture represented through Christmas elements in geometrical shapes while keeping the Voguing visual dynamism is a visual 10 across the board.”