While it's been said a lot in the past couple of years, we feel it still bears repeating: Blackness is not monolithic. We are made up of different cultures, experiences, backgrounds and economic classes. We are not homogenous; we are diverse, and our differences matter.
This is exactly what Asaph Luccas, a gifted 23-year-old queer artist from São Paulo, Brazil, is trying to capture with his brilliant new series, ID NEGRA — a collection of drawings that represent the different tones, shapes and styles of the black youth today.
So, we at Konbini decided to reach out to Asaph to discuss his distinct artistic style, his inspiration behind the stunning series, the most important part of his creative process, what he hopes people take away from his work, and more.
Konbini: How did you discover your love for art and how would you describe your style?
Asaph Luccas: My mom says that I've been drawing since I was a kid. I actually remember painting my baby crib. When I was a child I used to spend most of my time in the hospital for asthma, and I used those times to draw and create stylish girls with eyes way apart from each other.
This never changed even when I evolved my style. I do a lot of portraits that merge all the amazing people I know and I'm inspired by, with tons of colours and symbolism that reflects where I am with my life at the moment. I started posting my work online since 2012 on Tumblr and since then I never stopped!
What's the most important thing to you when you're creating?
To break gender, racial and sexual boundaries. To represent all the strange beauty of people I know and also tell people a little about my personal world.
Could you tell us about your ID NEGRA series and what inspired it?
It's a drawing-a-day project about the plurality of being black. I came from a poor neighbourhood and never had that much contact with outside culture. My only references came from Brazilian TV, and we all know who's there and who isn't. When I started searching for new narratives online at 15, everything was still pretty white and eurocentric.
I didn't felt represented by them, I felt like they weren't the full representation of beauty. Growing up I started being proud of where I was born, my family and my race, and it was reflecting in my art. So, 'ID NEGRA' was inspired by my journey being light-skinned and embracing my black identity.
What would you like people to take away from the work?
I want to bring representation and inspiration. I want all the weird queer kids out there to have a sense of pride seeing my work. I want them to know that it's okay to be different.