[INTERVIEW] Interview with Hola Lou "I feel very happy and strong when painting a wall"

MARCH 27, 2020

By Ungyu Yeo 

How would you describe styles or genre of your artwork?

Modern Abstract expressionism, Minimal Abstracts

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I usually start by drafting previous thoughts, ideas or concepts I have in mind - I found out recently that most of these are mainly affected by my long or short-term memories and experiences - I like to make a few color studies on a digital platform like Adobe Illustrator or Procreate before commiting to an analogue medium like painting, this helps me get to the best color harmony and ultimately achieve that ‘stability’ I’m always striving for when it comes to putting together compositions.


What’s the meaning of the name ‘Hola Lou’ exactly?

I’m not ashamed to admit that I initially (and strategically) started out painting and named myself ‘Lou’ - my real name is Luisa - in order to not let anyone know if I was a man or a woman. My plan behind it was to not post any pictures of myself and so I would probably get much more attention by pretending to be a man.. it worked. Hola means ‘hello’ in Spanish, nothing really interesting behind that haha!

What kind of art materials do you usually use?

Mostly acrylic paint and flat brushes (I absolutely hate round ones haha), Procreate and Illustrator, Molotow One4All markers, oil pastels. Would love to start using more spray paint for murals.

How did you come up with the idea of simple and color contrast expressions?

It came from painting with my son, who was 3 years old back then. I was feeling completely bored and apathetic as a graphic designer and as I started to make time for a hobby I could enjoy with my son, it shocked me to acknowledge how free he was when doing so: He wouldn’t have a reference of style or judgement of any kind, he would just place colors and let them be.. I needed to feel that once again. Eventually I used my graphic design background to use these feelings and place them in order.


What would you say is the main reason that you’re attracted to simplicity and minimalism?

Like I said, I needed to let go of maaaaany things I had been carrying along my life, especially after becoming a mom. I wanted to adopt this not only as a form of creating but for living as well. Since I started this path I feel very much liberated, even if my life and career got hectic and sometimes crazy, it just feels balanced.


What piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for?

Probably any piece that has crazy/risky colors in it will do, since I think they not only tell very personal stories but they also reflect a lot of my country and how warm, happy and welcoming this place and its people are.


You consider yourself as a painter and a muralist. What’s the attraction of drawing on the wall?

I never thought this would be something I could be drawn to do, I remember looking on social media at all these muralists and being amazed by the final results and thinking ‘this would be a dream life’. It’s amazing how one’s self can change their own destiny even when you’re not taking a solid plan to make it this or that way. I personally feel very happy and strong when painting a wall: Its a huge amount of effort and work, long hours of endurance and a physical exhaustion followed by it.. But knowing how much urban art affects people’s daily commute or travels in such a positive way is just an incredible feeling.


What's the beauty of the art scene in Mexico?

It’s huge!!!! As Mexicans, opportunities on a global scale are very scarce, and that makes a lot of people produce art merely for the love of it (which inevitably makes art even better, since it comes directly from their hearts and not from running after a big paycheck?) - I think we’re all very much affected by the visuals, history, smells, taste and conditions of this country, whether your art is colorful or not, a slice of Mexico’s rooted culture is always proudly noted on pretty much every artist around here.

How’s your online shop going so far?

Pretty good, I’m currently working on a brand new website along with my partner. The site I’m currently using was my first ever page, so now as things have quickly escalated in our careers, we want to show a more refined version of what goes on in and out of the studio. Prints sell pretty well and Originals are very hard to keep since they are likely to be sold within the first week of posting them. But for this reason, we want to change the overall experience as a customer, as well as remove the few items that haven’t been sold so far and start with a fresh new look.

Who are your biggest influences?

Probably my friends in the scene who are changing the modern art world. I personally don’t like to focus on old painters, instead I find very inspiring what new generations are doing and innovating with right now: people like  Greg Mike, ItsaLiving, Catalina Bu, Kaws, Camille Walala, Gary Stranger and others.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

When I realized how good it felt to create by your own terms versus of following a brand’s direction.

Could you tell us about your story when you were little?

My childhood was very much marked by my 13 years as a gymnast. I used to have no life at all other than getting good grades and training up to 4 hours a day.. It was rough and it took me to a very oppressive state of mind, but at the same time it taught me discipline and goal reaching skills.

You said, “I studied graphic design at a local university in Torreón”. How was your school experience?

I dropped out by the 3rd semester. I was tired of listening to teachers whom I knew style or background wasn’t even high quality, I was eager to work by myself and so I left university and Torreón by the age of 19. Pretty much everything I know from design and art comes from Youtube tutorials and hundreds of hours of practice and fails.

How do you navigate the art world? 

With a joint in my hand. I try not to be too serious, as I tend to get bored immediately after I do so. Guess I would say I treat it with the same simplicity and openness I have for life itself, as I mentioned before.

If you could work within a past art movement, which would it be?

Probably would be doing the same, I enjoy very much how earliest versions of abstract expressionism confronted the obvious and made people fill in the gaps with their own set of ideas and life backgrounds to interpret this style and somehow make it their own.

How did you become a social media influencer?

Haha! I don’t really know if I would call myself an influencer but it was certainly not the initial idea. I just made the commitment to keep creating and experimenting with whatever made me feel free and it eventually resonated with a very big amount of people.

How social media is changing our art experience?

Well it's tough and inspiring at the same time. For me, social media became by far my most concurred platform for attracting new clients, it became my most transparent portfolio since it doesn’t just show my works but also my everyday life behind it, my family and the process in the background. I honestly love connecting and sharing these experiences with people.

Do you love tattoos?

I do, it's been a long time since I got the last one but will go for a new one soon for sure haha.

Let’s go with would you rather question. Would you rather super sensitive taste or super sensitive hearing?

None hahah!!! It would be horrible to hear my cat meow at 3 am with a super sensitive hearing or taste something bad at max level wouldn’t it? I don’t think I’d enjoy any of these.

Thank you. Would you like to say something to your Korean fans through Art Terms Magazine?

I would love to send a big HOLA all the way from Mexico, and hopefully these honest answers will let people know that no matter how lost you may be in life, if you go back to your truest self, life will ultimately show you the way.

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