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Lente Scura is a fascinating yet divisive artist. Urban-Muse has had a long history of posting Lente Scura’s work on our social feeds for years, I have even talked with them in depth about various incidents of drama that present themselves relating to the art he creates.
Lente Scura is a high level paint over artist, nearly all of his work rely’s on photography either from another photographer or created by themselves. This is a highly controversial method of creating art in the 21st century. There are extremely bad examples of this kind of method being abused and disused in a wide array of scenarios. There have literally been people who cal themselves artists, who take a photo in photoshop, apply one filter, or a few, then place it on DeviantArt, ArtStation, or some other portfolio site and claim they “painted it.” That’s an extreme example, but it’s become very prevalent, especially with “filter” type apps on peoples phones, you can apply a filter on your phone and get something that looks like these kinds of filter based Paintings.” Lente Scura is not like that and the end result of his work has a unique and painterly feel that take the best aspects of painting, and the best aspects of photography and creates something new and fresh. When you look at his work you can kind imagine he has taken the emotion of the source photography and amped it up several levels, instead of merely just transcribing what the painting “looks” like he has created new works that describe what the piece “feels” like.
Irakli Nadar who is also profiled in this issue is another issue who is constantly accused of this, but in his case he has taken to providing full process videos showing that this just isn’t the case.
Lente Scura has been a focus of drama seemingly throughout his artistic career. These situations are addressed in the following questions. Urban-Muse has supported Lente Scura from day one, and will continue to throughout the future. As a result it’s no accident we asked him to be in the first issue for this magazine. We are honored to share his work with you in this format.
Urban-Muse.com: What is your artistic process like? What are your tools of the trade?
Lente Scura: My tools are a PC based computer with a Wacom pen and tablet. In addition, I have a light kit and standard Canon camera for photo shoots with models and a large assortment of props. In terms of software, I used such applications as Abode Photoshop and Corel Painter. My process is fluid and I will sketch within a sketch pad the basic compositional elements of the painting and poses of the subjects. From there, I will either use a stock image or conduct a photo shoot with a local model to capture the pose and lighting I need for a painting. Once I have decided on the composition and the pose of the model and the color scheme and lighting, I will organize the composition quickly in Photoshop. I use Photoshop as a pre-production software, arranging elements, making color adjustments and tone adjustments. From there, I send the rough composition to Painter, where I will paint, using the rough photo mock up as an under painting. The final version is a complete paint using a paint over process.
Urban-Muse.com: You have been very clear about the references you use while creating your work, yet this has still caused a bit of controversy on certain events. What are your feelings on this? What would be your advice to artists using references?
Lente Scura: In the past, I approach art from the process of sketching out the composition, creating the under painting, and building it up to its completion. I don’t have an issue with this traditional approach to painting or art. This all changed when I attended graduate school for digital art. During my studies in digital art, I saw a direct connection between the traditional arts of painting and drawing and digital media. I saw that it was possible through new digital media technologies to combine the fields of painting and drawing with digital media, expanding the possibilities of new art forms.
I do understand that some individual view my mixture of photos and digital painting and digital editing as not pure. That’s their world view and they are entitled to that view. I tend to see the world of Art as not a constant reality defined by rules that can never be challenged or altered. The creation of art is the process of defining one’s reality. A process of exploration and a process of growth. I hope to continue finding new ways to combine media to create new ways to express my art and my visions. Remember, people during the Renaissance thought artists who used oil based paints were crazy. Equally, people rejected the camera at first and thought it would destroy the field of painting. People tend to fear and attack the things they don’t understand.
The advice I would give individuals who engage in the process of photo painting or what is known as a paint over, is to cite our sources, always get permission, and create a relationship with stock artists and models. Taking your own photos is recommended and keep a databased of all works cited for each piece. Sign up for stock image companies or use stock images from stock image artists such as those on DeviantArt.
Urban-Muse.com: Lente Scura is not your real name, what does it mean? What is it’s importance to you as an artist? What does it mean?
