Edgar Lituma is an Atlanta artist originally from Ecuador. Primarily working with color pencils, Lituma enjoys creating in a diverse range of media. From murals, to paintings, to digital illustrations. He enjoys it all. We recently had the privilege of working with Lituma on some limited edition shirts featuring his work. We took the opportunity to catch up with the artist and hear about his creative process and his current projects where he explores history and modern day conflicts.
Could you tell us about yourself?
I'm originally from Ecuador. When my family moved to the States we moved to little Ecuador in Queens NY. We left NY in 96 to come to Georgia for the opportunities and lower cost of living (and safety, my dad was a cab driver before NYC got cleaned up and it the most dangerous job in the states at the time). Currently I'm a freelance motion graphics designer and artist/illustrator. Right now I spend most of my time as a designer making graphics and animations for the particle science world. Most of my artist time is spent on personal/show projects, commissions, murals, and applying to artist residencies.
How has traveling inspired your work?
Traveling has both catalyzed and inspired my work due to the vastness of history and stories out in the world. Learning about different culture's beliefs and symbols trigger my curiosity and take me down some creative narratives that I would have never run into on my own or even on the internet. My last residency in Lithuania inspired me enough to put my priorities aside and feed the creative need to visualize what Lithuania and it's people had taught me with such care. Sometimes my travels inspire the narrative but not necessarily the visuals and vice versa.
Worry about making money outside of your art career so it doesn't influence your subject matter and direction.
You have a very bright color palette, could you tell us a little bit about your choice of color in your work?
The root of my vibrant color scheme would definitely stem from my Ecuadorian influences. I'm from a very small town near the Amazons in Ecuador and the surrounding nature contains probably every color the human eye can see in every shape or form. From the vibrant array of tropical flowers like Orchids to the rich colors of the local exotic birds my hometown is full of color. The llama and alpaca tapestries from the mountain regions of Ecuador also influenced my use of color. These tapestries share the same plethora of colors that abound the Amazons. They also contain many patterns and symbols/hieroglyphs that would later take shape in many of my pieces.
What inspired you to start putting your work on shirts?
When I realized that people love shirts.
What are some current projects you are working on?
Right now I'm currently working on some illustrations for my next show "UnderDogs". Applying and finding my next artist residency. A handful of neglected past projects that never got finished. A tattoo commission.
What are the themes that you are exploring in your work?
Right now with Under Dogs I'm exploring historical accounts of triumph in the face of utter defeat due to overwhelming odds. Whether it's the Vietnamese Communists vs the USA or a native Amazonian tribe against the Spanish Conquistadors they both share the same overwhelming outcome. The outcome that sees the under powered and least favored party reign supreme and come out on top. I'm going back in history as fas back as the crusades and as current as the Hong Kong China protests going on today.
The majority of the subjects in your work are animals, could you tell us a little bit about your choice of subject matter?
I've always found animals very intriguing and more interesting then humans in terms of colors, textures, and overall exotic appeal. From the rainbow colors of a toucan's beak to the hypnotizing patterns of a Jaguars fur the animal kingdom is full of interesting visuals that can be used to convey many different things. We're animals ourselves and display many of the same behaviors as many of the exotic animals out there in the animal kingdom.
Any interesting upcoming projects/shows?
A series of of illustrations from some travel short stories between me and a friend.
Any advice for up and coming artists?
Worry about making money outside of your art career so it doesn't influence your subject matter and direction. If you have your bills taken care of then it allows you to focus on your art in an untainted way...AKA money won't drive your content.
How has your work evolved throuh the years?
The more and more I travel and learn about our world's history, the more I get inspired to depict it in my own perspective with the animal kingdom as my medium and driving force.
José takes pride in printing your posters and fine art prints. If he’s not in the shop you can find José at a photo session, drawing and designing at home, or spending time with his loved ones.