Introducing Luis Vela LP, a Mexican-American multi-disciplinary artist, encompassing the art realm through photography, film, exhibitions, and creative design. He’s collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists such as BJ the Chicago Kid, Teyana Taylor, and Danileigh amongst various other talents. Amongst his list of accomplishments, Luis Vela has also notably worked with streaming services like Amazon, Spotify, and more.
Notably, Luis Vela has created visuals and sounds for a variety of media platforms, from artist branding to fashion editorials. In our exclusive Q&A, we talked to Luis Vela about some of his best works thus far and having the opportunity to work with these amazing artists amongst a list of other topics.
Walk me through your childhood, who were some of your influences?
Growing up I was influenced by Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Salvador Dali, Marvin Gaye; which later grew to Kanye and Pharrell during my teens – It was the art that moved me during my time of being a sponge. Being exposed to great music early on as a child allowed me to explore several genres that introduced me to great cover art and music video adaptations.
How did you get become a multi-disciplinary artist?
My first discipline as an artist was producing music, which grew to photography, and I did both of those for a long time. Picked up my first camera at nine and kept shooting throughout my adolescence. I took film photography classes during college and on my own time would spend summers learning several techniques online, studying films, and going to museums to learn. I picked up video and design around the same time. I love forming ideas, and practicing multiple disciplines allows me to fully express those ideas.
Do you recall the first artist you’ve worked with and how would you describe the experience?
After years of shooting locally, my first collaboration photographically was with NoJumper. I was shooting for an event series in Seattle and documented for NoJumper one night. I captured moments from my perspective with Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, and Adam22. This was like four months before he dropped “Gucci Gang”.
Some of my first collaborations sonically were with a talented friend of mine named Eshovo. We made a score for a film which still holds its own! Eshovo is a genius, he mentored me creatively when I was starting out.
When did you get to the point where you said “this is my career and I’m sticking with it”?
This moment happened early on, I fell in love with the process of making things. Intuition is a real thing and I feel like intuition is God and I talking. I listen a lot, and even more now as I’m getting older. When you got faith in God, you’ve got faith in yourself, and my faith is strong. I also think it’s an everyday thing where you have to practice faith and you do it by picking up your sword every morning, so when God is like “yo, here’s your billion-dollar idea” you’re ready.
You work closely with Teyana Taylor, can you tell me a bit about that?
It’s an honor to work with her. I met Tey through my good friend Mike Snell. I started doing light design for her shows back in September 2019. I primarily did the light design and facilitate visuals for her stage design. She’s a genius, seriously. Back in November, we were in Atlanta working on the second installment of “House of Petunia”, which I felt was her rendition of a broadway experience. We were in Atlanta for a week prepping for this 90-minute performance full of choreography and visual art. She would come in rehearsals every day and stay there coordinating every piece of the performance. Teyana knew exactly how she wanted everything and to be able to play a small part in her vision is a blessing. You got to see her work in real-time, she’s a perfectionist. I’ve shared my work with her and she’s always shown me love. Shout out Tey, and Snell for real!
Looking back on the past years, what would your favorite moment working with an artist be?
Documenting BJ the Chicago Kid is always a learning experience for me. I’ve learned a lot from observing his work ethic and translating it to my craft. He’s one of the realist human beings I’ve met. I think one of the most memorable moments with BJ was February of this year, I had traveled to LA to document his day and interview him. All the footage is for the docuseries I’m working on. On the ride to the studio, he had shared knowledge and gems with me that were much needed.
How about campaigns, what would you say your favorite project working on has been?
I’d say the rollout for the Danileigh tour in early 2019. I was able to express on a larger scale utilizing her brand. I was brought on the team temporarily to design merchandise and create digital promotions for the tour. I worked with Dani and her creative director for the rollout. That was the second campaign I did for Dani; the first one was in 2018 when I designed merchandise for her debut album and shot the official behind the scenes video for the “Lil Bebe” music video. Dani ended up inviting me on tour to do lights for her shows and of course, I accepted. I ended up wearing multiple hats which was a fun experience, putting everything I had learned to use.