Marcelo Lavin’s digital work is bold, textured and full of colour; it’s visually entrancing. Born and raised in Mexico City, he first picked up a pencil in his childhood and was instantly enamoured by the field of drawing – especially that of pictorial art and “visual expression”, he says. In the beginning, he’d try to emulate the painting greats like Picasso, Rufino, Tamayo and Miró through acrylics and oils. But it wasn’t long until he’d developed his own style of art that walks the line between tech and paint. And when he discovered the medium, he started off by using his phone and finger to make his pieces. Now, he’s completed a degree in digital animation, “where I’ve polished my current style,” he tells It’s Nice That.
Growing up in Mexico had its challenges, specifically in terms of gaining inspiration from local sources as well as making a career in the creative industry. “What I have seen is that there is a deep need for personal expression and exploration,” he says of the scene there. “But unfortunately the external environment is not ready to embrace it. We are constantly being bombarded by art and entertainment that comes from the outside, instead of within our own culture. That is not all bad; it ends up creating a necessity for art that reflects that, and so it becomes more and more striking for ourselves and the rest of the world.”
Artists like Marcelo are therefore striving to change the creative landscape for the better. So much so that he’s worked hard to fine-tune his practice, in turn, building a consistently colourful and hypnagogic style – a marriage of pieces that all employ the use of a digital airbrush. It’s the perfect tool for his subject matter. “The topic that interests me the most are dreams, especially the experiences generated within them.” He continues: “I am also very interested in how the mind works on an unconscious level and how new technology can affect this human experience.” When it comes to his own understanding of philosophy and consciousness, he explains how his curiosities are what he tries to bring into his art. “Perhaps dreams are a key element to understanding that.” After all, dreams occur when your mind starts to process the day’s occurrences, revealing thoughts and experiences from the hidden depths of your conscience. Yet despite these deep inquisitions, Marcelo twists these topics into a display of lightness and fun: he makes artworks that are “somewhat funny or positive” and an utter joy to observe.
With all of this in mind, Marcelo’s works exude an unmissable hazy aesthetic in both the subject matter and his own distinctive visual language. From wobbly objects with eyes, noses and mouths, to warping structures and tactile lines and shapes; everything he paints has an obvious dream-like quality attached to it. A recent example is Disk Player, a predominantly blue-hued piece that sees a robotic creature spinning a rainbow-coloured CD from his finger – mouth open wide as if he were singing along. Is this creature alive, or is it a machine, or is it a CD player? “Disk Player is an attempt to represent human consciousness as a system within a digital plane,” he adds. “Imagine experiencing a song or movie being the music player, and not something separated from the phenomenon itself.” Marcelo pinpoints this piece as his favourite due to it having a “crude explanation of how consciousness works,” as well as the “timeless” and immensely digital aura that it gives off.
In another artwork, there’s an angular subject galavanting across a chequered tile floor; it appears to be prancing, dancing or joyfully strolling while the cloudy blue sky lights up the backdrop. Titled Prism Walk, the piece is pinnacle to Marcelo’s fun and light interpretation of an “alternate reality where crystals have human consciousness,” he notes. “I really like the colours and the composition, it makes it look fresh and dynamic without losing its pleasantness.” Both pieces mentioned have been crafted with his signature digital airbrush technique, using just a computer and drawing tablet to do so.
Overall, Marcelo’s creations are a blissful addition to the world of art, especially in Mexico. And underneath his vibrant hues of colour, there’s a lot more than meets the eye; they’re his own recreation of human consciousness. “I mainly seek to generate pleasure for the viewer, but I am also very interested in breaking their comfort. That is, I want people to not understand but remain interested in the image, opening the possibility for their personal interpretation to manifest. I also want the viewer to feel that they are seeing something taken from a dream or another reality.”
Marcelo Lavin: Soundscapes (Copyright © Marcelo Lavin, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.