Denver-Based Artist Paints In Pixels For Figure Painting And Landscapes

In a similar way to how the entrance of film technologies threatened theatre, it can be readily observed how traditional fine arts such as painting have had to contend with the digital contingent. Making this explicit is Denver-based artist Lui Ferreyra, whose figurative and landscape paintings demonstrate the web-based influences that have become etched into our modern modes of visual experience.


Working from both live models and photographs, Lui’s fractalised aesthetic zooms into a type of brainwave that registers a pixelated perceptual programme, provoking a startling counterpoint to a world of advertising that favours the hyper-real.


As if peering through the lens of crystal, or imitating the rhizomatic vision of a fly, Lui’s pristine attention to light and colour enables his explosive style to be compatible with a unified subject. “More than light and shadow, I’m obsessed with the uniqueness of each shape’s hue,” he tells us.

Tiny subtleties of shading and strokes of the brush allow for a brilliant capture, reminiscent of the dynamism achieved by the interpolated rotoscope technique famously used in the films Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. This gives Lui’s figures the effect of glistening and vibrating in the light of a hidden sun; his subjects look marvellously gripping.


Even more than his figure-painting, the landscape images contain manifold shards of vibrant colour.

Just a quick glimpse at one of them serves to intensify a feeling akin to an imminent onset of cross-eyes, attempting to deceive and multiply. Just imagine witnessing one of these up close on a huge canvas and taking its quality; the impressive stares of the figures who are contained, frozen, in a smashed-up glassy effect of a polyphonic scene.


We caught up with Lui to find out more:

The Plus: Your primary focus is on bodies and faces. What fascinates you about them?
Lui Ferreyra:
It’s what we look at the most, other people, especially faces. I just find the subject endlessly interesting and beautiful. I realise that my answer sounds tautological. There’s no real justification. I simply find the subject intrinsically fascinating.


TP: How would you characterise your style?
In one word: fragmentism. In one sentence: a breakdown of visual sensory input reconstructed into a fragmented colour-field.


TP: What’s your creative process and what materials do you use?
An idea pops into my head. If it still seems interesting after a few weeks I’ll pursue it by first scheduling a photo session. I pair down hundreds of photos into a handful I really like. I then create compositions in Photoshop adjusting the colour to my taste. Then I lay it out by sketching the composition on to a canvas using a large grid. After that I do a rough under-painting in acrylic. Then I start to tile over the canvas shape by shape until the entire surface is covered. Lastly, I address any problem areas or colours I want to augment or attenuate. I mix a unique colour for each shape, meaning that no colour is repeated.


TP: Which image from this portfolio means the most to you?
It’s really hard to choose, and it changes frequently. For a long time it was ‘Delusion’, hands down– it was just such an enormous undertaking, so bold and brave. Now, I think I’d have to go with ‘Superimposition 7’ – I find myself looking at it the most. Normally I have a lot of critiques for my paintings, but for this one I don’t really have any. It’s just really harmonious.


TP: Are there any stories behind the figures you work with?
The model for ‘Superimposition 7’ is somebody I went to high school with. About a decade ago, she was one of two female models I used. Then she moved away for a long time, so I started using a lot of new models. Recently, she moved back. So it was kind of cool to reconnect after so long. On a side note, she happens to be one of those people that just can’t seem to take a bad picture, it’s kind of uncanny.


TP: What’s next for you this year?
I literally just finished a mural in Mexico (a few hours ago). Now I can’t wait to go home and continue to add to my series for my upcoming show at William Havu Gallery called, Sum Ergo Sum, which means, “I am therefore I am”.