This fall we caught up with Luis Cobelo: photographer, artist and believer in magic.
Luis recently relocated from Mexico City to San Francisco’s Outer Sunset, and graciously invited us into the living room he shares with his partner—our dear friend Rachelle Derouin—to catch up and peruse his latest work, an art book called Chas Chas.
Luis was raised and became a photographer between Venezuela and Spain. He makes work focused on South American culture, infused with grit and hints of magical realism.
He also boasts a vast collection of tropical floral shirts; we’ve never seen him wear the same one twice, and have only scratched the surface of his closet. Luis styles them our Solid City Slipper in Iron-Dyed Leather—always in front of one splashy Sunset garage door or another, a fitting backdrop in his new home neighborhood.
How does geographic location (Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, San Francisco) inspire or impact your photography practice?
Each place has a different energy and that is the most exciting. Having to adapt to each culture and balance your expectations and desires with what happens to you in each city where I am going to take photographs.
It is a lucky thing to be able to learn more about humanity in each country I visit, even if they are places that I know well. It's a challenge all the time and that's what I like the most. Now that I have moved to San Francisco I am sure I will find the inspiration to make a new photographic story.
What’s the most magical place you have ever been?
A difficult question, because I have been to so many places and all of them are magical to me, in different measures. I'm going to make you my top 3 in nature: Los Roques, a group of islands in the Venezuelan Caribbean; Iguazú Falls in Argentina and Brazil; Sahara Desert in Morocco.
Favorite band or musical album of all time
Always The Cure. The first time I saw Robert Smith on television I was 12 years old and he changed my life. If someone had that hairstyle, then I could too!
Best place to go dancing in Mexico City
For 80, 90 and disco-music Patrick Miller Ballroom and Barbarosa ballroom for salsa y merengue.