We have all heard about the strict copyright rules for online images, but here’s an artist who does work by ‘stealing’ images from Instagram users. Hf met the Brazilian multimedia artist Lucas Levitan (Instagram: @lucaslevitan) to talk about his recent project – Photo Invasion.
我們聽過很多關於使用網上圖片時的版權問題，不過以下介紹的藝術家就正正是專門「偷」別人Instagram上的圖片來進行創作。Hf 最近遇上了巴西多媒體藝術家 Lucas Levitan (Instagram: @lucaslevitan )，談談其最新創作──Photo Invasion。
L: Lucas Levitan | Hf: HOKK fabrica
Hf: Hello. Please introduce yourself.
L: I’m a Brazilian multimedia artist based in London. I search for inspiration in everyday life and turn ordinary objects and scenes into intriguing images that sometimes take shape as illustration, sculptures, installations, paintings or video-art. I see the world with a little twist on reality. And by de-contextualizing them, I change the way they are perceived and engage the audience in an unexpected and playful way.
Hf: How did you come up with the idea of your ‘Photo Invasion’ project?
L: Photo Invasion is my latest illustration project. I appropriate photography by other people and add my illustrative touch. My humor and quirky intervention changes the narrative creating new stories.
中：Photo Invasion 是我最新的插畫藝術，我將別人的照片據為己有，然後加上幽默和怪誕的插畫，這種介入能夠改變原有的敘述，從而產生新故事。
L: Photo Invasion is a crossover of two of my passions, illustration and photography. I thought it might be interesting to mix and match partnerships with other friends and photographers alike on Instagram. It became like a game for me; I can spend hours searching for the next one, visiting galleries, collecting images and conceptualizing my next ‘invasion.’
Hf: Explain to us about the process of your Photo Invasion project from the selection to the drawings.
中：由揀選到畫畫，可以解釋 Photo Invasion 的創作過程嗎？
L: I travel around Instagram for an attention-grabbing image. It’s not about the quality of the photographer, or the gallery, but how the image itself inspires me. I create a surprising partnership with other users by ‘stealing’ their images. I use the word ‘stealing’ instead of ‘choosing’ because not asking for permission gives autonomy and respect for the photographer and myself vice versa. Asking for permission loses the surprise element as well and makes the project too formal and methodical.
L: I’ve been lucky till the date, as I haven’t got any complaints from any of my ‘victims’ yet, quite the opposite, some of them have become my friends. I have a deep admiration for their work. I hope it’s seen as a kind and honorable form of robbery.
Hf: What are some other projects of yours that you personally like?
L: I’ve been working as an illustrator most of my time lately. I finished a graphic novel and I’m looking for a publisher. I’d be happy if I manage to release it in 2015. In parallel I’m working on a documentary about my roots. My grandfather left Lithuania just before World War II, escaping from the Nazis and went to Brazil. My father and I went back to the city where he was born and we shot a small documentary there. It was such an emotional moment. I have this unfinished film on my website; I still need a few weeks to polish it.
L: However, I’m really keen on restarting doing art installations and conceptual art. Work in Progress, Three Painting and Balloons are three projects I really enjoy doing and I have a few others I’d love to bring to life soon. I love juggling all those projects at the same time. If I spend too much time on one, I get bored.
Hf: Could you tell us a bit about your typical day at work?
L: I’m not a morning person, but when I’m doing something I’m really passionate about, I can work even before the sunrise. I normally go to bed with a sketchbook and the following morning I wake up to see most of my ideas all over the place on the sketchbook. I select a few to start my day. The day is pretty much sitting on my desk drawing and laughing at my illustration. When I giggle I know it’s funny to me, and perhaps to other people as well.
When I finish a few illustrations, I go to my email inbox and spend a few hours catching up with people. This is my ordinary day at work. However many of them are full of crap, going to the bank, filling up invoices and washing clothes. I believe that’s not what you want to hear, is it?
Hf: What is your ultimate goal as an artist?
L: I feel fulfilled when people comment on my images saying they laughed with my illustration, or that they made their day happier. This is the most important thing for an artist, knowing that the image you created reached the heart of people and brought out their emotions. This gives me motivation to continue doing my work.
All photo courtesy of Lucase Levitan