Written & Illustrated by Luis Miguel Munoz
The first was Lust. The expression of desire was an idea I wanted to build from. Wanting and yearning are emotions that I find intoxicating and I wanted to recreate these with a single look.
I wanted fixation, intimacy and misdirection to radiate from her eyes. As long as I satisfied my basic intent, the rest could be my conscious and unconscious playground. This laid down the foundation for the remainder of my work. Envy and Wrath followed, each a building block for the next. Anything I learned previously I would save and implement in the next piece. Gluttony and Greed became much more complex than their predecessors, pushing perspective, volume, and texture. Pride became the climax of the piece. I wanted to use everything I had learned, but also wanted to avoid a recurring mistake I had made in the past: overworking a piece is like over watering a plant. A little too much shading or adding one too many lines, and it all becomes one big muddy mess.
A self-fulfilling prophecy that I was barely able to save, although content with the end results, I had set out with a specific goal in mind and I couldn’t compromise. I ventured into Photoshop; experimenting until I was able to achieve the details and textures I was looking for. When Sloth appeared, it was the sum of everything I had learned. The sin was no longer an obvious part of the subject, but had evolved into a presence, suggesting a feeling rather than imposing an idea. The red velvety cloak became a separate element simultaneously telling a story about the girl on the floor. Together, all seven sins became a blueprint through which I tackled everything I had put off learning.
Perspective, colour theory, lighting and shading – all things that growing up I kept putting on a pedestal. Realizing that my skill set from thirteen to twenty-three hadn’t really advanced much. I had gotten stuck at the equivalent of playing Ode to Joy on the recorder. I studied other artist’s work for years before I decided to focus on my own. I was fascinated by choice of lines, and the ability to create the illusion of textures and volume. Perhaps I had begun to take the backseat as an observer of art. I had become stimulated, entertained, and inspired, but unfulfilled and complacent giving up whenever I encountered a technical road block. This mentality resulted in my collection of unfinished paintings and sketches – a reminder of my unwillingness to push past my challenges. For me, completing the series became a milestone of personal growth. I sat down and began my journey fraught with frustration and reward. Challenging old limiting beliefs and solidified lessons learned, but forgotten. I relearned how limitless creativity is and how our past and present becomes an endless source of inspiration. Whether you can draw or trace like a pro, the real reward is making your dreams and imagination come to life.
The seven deadly sins series are a projection of my dreams, my fantasies, and my insecurities.
When I was younger, I was caught on the idea that if you couldn’t draw from memory then you couldn’t draw at all. A girl in the first grade caught me tracing a picture I was having a hard time drawing and announced to everyone around that I was a cheater. Instantly, I was filled with shame and embarrassment. With a hurt ego and in the hopes of winning her love and artistic approval, I consulted with my grandpa. An engineer and artist himself, he began to teach me a handful of basic principles. I started to sketch anything I could get my hands on, from my Goofy place mat to my Jungle Book colouring book, I discovered how anything can be broken down into a few simple lines.
One day in school I learned that dinosaurs had tragically gone extinct. This, of course, was devastating news and I was able to only find comfort in drawing them. This inspired something new, it wasn’t enough to just copy a picture, now I wanted to make them alive. I drew them endlessly; I figured if I couldn’t have them in real life I would have them on paper. From there the ritual settled, I saw it, I liked it, I drew it. Snakes, tigers, and bugs, all became paper pets and anything I saw on TV was fair game. Without notice, much like my crushes on 5-year-old art critics; boundaries and limitations began to fade. On that blank piece of paper the subjects weren’t only mine, but they were now alive in their own right. I had just discovered a way to make my dreams and fantasies come to life and I was hooked. That is until I hit puberty. Fast-forwarding 10 years later I began to take my art more seriously and I chose the Seven Deadly Sins as my subject. They were a concept that fascinated me growing up, reminding me of all my human drives and flaws.