Unax LaFuente

Shaping Sound into Vision with Unax LaFuente

Unax LaFuente is a dynamic artist and photographer who has been pushing the boundaries of visual expression since his early years in Sitges. He merges the realms of music and photography, transforming sound into complex visual narratives. His debut exhibition in Barcelona, “NEW ORDER,” will offer the public a unique opportunity to experience his visionary work in a physical format for the first time.

In this interview, LaFuente delves into his creative journey, reflecting on the experiences that have shaped his distinctive style. He discusses the influence of early visual stimuli, the challenge of balancing commercial and personal projects, and his innovative approach to integrating photography with other art forms. LaFuente’s work, characterized by its blend of mystical and natural elements, invites viewers into a kaleidoscopic world where balance and repetition create a dynamic visual experience. As he shares insights into his process and future aspirations, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the artistic philosophy that drives his compelling and ever-evolving body of work.

Can you tell us about your upbringing in Sitges and how it influenced your early interest in visual arts and photography?

MTV, movies, and magazines were strong sources of influence for me. My childhood was, to some extent, very isolated; I didn’t have many friends at the time, so external worlds were very interesting and entertaining for me. I loved to watch music videos, especially those by female artists, as they resonated with my queerness. I specifically remember a wooden mermaid statue on one street in town; I always asked to walk that street to see it. There was an intrinsic motivation towards non-existing realities. And this is still very present to this day. I like storytellers, people able to create their little nest: Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, Andy Warhol, Marina Abramović (among many others)—people able to tell something and keep their core.

Unax LaFuente
Viper Diva by Unax LaFuente

You developed a unique visual language early on. What were some key moments or experiences that helped shape this distinctive style?

Working straight away with friends and creating our own projects, I incorporated myself into the more commercial aspect later in my career, and it was difficult to adjust. I’ve been lucky enough to create projects through genuine conversations, abstract ideas, and philosophy rather than just moodboards and meetings, and that’s somehow great too. I’ve had a limitless range of creative expression; it’s been purely me and the people I’ve worked with. That gives me a sense of creative freedom that I internalize to keep ongoing.

As a multidisciplinary artist, how do you balance and integrate photography with other art forms in your work?

Photography, as it was, is outdated for me; it feels like painting did when the camera was invented, especially with new technologies arriving for mass consumption. But it’s still a very interesting tool to express myself through others and to portray people. So actually, photography is not really a primary lane I’m interested in, but another one I use and enjoy a lot. Everything I do is somehow interconnected; I like to think of my photography more as painting.

Your portraits of musicians like Arca, LSDXOXO, J Balvin, and Honey Dijon are well-known. How does the music of these artists influence the way you capture their images?

Music is my main source of inspiration; I wear headphones all day long. We can translate sound into notes, but it fades under our experience and perspective, waves that travel through space and time; it feels immaterial. I attempt to translate sounds into images, and when working with other artists, I try to capture their essence through my perspective. So it’s very much a private conversation with each other without words. I like to imagine a photoshoot as a dance where one follows and the other seduces. I feel very lucky to get to work with people I appreciate personally and professionally.

Your work often reflects a blend of mystical and natural elements. How do you draw inspiration from nature, and how do you incorporate it into your digitally crafted spaces?

I have an obsession with repetition, balance, and mirroring, like the wings of a butterfly. It’s a material reality in the nature of things. Balance provides me with some sort of visual pleasure, so I instinctively try to follow that path while creating.

You’ve mentioned the Avant-garde and Cubists as major influences. How do these movements manifest in your artwork and aesthetic choices?

There’s a lot of resemblance between that time and nowadays. If you think about it, new technologies took over some industries such as photography, and artists had the chance to imagine beyond just representation. They could create new ways of making; Futurist Italians even imagined a new world with new car-centric cities. It made no sense to copy reality if a camera could do it in minutes, which reminds me of AI now. I wonder what new platforms will emerge for creatives to express themselves. I guess we have this duty to represent our reality and vision of the current time and future possibilities. At the end of the day, we as humans do that effortlessly. For me, the drawing of a child has the same sociological value as a Warhol. In some way, both try to represent their reality through material, and both accomplish the objective of depicting an idea.

Can you walk us through your creative process when developing a new piece? How do you go from an initial idea to a finished artwork?

I take images I have already created, textures, and color blends, and I start working on them. Most of the time, I dislike what I create, but when I do like it, I go with it and try to create a series so I can blend these within each other. It’s really a process of composition, decomposition, and readjustment between images. It’s truly chaotic.

Lima by Unax LaFuente

“NEW ORDER” is your debut exhibition where the public can experience your physical artworks. What do you hope visitors take away from this experience?

Conversations and gathering together. I like being around people even though I am, to some extent, an introvert. But I like the idea of being around my friends and showing them my work. I’ve never had the chance for them to see it physically. I hope everyone who comes can have some fun.

Your artworks often feature intricate, kaleidoscopic spaces and optical illusions. What techniques do you use to achieve these effects in your digital compositions?

It often just happens while trying other things. I can have a picture in my mind, but the most interesting ones happen while moving layers around, testing colors and blend modes. Sometimes I just try things, and new compositions appear. I follow it until I find a middle point that makes sense to me.

Clash by Unax LaFuente

Beyond the “NEW ORDER” exhibition, what are your future plans and projects? Are there any new mediums or themes you’re excited to explore?

Everything is, to some extent, uncertain at the moment; every industry seems to be falling apart and being reborn. I would love to keep working in the creative field, but I really don’t know where the money is. I would like to live off what I do and help my family financially. It’s a fixed goal in my mind. But when it comes to my career path, I just hope to be able to keep working with friends, mutuals, and people I respect from a professional perspective. I would like to do an ad; I think that would be fun.

Lastly, where can our readers like, follow, and learn more about your work?

I invite your audience to come complete my artwork by imagining and creating their own interpretation and storyline on June 20th, 2024 at

Gallery C6
Carrer de Corretger, 5, Barcelona 08003

You can also find me on:

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