Luca is electric. walking through the doors of his upper west side studio in nyc — walls decked out with animated and abstracted paintings, rich in symbolism and color, with overstuffed couches situated across the loft-like space — he is gracious, humble, and authentically inviting as we sit down to talk.
luca goly isn’t just a visual artist: he’s a father, a painter, illustrator, avid dancer, deeply interested in his family history and legacy (the list goes on). moreover, he is interested in technology — advocating for the ownership and visibility that blockchain technologies have brought to his work. over the course of the afternoon, he switches seamlessly from organizing his canvases to pulling out an ipad, illustrating a piece from scratch as we watch colors and pixelated brushstrokes materialize on the screen.
tell us about yourself. when did you start making art?
i was born in brooklyn, new york. before getting into art i actually had a cool career. i was a bridge engineer for amtrak - it was interesting but not what I felt my purpose was.
i never took any art classes. i actually failed art in high school and only started taking art seriously in 2021. i was living in canada at the time and i wound up moving back to new york that year. i came back for the funeral of a loved one and during that time, my sister-in-law gave me her ipad and told me i should draw and get my mind off things. so i did.
from there i started creating more and adding my own emotion and stories into my work. that's when i noticed that making art was something i should be doing full-time. i became very passionate about it. now i feel more connected to what I want to do in life, how i want to connect with people, and how i want to be here on this planet.
in terms of your work, where does your inspiration and passion come from?
the majority of my work comes from my life’s experience. if i have a deep conversation with someone, i'm illustrating it in my head to then translate it on canvas. my work shows people who i am as a person, what i go through, and how i express myself through art.
do you think that people look at your work and feel or see something they can relate to themselves?
i hope so, evoking that visceral response from my work is key as an artist. we all want people to stop and resonate with our work. when I go to friends’ exhibitions it’s exciting to see and understand the story they’re telling and emotions put into their work.
with that in mind, are there any communities you’re involved in here in NY?
crazy enough, I'm more into dance communities than art ones. I dance every week - salsa and bachata - that's been my therapy. I’m also connected to artist communities, and more recently, I've been getting connected to some tech people.
what does being a creator mean to you?
being a creator is about freedom, expression, and free will. i'm happy every day i wake up because i know i have the ability to create something. i always have good energy and good vibes because i get to do this as a career and i see so much opportunity with it - even bringing a smile or some sort of emotional response to someone through my work makes me so happy.
what would you say to somebody that feels like they don’t have the resources to be a creator?
that's tough, what are you gonna be able to create if you have nothing to use? the motivation to do that is hard too, but nothing is impossible.
for me, i think people should do whatever you love doing, as long as you can pay your bills. and if you can create, then create, somebody's gonna love it. there's no reason why you can't put something together and someone will value it.
some might judge themselves too soon and say “i can't draw a stick figure.” and i think, “yes, you can, and it'll be specifically your stick figure. it won't be someone else's.” i would've drawn it in a completely different way. my mom's favorite piece of mine is a stick figure and it just says, “i love you, mom.” she actually minted it on primitives.
you need to be you. at the end of the day, no matter what you create, it's yours.
this segues really well… what do you think about the future of web3 and art?
everything is physical, right? even digital stuff. connecting the two [physical and digital], gives artists the opportunity to capture their work in different mediums.
i started with digital work and that's because i didn't have the materials to start painting first. when you have an ipad you can draw anytime. now I use my paint and my physical pieces as utilities to make my nfts. a lot of my pieces i have in digital form and are minted.
digital art is just another medium for me. i do tattoos, fashion design… it all goes hand in hand. honestly web3 just is a platform to utilize for your work to be in a place where it can be seen more and it can give people a bit more direction on where technology is going.
and now you see what they're doing with ai - things that I have to adjust to and have to grasp as a creative person. i don't think about that as, “there's not ever gonna be artists anymore because of ai.” i'll be fine. designing new stuff, using whatever technology comes out in the future, is how we evolve.
this interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. you can find luca on twitter, instagram, and primitives (of course).
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