Lente Scura: Lente Scura is Italian for “dark lens.” It’s based on the concept of seeing the world through a darkened lens. The reality we see is subjective and we see it through our own lens based on our upbringing, education, experiences, environment, and how events affect us. How I see the world is based on an inner point view and it’s expressed in a manner that is surreal and mystical with dark emotional tones. The name is important to me for it has become an extension of my art and who I’m as an artist. Removing the name removes the intent of the work.
Urban-Muse.com: You recently encountered a unique problem on Facebook, that resulted in you quitting the social network for many months. You had people reporting your profile saying that Lente Scura is not your real name, which is true. But instead of revealing your actual name and changing the very nature of your artist profile on Facebook, you chose to leave the network completely. (You seem to be kind of back now?) Can you talk about this incident? This is your soapbox, now is the time.
Lente Scura: I’m still trying to understand my run ins with Facebook and why people act the way they do on it. It’s strange to me how a site like Facebook can bring out the worst in people. I have seen a lot of love and kindness on this site, but I have seen far too much hate as well. Not sure why people get upset by me not using my real name. Other sites don’t have an issue with people, especially artist, using an artist name. I used an artist name for I enjoy my privacy and the name Lente Scura relates directly to the concepts and themes of my art, making the name and the person behind the art inseparable.
I don’t think people are out to get me, but I do think that the polices of Facebook allow for people to act badly. Facebook’s rule of using your real name is based on the view that Facebook is trying to prevent individual from spamming.
Not using your name, means you are engaging in the act of spamming, according to Facebook. This rule can be used against you by individuals that have a grudge or just want to create drama or just want to troll you and make your life a bit less happy. I know it sounds very emo on my part leave a site over my artist name, but I believe in my art and those things such as my artist name that has become to embody the art and the work.
Urban-Muse.com: Do you feel like Facebook is artist friendly?
Lente Scura: When I read that Mr. Zuckerberg never intended to create a media company, I was a bit amused. Facebook is a media company. One can call it social media, but what is social media without visual media? It’s like a Shakespeare play without the blood. Facebook, in my view, engages in “a wack a mole” game with artists, going after artists who have nudity in their work or even a suggestion of it, grouping them with those individuals and companies who engage in pornography. I don’t approve of pornography, but there is a difference between nudity used in art and the objectification of people for sexual purposes. I tell people if you don’t like nudity in art, don’t book that trip to go see the great art works of Europe. You might be a bit disappointed by the subject manner. I know Facebook knows the difference, but sometimes I wonder. Now that I’m back on Facebook, I’m very selective on what image I publish, but that selectiveness does create a form of self-censorship. My experiences have lead me to believe that Facebook’s policies only invite a non-friendly environment for artist. At best, I would say that Facebook’s stance towards artist is passive aggressive and not entirely welcoming.
Urban-Muse.com: What are your feelings on Facebooks nudity policy when relating to art?
Lente Scura: My thoughts on Facebook’s policy of nudity when it pertains to art, is that Facebook needs to hire art history majors. I know that sounds a bit rude, but I do feel that Facebook lacks the educational knowledge of what is nudity used in art and what is nudity for pornographic usage.
Urban-Muse.com: What Social network has been the most important to you?
Lente Scura: I have found that Art Station and Instagram what been two platforms that are supportive of the arts and artists. Facebook does support on pages like Urban Muse, but as a whole, other sites do a better job in supporting artists.
Urban-Muse.com: What are you plans for the future?
Lente Scura: I plan to submit my work to more galleries and publications in 2017. I’m rolling out a store on my web site come Summer 2017, offering for the first time the ability to buy prints of my art.
Urban-Muse.com: Thankyou so much for taking the time to talk to Urban-Muse and it’s readers!
Lente Scura: I’m grateful to be asked to be a part of this publication. Urban Muse and Curt Anderson support many artist and we are all proud to be considered and called friend.
You can follow Lente Scura’s work here: