The Art of Pierre Lucero

Article Written by Alexander Greco

June 5, 2019

Pierre at the Grand Canyon

Pierre Lucero is an artist from Aurora, IL, who creates wild explosions of colorful imagery with marker and pen. Each of his pieces showcase a command of color theory and detailed linework, while also displaying insane supernovas of psychedelic visuals. With artwork that spans across a vast multitude of subjects, and near-infinite variations of his style, it’s difficult to know where to begin with Lucero’s art.

“Zig Zag”
Copic Markers/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

For each piece of art, Lucero seems to open a small bottle of inky chaos, then pours the contents of that bottle over a blank sheet of paper, until all the irrational contents of a dozen dreams and a dozen nightmares cover the page. Many of Lucero’s pieces show a storm of multicolored guts and flames, and fluids and brains, all radiating from some insane epicenter. In some pieces, the images converge at the center onto an eye, or a mouth, a skull, or an alien head. Other pieces have more concrete images or designs, while others portray landscapes, creatures, or people. Many pieces are just nightmares emerging from fever dreams, with no primary subject or object to focus on.

Then there are pieces like “Spongebub”, where Lucero takes everyone’s favorite sea sponge, and transforms him into a tornado of texture, objects and imagery.

Copic Markers/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

“A tribute to one of my favorite cartoon characters growing up as a child, “Spongebub” is a psychedelic doodlebob originating from none other than Nickelodeon’s classic SpongeBob. I incorporated transparencies as the arms flailing throughout the piece, since I didn’t know exactly what to do with them from the start. The effect is achieved by not adding any line work inside the shape, but still coloring it in as it would be, then outlining it with white highlight. Maybe I’ll return to this little series with a Patrick.”

Much of Lucero’s art is seemingly pulled straight from the ether, with only a small thread of reality being cast into a gulf of imagination, where some irrational leviathan is caught and hauled onto Lucero’s blank bristol. On “Bloomer”, Lucero had this to say:

Watercolors/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

“This piece means a lot to me in terms of the direction I try to achieve in my artwork. An obvious centerpiece filled with an explosion of random objects protruding outwards. I made it in the summer of 2016. The idea was given to me by my girlfriend when we took a photo together, and I had put a flower over my eye. The bottom pyramid piece was made to poke at the Illuminati joke I always get from people, claiming that my art is so good I must have sold my soul to get to where I’m at. Or maybe I actually did sell my soul at one point, who knows.”

A few glances at his work, and it’s not difficult to believe Lucero’s ideas might come from some sultan of a yawning, artistic void.

Yet, calling Lucero’s work pure chaos, or chalking it up to infernal intervention, would not do it justice, as each piece is a feat of time, effort and creativity. Lucero’s artwork is meticulously detailed and colored—with Lucero pulling infrequent all-nighters to finish various pieces—yet much of his artwork comes from spontaneous imaginings, rather than planned pieces.

“I’m still unsure where my ideas come from… …Very often do I have any idea what I’m actually going to create next. It’s always a blank sheet and continuously caking things on that I think would look unique bunched up together.”

On his piece, “Broken”, Lucero said:

Copic Markers/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

“This is another random drawing that probably has no real meaning, just solely for the purpose of looking weird. Repeating hands didn’t become a thing in my artwork until 2018, and I’ve been addicted to incorporating them ever since. This also makes me more interested in animation. I think this piece also is a good example of how bright and vivid my work can look when there is no limitations. We may be finite physically, but our imagination is endless.”

Lucero typically utilizes graphite, copic markers, and ink, though he also uses watercolor and acrylic in some of his work. His pieces typically begin with a small idea drawn with graphite, and then another small idea, and then, perhaps, another, until a pile of ideas are laid out across a formerly blank sheet of paper. From there, Lucero goes over his initial drawing with a size 1 micron (if he hasn’t already been going over them), and then goes over everything with thicker microns and fills in any black space. Lucero then begins with the base colors of the image (almost always starting with any hands or mouths), before filling in the entire image with color. To finish each piece off, Lucero shades all the images, goes over them with different shades of gray, and finally adds highlights to the piece.

Though many of his pieces are wildly ambiguous, and filled at times with seemingly arbitrary images, much of Lucero’s art coalesces into themes present in all our lives.

For “Caterpillar”, Lucero said:

Copic Markers/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

“I created this piece with the thought of insect evolution and how far it may go. Exaggerated for dynamic effects in the art piece alone, but the idea remains. I’ve always wondered if certain animals or insects would follow the same evolution path as humans did. Will any species’ make it past a point where their ancestors branch out a different route and become as highly intelligent as humans are? Extinction plays a big factor in this question, seeing as every living creature’s goal is survival, so what is the pinnacle of intelligence and are humans #1 when it is all said and done.”

