Step into a soft, delicate and otherworldly realm where vibrant pinks, rich purples and gleaming cyan blues take centre stage. Ethereal women drape themselves across the canvas, their eyes closed in a peaceful slumber as their bodies are enveloped by their surroundings. They breathe in the sweet aroma of flowers, dance amongst the stars and become one with twisting, twinning labyrinths. Every painting lovingly crafted by Lhunatica has a serene feeling that radiates a gentle warmth from within transporting you to her bright and dreamy world.
Lu Tenorio, better known online under her artist name Lhunatica, is a Venezuelan digital illustrator. Lhunatica has always found herself drawing ever since she was little but it was a fateful day at the Prado Museum when she was 12 that changed her life forever. That was the day she discovered the glorious work of Diego Velázquez. Admiring Velázquez’s work solidified in her mind that the wondrous world of art would become her lifelong passion.
Ten years later after her discovery at the Prado Museum, 22-year-old Lhunatica found herself packing up her things and leaving her family behind to embark on a journey to France as a political refugee. This life-changing decision allowed her to not only gain access to safety but also gain new experiences and make meaningful connections as an artist. Currently, 28-year-old Lhunatica works and resides in Montpellier, France where she continues to pursue her journey as an artist.
I like to use halos to represent the inner self that for me is connected to bigger things, who we are, our conscience is something that for me is important to keep present and to show through my paintings.
Exclusive Interview with Lhunatica
To start off this interview, I’d love to hear more about your background as an artist. Can you tell me a bit more about your artistic journey so far?
My artistic journey was certainly inspired by my grandfather who passed away when I was 9 years old. I talk about him because it’s crazy all of the memories that I still have of him drawing hummingbirds for me; he was a very sensitive and poetic person and the things that I remember of him are actually my favourite childhood memories. I actually chose the hummingbird as my logo thanks to him!
I’ve read on your website that Diego Velázquez was a turning point for you artistically when you were 12 years old. What was it about his work that had such an impact on you?
I remember that I was a child that liked to draw manga – Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura were my favourites, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life even though drawing was part of it I didn’t see it as an important thing. But when I had the opportunity to visit the Prado Museum, I was walking around the halls a little bit uninterested, to be honest…until I arrived at this big area where Las Meninas was painted. For a child of my size, it was this big and mysterious thing, my eyes couldn’t focus in one detail but all of them together and I felt that I needed to understand art and understand why this piece was as stunning as it was for me. I was in love with the curiosity that this precise painting awoke in me and that’s when I understood that art was more complex and profound than anything else I knew in my life at that time!
Alongside Diego Velázquez, where else do you take inspiration for your art?
My all-time favourite is James Jean, he is a visual artist that knows how to transmit aesthetic beauty, complexity and poetry through his art. I also love artists from other times like Alphonse Mucha, Alexander Cabanel, Klimt, Remedios Varo, Salvador Dali, and I could keep going but these are the ones that come to my mind whenever I need inspiration.
Your work utilises a lot of pinks, purples and blues. What attracts you to use these colours so dominantly within your work?
I have to admit that I started developing my style with the colour pink and blue cyan because these two complementary colours are my favourite. I feel they transmit a sweet and soft sensation; they are very delicate and poetic and you can see these colours in the afternoon sunset just before the night arrives. I wanted my palettes to be kind to the eyes, and it took me a moment to find the nuances that really match what I wanted to pass on. Lately, I found that my artworks finally have coherence and an aesthetic equilibrium.
The feminine form is a big focus in your work and many of your paintings feel ethereal and goddess-like, what attracts you to painting this kind of subject?
I usually portray women because it’s easier for me to transpose my emotions through their expressions. The way that I can use body language it’s way more intuitive for me than working with male models. As for the goddess-like part is not as much goddess but is a spiritual manifestation. I like to use halos to represent the inner self that for me is connected to bigger things, who we are, our conscience is something that for me is important to keep present and to show through my paintings. And after all the things that I have lived, I do believe that there is something greater than me guiding me.
I have to admit that I started developing my style with the colour pink and blue cyan because these two complementary colours are my favourite. I feel they transmit a sweet and soft sensation; they are very delicate, and poetic and you can see these colours in the afternoon sunset just before the night arrives.
Your artwork is being featured in the second volume of the Sadhouse artbook. I’d love to hear a bit more about your experience working on a collaborative artbook if that’s possible?
So, this was a very cool project organised by Sadhouse, I really enjoyed discovering all of these new artists and to be able to share their followers to support this project. I have to admit that I’m very proud of this project and I can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s printed!
When you’re not working on your art, what do you get up to in your free time?
I’m an adventurer; I love skating, surfing, skiing and also, I do this acrobatic sport called aerial dance! I also enjoy the classics like reading and watching series and movies! To be honest, I don’t have time to get bored!
What is one thing that you hope your artwork conveys to those who view it?
I really hope that my art can make them travel…travel through their memories and through their inner selves and discover their own stories by seeing through my eyes.