In the worlds created by Manuel Guzman, there are robots walking on the streets and sea creatures swimming in the depths of the ocean. Gladiators fight dragons, and centaurs shoot arrows into the night sky. His work allows the viewer to experience colorful places outside of their comparatively mundane reality. Ever wondered how it would feel to swim alongside mermaids in the deep sea? Guzman’s work provides a glimpse at what it may be like.
While some of his work sweeps the viewer away to a fantastical place that might never exist, other pieces explore what the world could become in the near future. Maybe we’ll befriend robots, or maybe we’ll fight back against drones. Anything seems possible in Guzman’s illustrations.
Guzman, whose friends call him Lolo, accepts Bitcoin for his work, and he’s hopeful for the future of cryptocurrency. Read on for a deeper look into both his artwork and his passion for Bitcoin!
Emily Braun: What interests you the most about the sci-fi & fantasy subjects of your illustrations?
Manuel Guzman: What I find interesting about science fiction is that it is a space where I can imagine all sorts of possibilities. It’s an attempt to understand reality by expanding on what is possible or real now, considering physics and technology. From an artist’s perspective, I love the thought that my design can play a role in sensibilities of the future.
I approach fantasy differently. The impossible is possible here. I like to use it as a way to romanticize our reality, and everything becomes metaphor. Oftentimes, this genre is represented with worlds that are closer to nature, so where sci-fi looks ahead, fantasy hearkens back.
Braun: What is your favorite medium to work with?
Guzman: My favorite medium would have to be oil paint; however, I have done much more digital painting in Photoshop this last decade. Nevertheless, there is something special and intimate about traditional mediums that always delights me when I do work with them. I promise myself that I will move more of my focus and efforts back to traditional mediums eventually. I really have to. I also love working in watercolor. Nothing beats the tactile feedback of real life surfaces and implements and the actual chemistry of the mediums and the colors.
Braun: I see that you’ve done everything from movie posters to book covers to concept sketches… what type of project do you most enjoy, and why?
Guzman: I think I have the most fun doing the concept sketches. It can feel very playful when I’m generating ideas and loosely putting them down. Working on the bigger, more polished pieces can also be fun, but sometimes the longer process can, at moments, feel slow.
Braun: How do you get your name out there as an artist?
Guzman: I’m not much of a marketer. I like to believe the old adage of ‘If you build it they will come’. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to be a little active on social media and among local communities.
Braun: How did you first learn about Bitcoin? What was your first impression?
Guzman: I first learned about Bitcoin through Stefan Molyneux‘s channel. He’s a philosopher who expounds the virtues of the free market. My first thoughts were hopeful and still are.
Braun: What inspired you to accept Bitcoin for your artwork? Have you had anyone buy from you with Bitcoin yet?
Guzman: I place great value to the ideals of liberty and self ownership, and in these days of an encroaching State, we must be very vigilant where we spend money and how we secure our finances. Accepting bitcoin is my way of trying to be part of the solution. Sadly, I have yet to sell anything in Bitcoin.
Braun: Do you have any bitcoins? Have you ever made a purchase with bitcoins?
Guzman: I do have a small amount of bitcoins but have never used them to purchase anything… yet.
Braun: What do you think is in store for the future of cryptocurrency?
Guzman: I think Bitcoin will be what people run to when empire becomes unsustainable and the reality of the national debt really dawns on them. I also think that it has the potential to bring many countries out of third world poverty.
Braun: In what ways do you think Bitcoin or blockchain technology could benefit artists?
Guzman: I don’t see how the technology would benefit artist any more or less than anybody else. It really is universal good that I hope is here to stay, to help bring back the power to engineer society to the people – the entrepreneurs, the artists and the farmers.
– Emily Braun