Luis “Zimad” Lamboy is a veteran graffiti artist from the South Bronx. Leanna Valente is an artist, photographer and hard core graffiti and street art fan. Their shared love for the streets of New York City brought them together and inspired them to collaborate, leading to several joint exhibits. Here’s Leanna on their work together:
Tell us about your work with Zimad
LV: “Zimad and I met out on the streets about four years ago. Sometimes I’d see him painting with a graffiti crew, other times solo. Once he realized I was a serious photographer and artist myself, he would let me know about his upcoming walls. I also began attending his gallery shows, blogging on his events, and we became good friends. Zimad and I started working together in the spring of 2015. We found our styles worked well together and began to explore the possibilities of “photos vs. paint, markers, sprays, fabrics and whatever else – meshing together.” Since then he has created characters, stencils and tagged over my photos (both of us using a variety of mediums) forming an on-going collaboration.”
How do you see your styles of work mesh together?
LV: “We enjoy the same type of art and music, and have many similar ideas. I find it appealing and fairly easy to combine the grit of the streets on photos already lightly painted and embellished with flowers and fabrics. I have been painting for years before I became a photographer, so I understand a variety of mediums. I enjoy blending the work seamlessly.”
What’s special about collaborating?
LV: “I don’t collab much and it has to be the right fit. I feel collaborating makes me constantly think. When Zimad and I collaborate we brainstorm and ideas of little things just click faster. Bouncing ideas around elevates me to do even better and push myself to think differently versus doing the same things I might gravitate to. A collaboration is not a competition; it must be a good mix, almost seamless where you don’t always know who did what.”
How would you define your work together, complementary or integrative?
LV: “Our work is both complementary and integrative; some pieces complement one another and we may add only a small design on a photo. In others we completely mix it up with a variety of mediums to a point where outsiders cannot tell who did what. We don’t carry each other we complement each other. Nicely!”
All photos courtesy of Leanna Valente.
Luis “Zimad” Lamboy is featured in the upcoming book 2Create – Art Collaborations in New York City.