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Luis Dourado

The Portuguese illustrator and visual artist is launching a one-man assault on realism through fantastical and mysterious sci-fi tinged compositions

Barcelona-based, Oporto-born Luis Dourado creates fantastical and mysterious sci-fi tinged compositions. The illustrator and visual artist works primarily with photomontage to produce pieces that turn reality on its head. Manipulating images to the point that they take on a new and almost hallucinatory form, his vivid and abstract digital collages strike a disorientating chord. Famous faces are obscured, dismantled and reconstructed in geometric designs and black and white photos of times forgotten take on new life with an injection of digitally-imposed, rainbow-hued auras.

Shifting between different mediums and choosing whichever he feels best to explore themes of control, memory and illusion, Luis’ surreal work combines contrasts of retro and modern, analogue and digital, tradition and technology. Dazed Digital caught up with Luis in Barcelona…

Dazed Digital: How would you describe your style?
Luis Dourado: I think my style varies a little bit from series to series but it is always connected; crossing a couple of techniques such as collage, manipulation, and drawing. I do prefer to "touch" a couple of different aesthetics and try to create links between works using ambiences, usually dark and dreamy.

DD: Having lived in Oporto, Berlin and Barcelona, which city would you say has most nurtured your creativity?
Luis Dourado: I think every city gives you a completely different input. Oporto and Barcelona have always been places in which I work with comfort. My last winter in Berlin was quite a surprise; something fresh and really interesting that somehow fitted the kind of artworks I usually create. The winter was very dark, cold, I spent a lot of time at home and that exercise made me come even closer to the pieces I was working on and that really stimulated me.

DD: When creating your art, does your preference lie with analogue or digital methods? Do you feel that with digital you lose a certain intimacy?
Luis Dourado: I think both analogue and digital methods are valid and wonderful to explore; but I’ll never choose only one. I like to spend time with objects and work with analogue techniques that are always more intimate than the digital ones. Still, I think that with digital you can go really "trippy" and explore sci-fi, surreal aesthetics; reaching results you would never get from analogue, but if I could do it without using the computer I would.

DD: Any medium you haven’t tried yet, but would like to?
Luis Dourado: Yes, many actually! I would love to try installation. I do have a lot of ideas that somehow search to come out from the paper and become 3D. I’m now working on a new series pretty much tri-dimensional inside a digital print; I think it would be lovely to try that out in a room with objects.

DD: Does your art carry a message?
Luis Dourado: I don’t think it’s a message but rather a common visual "experience". All the series search for strange places and try to present surreal "truths". It’s funny because once a friend told me that my works were kind of "still nightmares" and I never saw my pieces as something "evil", but yes, something dark and magical somehow...

DD: Eyes, or rather the lack of, seem to feature enormously in your work. Are you ommetaphobic?
Luis Dourado: Haha, no! I think that removing the eyes usually brings out the dark atmosphere and energy in someone. I also get the feeling that after taking the eyes out, a new character is revealed and it’s exactly this "new" one that I’m interested in. 

DD: Any works in progress?
Luis Dourado: I’m now mainly working in my new personal series "Domains", "Body Crying" and "Untitled Love Series" from which I posted a couple of pieces online. I’m also preparing my first book with originals, maybe for the end of the year. Meanwhile I’m collaborating with other artists and initiatives with my own work; I’m really interested in finding new contexts and ways to share them.