Luzroja is a visual artist based in Panama City whose visual approach to the world is particularly bold and emotional. Her art is her medium for expressing her emotions and stories, which she tells through the colours, dancers, conversations, music and words that inspire her. The way she plays with all of these elements allows her to convey a sense of romantic enthusiasm through her work that creates an euphoric feeling of vulnerability. Luzroja is also fascinated by video art and considers her digital work as “painting on screen”. Her work thus consists primarily of an exploration of sound and image as a whole.
How would you describe digital art?
“In my opinion, digital art is the medium that allows me to explore and be very specific when merging image and sound. It has been a big support when it comes to playing with different elements such as color, text, sound, and movement. This medium undeniably allows to create faster, and requires integrating and mastering many different techniques.
What is also particular with digital art is the way the works are often to be contemplated on screens. In a way, it’s as if the work is unfolding in a parallel world. That’s why I feel that digital art is the best way for me to bring to life what’s going on in my head, in this other world with a much wider range of possibilities. When I start a creative process, when I enter a place or hear a song that stimulates my imagination for example, I indeed have the feeling that it is thanks to digital art that I will be able to create according to what I feel.”
Why did you decide to do digital art? What do you like about the exploration of new media?
“To tell you the truth, it was an accident. I didn’t intend to do digital art really. I originally went to art school to study graphic design and I remember having assignments that were more “traditional” like designing a flyer or a logo and I always felt this need to infuse them with movement. I’ve always been inspired by music, and most of the time is the original source of inspiration. Static visuals sometimes feel a little boring for me to create, I always need more, I want to make visuals dance! So I slowly started adding music to my projects. The goal was to transform what I was feeling into a visual, so that I could express my feelings and not have to carry the full weight of them inside me. It is this need that naturally guided me towards digital art.”
What are your tools as a digital artist? What is your technique?
“Most of the time, I have a concept, or I have something to say. My tools to illustrate my idea are mostly photos or videos that I take with my phone or camera, which I then rework in Photoshop and After Effects, the application that allows me to add movement to my work.
The power of color, Luzroja
I also like to play with colours. For me, colours are like emotions. Each time I add a colour to a piece, it has a particular meaning, a singular intention. Red makes me feel one thing, blue another. If I mix red and blue, it is because the duality of the two colours inspires me another feeling. For example, red means strength and confidence to me. I remember a time when I was living in New York and I was going through a difficult time and I wanted to feel strong and confident. That’s why I chose “Luzroja” as my name, “red light”, that light at the end of the tunnel that inspired me with courage and strength. As for yellow, it feels joyful and high energy; blue is more of joyful melancholy, a feeling of home within myself.”
What are your sources of inspiration?
“My sister has been one of my main sources of inspiration since I can remember, watching her pursue a dancing career with such discipline and dedication has always been so inspiring to me, she’s one of my biggest muses and I love working with her. I’ve always been inspired by passionate people like her. Watching someone emerge into what they love doing always hits me hard, it is a very powerful and beautiful thing to see and it’s inevitable that those experiences affect my work, in the most positive way.
Another big source of inspiration for me is music, especially indie pop and alternative music. I love The XX, Tom Misch, The Cure, Javiera Mena, CLUBZ for example, these are some of my favourite bands. Music is the best way for me to express feelings that are too difficult to verbalize, without using words.
Besides, my boyfriend is a musician and plays a lot of alternative pop, so I also get a lot of inspiration from his work. Recently, we’ve collaborated on two pieces “I Just Want To Live In Love With You” and “Under My Love”. Working with Van Arro and merging our two worlds has been such an exciting journey for both of us. We definitely inspire each other.”
I just want to live in love with you, extract, Luzroja & Van Arro
What is your background? Did you follow a specific training?
“I grew up in Panama City, where I went to a traditional Catholic high school. I always knew that I loved art and creative things, but in that school we only had art class for a couple of years, so I didn’t have the opportunity to express myself artistically at all. I was only studying things that I didn’t like. I hated school. So when I graduated I knew I wanted to explore art, so I decided to go to art school in Savannah, Georgia and it was the best decision of my life.
I knew I wanted to be a designer, to work with brands that I really loved and could have fun with, being able to play and explore was important to me. But at the same time, I wanted to have a place where I could express my style and vision. I wanted to do something more artistic, and it was digital art that got me into the art and music world. Today, my biggest desire as an artist is to connect in a much deeper way with my work and the world. I would love to collaborate with other artists and passionate people who inspire my work.”
Describe a particular work/series.
“Under my love tells the story of two lovers at the beginning of their relationship. We wanted to evoke excitement and vulnerability with an explosion of colors. This piece navigates different colors and textures symbolizing the roller coaster feeling of entering a new relationship; the highs, the lows and the unconfmartle moments of getting to know each other. The video ends with a mellow rainy mountain scene making reference to feeling at home with one another.”
Under my love, Luzroja & Van Arro
Unsettled Waltz, Luzroja & Diana Cedeño, Music by Chad Lawson
“Unsettled Waltz is a little dance poem. This is an intimate reflection from isolation, based on the interrupted monologue existing within myself. Stimulated by the contained freedom and the in-between thoughts of an uncertain pulse. A dance to a closer distance. A dreamy memory. A restless state.”
Estaba Nublado, Luzroja & Diana Cedeño
“Estaba Nublado “Estaba Nublado” is a video art I created during quarantine with my sister Diana. We were on lock down and I kept hearing Tom Misch’s song “Day 5 For Carol”. I was spiraling over the sound of this song and kept overthinking every single thing in my life.
This piece navigates three stages of my mental loops. At the beginning the sound is very repetitive as well as Diana’s performance, everything is tense and she’s trying to keep it together, trying to hold her emotions in. Later on, we hear the song fading away and “Bagdad”from Rosalia merges in, at this point she is completely drained with all of the voices in her head and her eyelids turn to fire. We have a breakout at this point where she screams out of desperation. The piece ends with a rainy scene of Diana freestyling in the streets evoking a feeling of freedom and release.”