The Amplid Research Cartel consists of excellent riders, innovative engineers and creative heads. Spanish painter, sculptor and street artist Luis De Dios is one of our main contributors…

What does riding on a daily basis mean to you?

Riding any kind of board is part of my life. Surfing is the reason why I live on the island where I live, why I drive the van I drive. Snowboarding is the reason why I go to the alps regularly. It is the reason why I dress like I do and it’s the reason why I live to travel. I love any sport that uses a board… surfing, kiting, snowboarding, skating… and we all like to do what we enjoy the most. It simply fills me with energy. Hopefully I can enjoy my rides all my life long….

What inspires you the most ?

I get my inspiration from thousands of different places. By watching movies, talking in the street, a memory of something gone by or something happening now. When I get involved with other artists, we start to come up with endless ideas flowing naturally between us. I am inspired by working with others and challenged to create something new. When I do the same thing time and time over I get bored, I need new inspiration and practically have to look for new techniques, to change material or subjects… anything new to inspire me again. I enjoy watching what other people do and like learning from them… be it good or bad. I can’t just hide away and hope to be inspired. I have to get out, go and look for waves, do something, get angry or get happy.. but above all I am lucky to say that I am inspired by everything that surrounds me.

Where do your main influences come from?

I really like comics, great graphic novels by Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman for example that make reading better than going to the cinema. As a kid I collected the monthly comic Totem, all in black and white with their perfect drawings. I got to know a lot of illustrators and artists from those amazing comics. I can trace my first desires to create art back to a certain moment. In ‘92 I travelled to Venice with a Maui based windsurfer/artist called Eskimo to help him look for materials for one of his exhibitions. We then went to Hawaii to sort through the mountains for garbage – left overs from the Venetian waste-grounds. I loved being there. A few years later I met an artist called Roman Mauser in Indonesia. I worked with him for a couple of months and this awoke my curiosity for textures and mixing media as well. Apart from these two of the many important people I have met along the way,  I am also influenced by many other things on a more daily basis; studying a Klimt painting or the Cronica team, Persson illustrations or Blu work for example all fill me with ideas.

What does art mean to you ?

I see art as an expression, a way of bringing ideas to life and getting an answer, no matter if it’s positive or negative. I see art in many different forms, we are currently in the best phase of collage art; everything is being mixed, graphics with drawings, graffiti and media, illustration and painting, street art, buildings, videos, books, .. there is art in every corner.. good and bad. The fact that art exists makes me feel good. When one goes into an Art Gallery, or just walking down the street and sees something that makes you stop and stare, that special something that makes you take time out to enjoy, makes you ask questions about what you are looking at. That expression for me is art. It is irrelevant whether it is painted with an aerosol can or made out of rotten macaroni.

How does art influence youth culture, or the other way round ?

Art and design has arrived everywhere. A pair of sneakers are no longer just a pair of sneakers, but can now be limited edition creations by famous artists. Same for snowboards or skis. The things that motivate youth - sport, music, apparel etc. are filled with design and make it ever more difficult to classify art. One doesn’t have to turn 50 to buy a painting as a work of art nowadays, you can simply buy a t-shirt or a skateboard. Each sport looks for its own identity and each and every one of them finds a new way of expression. Youth is changing the way art is brought to us, and it is just beginning.

What’s your favorite environment to paint in ?

Apart from my studio which I love to work in I’ve been doing lots of stores recently. Spraying walls, painting windows or building furnitures for real authentic board shops. I love to work with rider owned shops who keep up the spirit. Our sport needs retailers who have the courage to be different, to draw a line between REAL boardshops and normal “sport supermarkets”. It’s inspiring for myself and I feel it’s inspiring for the shopkids and people working there.

How do you approach a piece of art ? From the first idea to the final piece …

I start off with my basic ideas, something scribbled down or a sketch brought back from a trip. In the beginning everything flows out, I love making mistakes and then spontaneously correcting them. I go correcting and perfecting until I decide the piece is finished… then I say “basta… I’m going for a ride now!”.

When you finish a piece what’s the next step?

Before I finish anything I am always thinking about the next piece and  I rarely finish a work without having started the next piece! When I did the painting for the 2010 decalaration, my mind might be already at the Fenom for 2011 …