In “Caterpillar”, we see a tangled mass of multicolored brain matter (presumably) in the bottom right corner, and arms reaching from the same corner. Then, swerving across the page, we see a series of images, all eventually converging into a caterpillar head. It begins with octopus tentacles and a butterfly, then morphs into a strange face, then a demon-like head, mouths, skulls, fluids, hands, eyes, and a pharaoh’s mask. The last leg of “Caterpillar” is a flaming head, roses, a variety of ribbons, colorful spheres, a burning animal head, and finally the caterpillar head.

Lucero demonstrates a sort of evolutionary shift from one image to the next—from a brain, to tentacles and a butterfly, to peace signs and angry, gaping mouths, to a caterpillar. It shows the movement of evolution as one continuous thread, the movement of states of being across thousands of generations of existence, and ends with an insect that naturally shifts and metamorphoses across time.

Just how the caterpillar evolved across time to become something which metamorphoses throughout its life, humans are a creature who’ve evolved across millions of years to become what we are now—a creature with the capacity to metamorphose itself. And yet, it’s possible something else may take our place at the top of the food chain. Reality is not static, it is dynamic and ever-changing, and the lives we all know and believe to be firm may one day fall out from beneath our feet.

For “Fallout”:

Watercolors/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

“This drawing was made after the election of Trump. The idea of mass destruction and nuclear weapons didn’t become a reality until that for me. Although I’d rather not be right about the situation, the idea of it will always be there. Its crazy to think how many nuclear weapons are already made and ready to detonate, I find it highly, highly unlikely that nothing will ever be set off again. But I also fear that in this modern are, it’ll be the last time they do, when they do.”

“Fallout” depicts a skeleton flying through the air, filled with multicolored organs of some sort. Though this presumably depicts the physical effects of a nuclear war, I wonder also if this depicts the psychological effects of the threat of nuclear war. Since 2016, how many of us worldwide have been affected by the political and cultural shifts we’ve seen? How many of us still regard life in the same way? How many of us—right or left or center—have walked away from the 2016 elections unchanged? How many of us have returned unharmed and unmutated by the bombs that were so carelessly dropped—from the left, right, and center—and how many of us have escaped the fallout that remains today?

And, for “Mankind”, Lucero says:

Copic Markers/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

“Sometimes I wish I could see the linear timeline for the human race. What will eventually make us extinct? Future discoveries/inventions, wars not yet had, evolutionary traits, space exploration/alien contact, and so on. I wonder how different the year 2019 will be from the year 14780—if we’d be living far more advanced lives, if we’d nuke ourselves back to the stoneage, or maybe we’d colonize another planet by then.”

“Mankind” is a head melting away from some internal explosion of information and chaos. It almost harkens back to “Caterpillar” and “Fallout”, and depicts our minds as we grapple with life. We see the good in here, we see the bad in here—creativity and progress, spaceships and confetti, and gnashing mouths, barbed-wire fence and melting brain matter. We see the future, and the progress of mankind. We see extinction, and we see lost civilization. And we see us, staring out at the world from a ruined head, wondering what we’re looking at (though we can’t seem to turn our eyes around and gaze at the realities in our heads).

However, try as I might, Lucero’s art isn’t intended to have one, specific meaning. Some of his artwork isn’t intended to have any specific meaning, other than what we see when we look at it.

“People are free to think about whatever they’d like when they look at my art. I hope people can take away more than the usual “I wonder how long this took him!” Not saying that’s a bad thing, but its often what people are left wondering with. I believe there’s so much more in each piece of mine that makes it hard for people not to take away something. Some objects in my work, or entire pieces, might correspond differently to different people and vice versa. I only hope people are left inspired to create something themselves after viewing one of my pieces. Not only that, but to view composition and contrast differently, being able to alter reality through a piece of paper on canvas holds tremendous power.”

Copic Markers/Pen & Ink on Bristol Paper

This last piece, “Blue”, seems to show everything that makes Lucero’s art his own. It’s an amorphous, tumbling and roiling glob of texture, images, objects, and forms. We see a skull at its epicenter, and Lucero’s somewhat-signature mouths and hands. We see chains and spires and eyes and signs and organs and fluids and tendrils and limbs and stars, and even a fetus near the center, still in the placenta.

And this is the art of Pierre Lucero. It’s wild, it’s chaotic. It’s amorphous and ambiguous. It’s mildly insane, but it also come from much discipline and practice. It comes from hours upon hours, multiplied across days, across months, across years, and the result is a portfolio of incredibly detailed and fascinating images. Do they all have a purpose and meaning? Perhaps not, but they’re all capable of eliciting some deeper, internal response upon seeing them, which makes you wonder, “Where do these ideas come from?”

