Be lost in the enchanting world of Los Angeles based “digital fashion artist” Nusi Quero. Just as this definition suggests, these unique creations will surely blow your mind. He lets us into his artistic journey, some behind the scenes moments, and shares important thoughts about his mission of art.
COR: Tell us about your roots! How and why did you start making art, what kind of works were the first of yours?
Nusi Quero: Why is a question I’ll never seek to pretend to have an answer to but I think that the how is pretty traceable.. I began writing graffiti when I was around 14-15 years old, Throwing things up on the walls high on adrenaline and shitty weed… I experienced the first feeling of looking at something I just did, or made, and experiencing the feeling of wanting it to be different, or better, or that I didn’t angle that letter stem the right way, etc. The fickle demands of the spirit of composition have been pestering me ever since then. I did that until I was about 18 when the punishment for my art became a legally adult issue, and I had started to play music by then as well. The next 10 years of my life were probably ⅖ Architectural obsession (I was in college for it) and ⅗ musical obsession. I dropped out of grad school for architecture, went on tour with my band that was having some success, moved to LA, recorded and produced music for several years, then stopped, then started working at an architecture firm, then I’m back here now making a mess. I guess categorically the chronological sequenced answer would be graffiti, music, calligraphic painted things, sculpture, architecture, then whatever it is I’m doing now, it seems to be emerging as a sort of couture.
COR: You definitely have a unique style which is a special mixture of luxury and cyberpunk. In your opinion, are these markers consistent with your art? How are you connected to them?
Nusi Quero: I don’t really know what cyberpunk is, I don’t know much about movements or trends or genres, sincerely. A quick google search yield images of a sort of dystopian future with silicon injected barbie dolls on motorcycles holding guns, which is not exactly the future I’m trying to carve out for us. Luxury is something I think get’s mixed into the work definitely. Besides my fascination with intricate patterns, complexity, and ornamentation, which unfortunately are associated with wealth ( I think this is changing), I may trace it back to my adolescent fascination with the exuberance and glossiness or early 2000’s rap imagery.. giant diamond earrings and iced out Rolexes were something I coveted greatly at the time, partly for the wrong reasons, but in retrospect, I think it was about the sparkliness – the refraction, the prismatic twinkling. So beautiful. Forever.
COR: A number of your works look like some kind of psychedelic vision. Do you see these “places” completely in front of yourself at the very beginning, or are your creations evolving with time as you are working on them?
Nusi Quero: That’s awesome they can be seen that way. I love thinking that this can be seen as psychedelic without me having to have like a mirrored tie-dye fractal in every piece I make! I never ever know where I’ll end up exactly when I begin work on something, other than that it will be wearable, or a place, or an object, or a scene unless I’ve been commissioned for something specific, but even then I’ll usually hit up the client and ask them ‘what if it was like this instead?’ I’ve really grown to trust my intuition and believe in the process, the work- I think I kind of pick up the treasure in curious places along the way rather than thirstily arrive at the treasure chest at the end of a map if that makes sense. This way of working has led to me being a generally much happier and productive person. The end product can be beautiful either way, but this way it is surprising, even to me, every time. Always evolving. Just like everything else in reality.
How does the technical process of your art look?
COR: What about your inspirations? Favorite music, movies, and artists or designers? Which one of them inspires you the most?
Nusi Quero: I haven’t been listening to a huge amount of music lately but I always find myself sort of orbiting around a few artists and pieces of music // Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, Robert Fripp, Tim Hecker, Autechre, Demdlike Stare, early 2000’s screamo… Hard to say about movies I don’t watch enough lately… I really Enjoyed ‘Mandy’ with Nick Cage from last year and ‘Midsommar’.
Art probably inspires me the most of those categories. Frederik Heyman and Louise Despont are currently the artists blowing my mind. I’m not very encyclopedic and I’m terrible with names, I think I spend way more time trying to reach for things in the abyss then pluck them from trees and make salads with them, for now. What most inspires me is peculiar phenomena, dreams, patterns (natural or synthetic), and that feeling I get when there is like an unknowableness to something.
COR: Any plans for the future? Do you see your dreams come true on a fashion show or on the movie screen? Furthermore: can you imagine your stuff being a part of everyday dressing in the near future?
