We had the good fortune of connecting with Luis Guerrero and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luis, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
As a kid I always loved creating and seeing different worlds and characters. From the 90s filled style of Sonic the Hedgehog, to the grandiose adventures of The Legend of Zelda, I’ve always enjoyed seeing these worlds. I began drawing to try and replicate my idols’ work and then as that grew, developing my own characters, stories and worlds, which required my artistic skills and narrative skills to evolve. So in a pursuit of becoming more capable in creating the stories I wanted to create and reach the same level as those who inspired me, I took it upon myself to work myself onto my current artistic standing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My Art came from my passion for creating stories, I’ve always loved being able to create new worlds, and so in order to bring these worlds to life, I worked my hardest to bring my skills up to a level that would allow me to do so. My Art is very influence by anime and video games, particularly the works of Yusuke Kozaki (Fire Emblem, No More Heroes), Suzuhito Yasuda (Yozakura Quartet, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor), Akihiko Yoshida (Nier: Automata, Bravely Default) and many others in the field, along with the graphical styles of games of Blazblue and Guilty Gear. I also get inspiration from many online artists, honestly too many to count and name. I think what makes my work unique is the amount of energy on my illustrations. I’ve always had a passion for high energy, dynamic poses, and I’ve worked my skill set to be able to produce very “hype inducing works”. The kind of piece that makes you get excited and want to see what happens next in the action.
This might seem like a small thing to someone not familiar with art, but conveying movement, energy and perspective are key elements of my art that, though I’m proud that I am able to achieve them, even if it takes me a while to figure it out. A big element of my work is also the mood that I convey through the colors and my lighting. Subtle changes in color, tone, ambiance, harshness of lighting and such can really change the whole feeling of a piece, and I think that’s really where my uniqueness lies, in how I manipulate these elements in ways where I’m able to convey the mood and story I want to convey, as every piece has a story, even if it’s not immediately apparent.
I’m particularly fond of pieces with large amounts of characters, since they allow me to really begin telling a story, but these are particularly difficult to do, as balancing out the whole composition and set up, how I guide the viewer’s eye through the page, plus the amount of work hours applied to the piece. I’d like to be able to find more time to do these extreme pieces with large amounts of characters, but that’s what I feel is the toughest time with all of this. Time.
I’m a student of Marriage and Family therapy, currently studying in my masters and soon moving to my DMFT, and I love studying this, it gives me what I need to help others in the future. I feel therapy is something everyone needs, as our daily struggles, big or small as they are, still have an effect on us. Thus I hope to make it my mission to support people so they can see a brighter future. However, the schedules for these two parts of my life come into conflict, so there are times where I have to make art sacrifices for the sake of my studies. I want to help people and that’s partly what I hope my art can do, to fill people’s hearts with joy excitement and hope. Though that desire for more time also extends to my other passions, such as writing and music making.
Some of my illustrations are based on my stories “Symphony” and “Binary”, and it’s tough to balance the time between studies, illustration, writing and etc. I’ve been working on “Symphony” for years and my meetings with any different authors, such as Antonio Skármeta (A Distant Father, El Plebisticio), Carol Frost (with whom I had a wonderful internship), Chase Twitchell (Horse Where The Answers Should have been) and Sy Montgomery (The Soul of An Octopus), along with the entire staff of my creative writing minor, have given me the knowledge and the skill I need to give my stories the quality work they deserve. My characters can now have the life and soul that they deserve in the written page, as well as in illustrated form.
With music, I’ve had an undying passion for it ever since I was a kid and I can’t work without it, whether it’s when writing, drawing, studying, or just going through my day to day, music lives and breathes within me. It’s been thanks to my friend Jessica, that I’ve been able to guide my unfocused passion into song writing, and though I don’t have too much to show yet publicly, every day is a step forward, every attempt means something. I’ve even been lucky enough to take a master class with the amazing Yasunori Nishiki (Granblue Fantasy Versus, Octopath Traveler), one of my favorite composers, who has taught the things I need to push my music to the next level, and thus add another element to the worlds I create, with the orchestral hard rock sound that rests in my heart.
My success has been a mixture of many things, one is the un-ending support of my friends and family, Who push me to get better in all my passions, give me feedback, and stop me from going through mentally toxic paths. People don’t realize the amount of self-criticism, sometimes bordering on self-hatred, that artists go through, especially on today’s digital age where a piece can take you a full week to draw and it scrolls by in the blink of an eye. However, through their support, not only have I been able to keep my mind healthy and in check, but also continued to find ways to grow my work in more positive ways and reach more people.
Initially it was very difficult, as my hand was unrefined and learning all these different facets was not easy. Yet I stuck through it, whether through passion or stubbornness, crashing against the walls of challenges that appeared before me until I could break through. Whether that was my lack of understanding of the female anatomy, my eternal battle with understanding hands, these were all battles I broke through thanks to the support of those around me. My friends, particularly those trained in art, taught me how to do studies where I refine each different area of my art, made me comfortable with using references, an element of art that is seen as a negative by some uneducated individuals, but that is a necessity to capture the reality of our world and transform it into what we want to see.
Another element that was challenging was my transition from Venezuela, to the US. Back in my country, I was a kind of quiet kid, I had difficulties connecting to others and thus, when I wanted to put my art out there, It felt like a herculean task. But I found my voice, I found my determination and the energy from those who love me to do so and now my artistic reach, the ‘RunnerGuitar’ Name continues to expand farther and farther. And I am eternally grateful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So my following recommendations come with the asterisk of “I like these places, but the Pandemic has made it difficult to go check the out”. First things first, I’d take them to POC or Keh-uh, local sushi restaurants where we can enjoy some high quality Japanese food. If they want something more hispanic, I recommend the Hot-Dog and Tequeño restaurant ‘Pepitos’, a restaurant made by fellow Venezuelans, bringing their hispanic heritage and flavor to their food. Seriously, Try their chicha, you won’t regret it. If you wanna have a real fun time, I’d recommend going to Arcade Odyssey. This is a fantastic local arcade, with a bunch of fun games, both classic and modern. Fighting game fans will have a blast there with some of the best games in the genre having machines there, such as Guilty Gear, UNIEL and many others, as well as classic games and rhythm games. For a nice relaxing time, I recommend going down to the Art Deco district, right by the beach, it is a beautiful sight, with a nice long side walk to take a calm walk, and then you can go for a chill swim by the beaches of Miami! Hopefully you all find something between all these locations that make you happy!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First, I’d to thank AeCore Backers for recommending me to Shout Out! They are a wonderful business, please check out their backdrops! I’d also like to thank my family, that have given me guidance and the opportunity to grow my craft the way I desire, but also guiding me into the man I am today. Mom, Dad, Step-Dad, Rocky, Abuelos, everyone, You’ve been a source of unending support and I don’t have enough words to thank you. Jessica Elalouf of Exigent, who has always been at my side, working as my idea confidant and as a wonderful and supportive friend. Though she ain’t only one, my Art Squad has also been there pushing me forward, giving me feedback and helping me improve. Ardel (@K17A_ on twitter), who has been a source of joy and laughs, and works along with me to help both of us grow and make our art a reality. My friend Alex Wible, who has been supporting me, pushing me forward and helping me get on my feet when I’m down. My online supporters and friends, who help my art reach more people and continue to grow my platform. Honestly, I could go on forever about the people I think deserve recognition for the way they have pushed me onward, and I’ll continue to be grateful and thankful until the end of my days. Thank you all, for everything.