Delvin Lugo Interview - The Hopper Prize

Delvin Lugo

Delvin Lugo discusses early exposure to art, a new series based on the theme of chosen family, & amplifying artists, poets, & activists fighting for women & gay rights.

How did you get into making art?

As a kid I filled the back of school notebooks with drawings inspired by late 1980’s cartoons like Transformers and Jem and the Holograms. Besides art classes in high school I took continuing ed figure drawing classes as well as sculpture. The RISD pre-college program during my junior year of high school really inspired me to go to art school. I got a taste of what art school and the curriculum would be like, I was hooked!

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a series based on the theme of chosen family. I’m painting Dominican LGBTQ+ youth and allies living in Santo Domingo today. They’re artists, poets, and activists fighting for women and gay rights.

I like working on distinct projects that are somehow linked through color or theme.

Delvin Lugo

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

As I was working on my series Early Life in Neon which revisits my childhood growing up in DR, I realized I was not informed at all about current LGBTQ+ life there. I started reaching out to a few people on instagram and this led to a visit this past January where I got to meet with different groups of friends and learn more about them and what life is like for the LGBTQ+ community on the island today.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I like working on distinct projects that are somehow linked through color or theme. I love starting new projects and like the idea that it’s all in stages that improve as I move on.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

No day is alike. Sometimes I get to painting as soon as I enter the studio and other days I dedicate some time in the morning or afternoon to emails. I do try to paint everyday, even if it’s just for an hour or two. While in the studio I’m either listening to instrumental atmospheric music, a podcast, or an audiobook (often autobiographies read by the author).

Who are your favorite artists?

There are many but here’s a few: Henri Rousseau, David Hockney, Milton Avery, Matisse, Salman Toor, and Raelis Vazques among others.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

Before covid I would go to a public library and just roam the painting sections to see what I would run into. Now mainly instagram, but I often get introduced to amazing work in galleries around the Lower East Side and Tribeca.

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