Nusi Quero: Yes absolutely! For now, I want to keep exploring with the themes I have been, creating probably mostly computer-rendered represented scenes and environments and moments and objects, for a bit, and I am producing a lot more of the sort of couture things in physical form- I plan to start selling them in spring 2021, and have them be the sort of costuming for my visceral and performance aspirations, which I don’t want to talk about yet. Wow, that was a horrible run-on sentence, sorry. The film would be amazing, but I think I really detest fashion shows, and If I were to do one, have it try to be wildly different or accessible to more people. Anything to avoid the white-collar generational wealth socio-hierarchical ‘somebody’s’ sitting cross-legged while the bored and malnourished models walk by them trying to ignore the shit show of stress and expectations of them going on behind the curtain. There’s actually very little about these events I don’t find toxic or problematic, especially that the majority of human beings can only experience them through like youtube 2 months later, whom of which statistically won’t be able to afford the items being advertised. If people are going to wear my things en masse for an event I want it to be much more fun, less formal. I’m thinking about it.
I don’t imagine my things being a part of everyday dressing, probably ever, I think in general we have far too many clothes and accessories already made, it’s such a wasteful industry! I truly don’t see myself as part of the fashion world, I refuse to feel the pressure to evolve the characteristics or style of my work on a seasonal or cultural fulcrum. I make the things I want to, how I want to, I think that’s why it’s special to me, and maybe others. I want these things to empower people, to be an elixir that is celebrated with, like an aging bottle of nice champagne you save for a special occasion. Whether or not they achieve that, I don’t know, In fact reading back I’m not sure that’s really what I want, but I think I do.
COR: How would you describe the mission of designers, like you in the atmosphere of present days?
Nusi Quero: I don’t consider myself a designer right now, so maybe it’s not fair to suggest a mission. But I have been one, and maybe still am one. I think there is a mission, I think it is a mission shared with all creative people. Bear with me, or don’t, this is long, but it’s really really fucking important to me:
“It’s a metaphor, that I believe in
And that I sincerely try to live through
It came to me a few years ago
I believe most people, beings, could be thought of as mirrors.
We are all mirrors, opaque, ready to reflect the light of the zeitgeist, our times, our culture
back at each other, until it fades away, like a laser in a mirror maze.
‘it’s on Fleek’, ‘turnt’, ‘softboi’, ‘thot’, ‘bop’, ‘TFW you..’ ‘how it started, how it’s going..’
memes in general, images, fashion, popular things, we share them, we enjoy them
we bounce them around, this light at each other
without it ever truly saturating us
It eventually fades away, making room for new memetic information
distractions we all can agree are relevant
and satisfactory for the time being
So that none of the light will shine through us
and truly reveal the seemingly horrifying and pathetically imperfect
tangled up shitshow that we are…
that we all are though
I think it is the job of self-proclaimed or assigned to be creative people specifically
to not be a mirror
but to be a crystal, a prism
BUT TO BE A CRYSTAL, A PRISM
to let the light not just hit you, and reflect off of you,
but to refract through you
because at that point of acceptance
of pulling the curtain back
people will look up at the walls of our world,
and see the holographic, every-colored geometric patterns
that are beaming through you
and the more light that you let through
the more vibrant and complex
and surprising the patterns will be
The more they will feel something
actually fucking feel something
actually FUCKING FEEL something
something new, something that will remind them of the profundity of our infinities
maybe they’ll even stop scrolling, swiping, driving, waiting, ignoring, sleeping, deliberating, worrying, fucking wasting the intoxicating but nourishing elixir of consciousness
It doesn’t stop there though okay
Nobody needs you to be a princess cut
fucking Zales Jared kiss begins with K Pink Floyd dark side of the moon
we’ve all seen a goddamn rainbow Rolex ‘i do’ pinterest queen yas Fuck off
not a pretty little crystal in the mall window diorama that gets locked up at 7 pm every day
We know what that looks like. It’s pretty, yeah, sure, fine I like Pop music CoolFadGear sometimes
and Blockbuster Selena Gomez whoever whatever the fuck Bang Pow Hawt sex cool Kewl
But what we really need, as a nutrient, all of us
is for you to be an uncut raw fucking dug out of the earth
chipped and broken and cracked dirty crystalline curiosity
because that’s what you fucking are
Those cracks, those imperfections, those anomalies that are there
before you try to sculpt and whittle them away
are your vulnerabilities. that we ALL have
And the more light that you shine through them
the more infinitely complex, gorgeous, surprising,
COMPLETELY NON REPRODUCIBLE and UNIQUE
that the patterns of light will be. Try it and look its fuking gorgeous
and everyone will see that and say
it’s fucking mesmerizing, these patterns
and when you see them, when others see them
and they may cry
and feel maybe inspired
and maybe believe you
and may even believe themselves
and maybe even believe in themselves
art is truth
When it refracts through you, without obstruction
The less you concern yourself with what is expected of you
the more you will feel
and everyone else will
that’s what we must do
make each other feel
or we will make each other fail
The mission is to refract, not reflect”