is a Miami artist working in the commercial world of video games, comic books, trading cards, and T-shirts. He is simultaneously in the process of "finding his own voice and doing more personal work." He calls himself an "illustrator and wannabe fine artist." Since 2003, he's produced about 40 cards for the classic retro gross-outGarbage Pail Kids
company and recently began work with Broward web and mobile gaming developerVirtual Prophecy
We spoke to Diaz from his studio at the Bakehouse Art Complex. He told us his youth, comics cons, and how he has to be dhis own work's harshest critic. He also agree to give away free art to a lucky commenter. See below for details.
Diaz at work.
New Times: Are you from Miami?
Diaz: Born in Cuba. Then there was a big long trip of moving through South America, then crossing the border, and then ending up here. I've been here since I was five years old, getting influenced by cartoons and my own experience.
How's that relate to your commercial work?
Well with Garbage Pail, as a kid those were like the first real paintings on cards that I saw and then I started drawing for friends and stuff just for fun. Then years later, I met a kid at a convention -- he looked to me like he was 15 -- and he said, "Oh I used to collect Garbage Pail cards," and it didn't hit me 'til later. I was like, wait a minute, it was like 2008. If you go back like five years he was like 10 years old, so that was a real weird experience of like going full spectrum. It's like the older I get, the older they get, so there's probably gonna be kids influenced by what I do, so that's kinda cool.
Obviously it's a business, but do you ever get pissed off as an artist with commercial projects and what that entails?
One thing that I learned right away is that as soon as you think that you finished something, doesn't mean that you finished it. You gotta go through the editing process. It's done for you OK, but it's not done for the client. In the beginning it was kinda hard for me to deal with that and a lot of times I had to like stand up and go somewhere just so I don't reply to them on the phone a certain way. You gotta just kinda hold it in cause that's just how it is. Some people have that job to edit and if you don't do it, then you won't have that job. That's how it works.
With illustration, it's more like somebody telling you their ideas and
you have to sort of predict what they want and maybe even do something
better than they imagined. That's usually what they want, but with my stuff, I
just like to think about things that relate to me, my history, and my
interaction with the world.
Any advice to other artists?
Try to be true to yourself 'cause that's the only way you'll be original.
Leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win a free 12x17" Luis Diaz original print! Winner will be chosen next Thursday, September 23rd.
Diaz at work.
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Prints from artist's collection.