Pierre Lucero has been included in a number of expos and galleries, so, if you’re in his area, look him up, and try seeing his art in person if there are any shows he’s currently in. If you’d like to buy any stickers, prints, pins, shirts, or original artwork of his, you can find his work here:

If you want to see more of Pierre Lucero’s work, you can find him on Instagram @peeairs. If you’ve enjoyed his work, give his work a like, or leave him a comment letting him know what you think.

Here At the End of Our Days

By Alexander Greco

I look out my window to the beautiful city my people have made, stare at the marvels of our age, and yet this feeling won’t leave me alone. In the streets below, I see my people moving like a tide of drifting ghosts. My lips mouth the words, “Brothers, sisters.”

I look out at our star and whisper, “My people.”

Walking away from this view, I move from room to room, trying to escape the sight of the city, hoping that will ease the unrest in my body, but there is no escape. I find my bed, but sleep will not come. In the mirror across from my bed, my large, dark eyes stare back at me. I look across the thin landscape of my hairless, bone-white body, and briefly amuse myself, thinking of how grotesque I must look to my ancient ancestors

I’m average height for a woman, a little over seven feet tall, and I’m one of the few females who still have wide hips. Ages ago, they would have said I was perfect for child-bearing, but people don’t talk like that anymore. I’ve joined the many who’ve given up on having children. Being born seems like too cruel of a fate to enjoy the idea of motherhood.

In the mirror, above my reflection, is another window. I sit up in bed and turn to look out this window. My dark eyes move from building to building, tracing the forms of spiraling, stalwart architecture that stand like titans against the horizon, and I cannot rid my head of these thoughts. I look for the subtleties of my people’s long, distant history in the curves of our towers, and I cannot forget this will be the end of our history.

Somehow, we’ve managed to live this long. We’re certainly not the people we started off as—the slow progress of evolution has made sure of that -but, since the farthest point of our prehistoric times, when we hunted the Ge’Herut of the northern plains, and through the hundreds of thousands of years since, we have survived. We have survived, but now, we face the death of our star.

Our species, shifted and evolved as it has over time, has seen may rises and falls. We’ve seen nuclear winters, solar flares, meteors, and countless wars. Some have been for food or water. Others were for oil and land, then, once we entered our succession of technological revolutions, they were for control of information and communication rights. Some wars were just for power and hurt egos.

Nothing ever finished us off, however. We managed to come back, even when we’d completely fallen. We learned to live in the ruins of our old cities, reverse engineer relics of a dead age, and recollect our histories, our sciences and our philosophies. The lights would go out, and we’d find new energy sources. Food would be scarce, and we’d genetically engineer animals with more fat, people with better metabolisms.

We survived for so long, but it doesn’t matter anymore.

It’s over.

Our star had begun dimming a few thousand years ago. At first, our ancestors thought it might only be a temporary occurrence, or some error in calculations. This dimming had begun nearly thirty-thousand years earlier than they assumed it would have, but the calculations were verified over and over again across the world. Was there some factor that had been forgotten? Some supposed “constant” that had shifted with the growing universe?

We scrambled to create spacecrafts that might save our species, but nothing we made could carry enough of us away to do save the majority of our species. Some ships were designed as homes for a select few- a thousand, at the very most -who could reproduce and teach their children generation after generation until they found a new home. Other ships were built to carry frozen embryos of thousands of species, including our own, and trigger terraforming events on a suitable planet before gestating these embryos. No one knew if anything would actually work, however.

Terraforming, deep space travel, weather control, these were things we had only recently been developing, and we had far from mastered these technologies. As a collective species, as a united planet, we repeatedly launched the best we had into the sky and out of our solar system. We still monitor their progress through the cosmos, thousands of years later. We’re still watching, hoping.

Eventually, our star dimmed enough to begin drastically effecting the natural cycles of the planet. First, the water cycle was thrown entirely off kilter, and our weather began to shift dramatically. We could artificially stabilize these, to an extent, but it wasn’t enough. We couldn’t artificially create light from our star.

Plants began to die out. The hardiest grasses, shrubs and lichens survived, but, once fragments of the planet’s ecosystems began dying out, the rest of the life in that ecosystem would quickly collapse. Trees quickly disappeared, followed by large mammals.

The more adaptive species began to evolve with the changes, us among them. We had already grown taller, thinner, and quite a bit smarter, but we had also evolved to digest nutrients far more efficiently. We no longer grew hair- we metabolized all the nutrients that our hair would have grown from -and our core body temperatures dropped, we no longer needed as many calories for our bodies to function properly.

Once the dimming began, our bodies were ready to starve, freeze and still flourish. Our digestive systems could already break down most substances, even a number of formerly toxic ones, and rearrange them to synthesize whatever our bodies needed. Centuries into the dimming, we had adapted enough that we could eat a bowlful of mud and be fed for a day or so.

That’s all we really can do, there’s so little else for us to eat. There’s some lichens left. A handful of scavenging animals are still alive, and they find their own ways to manage. There’s still plenty of insects, and some birds who prey on the insects. In the ocean, there used to be fish, crabs, sharks and whales, but their food chain fell apart several centuries ago with the dying of the phytoplankton.

Perhaps the sea creatures of the ocean’s depths, those already suited to the harshly cold and lightless abysses, will survive. Maybe they will inherit the Earth, along with any surviving ants, spiders and cockroaches. Surely, anything else will die.

We still have our cities, our beautiful and godly cities. They tower into the sky, shining brilliantly, even in the dim starlight. We walk solemnly through our twilight streets. We walk silently through our cities as tall and pale parades of dark-eyed people. There is no small talk among us anymore, no passing comments. So little need be said anymore. Everyone already knows what’s on everyone else’s mind.

We barely feel the bitter cold anymore, as if it’s become a part of us. Our warmest days are comparable to the autumns of boreal regions when our climate was still stable. The cold is everywhere, the cold is present at all times, and the cold has become a part of everything. There is no escape from this cold, there is no escape from this dying light, there is only an acceptance of it. There is only letting the cold winds wash over us, and staring up to the sky, waiting.

The arts are still with us. In fact, they have become one of the only things we invest any time or resources in anymore, especially with so few resources required for anything else. Here, at the end of our days, our kind has finally found an appreciation for the soul, and the things that erupt forth from it. New symphonies of various musical mediums are made every other week, hours are spent reciting prose in city squares, and art galleries fill warehouses of space.

Just as the ancient explorers discovered the lost civilizations of prehistoric times, we discovered the far reaches of emotion and thought. We live with a present-minded reverence inside the long, melancholy notes of orchestral arrangements. Within a single phrase, we rapturously disappear into the most tragic of sorrows and herald the most ecstatic of joys. In paintings, we stare down long, endless hallways of thought, like staring at a dream through a telescope, and we sculpt the shapes and forms of our thoughts with clay, glass and cold steel.

Yes, if there were to be any evolutionary step for the last of us, it would be an enlightened capacity for emotion, and an intuitive understanding of the soul. However rapturous this may be at its peaks, we all fall into deep crevasses of despair.

What mattered anymore? Why care? Why care even about our own souls? What was the point of existence? What was the end to any of our means, except for a slow, cold death. It was in such a despair that I found you. It was in the pits of loathing and contempt for our universe that I reached out to you.

It was in the pits of a desperate agony that my soul screamed with all it’s might. “Hear me, someone! Please! Is there not more than this? Is there not someone, something, some higher entity that can hear me? Some ritual to be performed? Some prayer to be said that could save us from this final dying of the light?”

I was curled pitifully in the dim gray of my barren bedroom, wailing and screaming whatever god might be listening, when my soul reached its hand out to grasp at you. These wails, screeches and screams I produced were not uncommon to hear in the cities that still stood. They were not thought to be odd, neurotic, or some symptom of insanity. They were understood with more clarity than any word that could be spoken.

I lay on the floor, my body heaped up feebly against the wall. A dozen or so of my people had walked into my room- there were no locked doors anymore. They came not to comfort me, only to share this commonplace pain. Together, we huddled in the cold- not escaping it, only sharing it. Together, we screamed. Together, we shared each other’s grief, our fear, and our rage.

There, in the gloom, our souls rage out into the cosmos, yelling, “Please, please, there must be more! Please, someone hear us!” Together we were bright and brilliant, manifesting as one chord that struck into the dark. There, in the vast cosmos of thought and emotion, we found you.

Perhaps you are from another planet, or an earlier time. Perhaps you live in a dimension incalculable by our mortal-made instruments and mathematics. Perhaps you live in a universe parallel to ours. Wherever we found you, whenever it was, and whatever you, we reached out with our naked, despairing souls and met in your thoughts.

We stepped across a bridge where time and space were irrelevant, speaking to you as you slept and daydreamed. In the chaotic music of your thoughts, we taught you our histories, our sciences and our philosophies. In the cities of your imagination, we found the medium by which to recreate our grandest of architectures, our most revered symphonies, and our most magnificent works of art. We showed you the vastness of our culture, leaving behind an ocean of life where our last decades form only the surface.

Through you, through your imagination and the thoughts drifting to the surface of your conscious, we hope to survive. We hope to be remembered. Here, with you perhaps we have found something “more”. Perhaps we will live on.