written by Marisa K. Barrino
Since 2018, local painter Luis Miguel Anaya-Trejo has found inspiration in people for his oil paintings.
Anaya-Trejo was born in Mexico City, moved to Troy when he was three-years-old, and has lived in Detroit since September 2020.
After graduating from Siena Heights University in 2018, Anaya-Trejo knew art would become his passion.
“After graduating in May, I kept reading up about various artists, and really started drawing as much as I could,” Anaya-Trejo said. “I have never taken a single art class in my life, so I thought it important to have a decent grasp in fundamentals before moving forward with anything art related, if in fact that was what I wanted to do.”
Anaya-Trejo said there are many reasons he began painting, but his main inspirations were Vincent Van Gogh and the Spanish version of the novel “Lust for Life” by Irving Stone.
“He (Van Gogh) is such a misunderstood individual, and through the mental illness and bad press his temper has given him there is an absolutely pure hearted soul,” Anaya-Trejo said. “All he wanted to do was help people, and express himself for people to see. He was an incredibly intelligent individual. What people may not see through his art is that he was one of the most calculated painters of his generation. He spoke various languages, was up to date with most intellectual literature, he understood theories of line and figure, and especially educated in theories of color.”
When it comes to a painting style, Anaya-Trejo said his style is a mix of many things.
“I don’t really believe in being part of a pure painting style, being part of a school of paint,” Anaya-Trejo said. “This is because I think different subjects should be treated differently. I can’t paint my father the same way I paint a friend and so forth. That said, one of my goals is to create a new style, a new school of painting like Picasso and Braque did with cubism, Pollock with drip abstract, etc. It’s really hard.”
Having a mix of styles comes with a long thought process. Anaya-Trejo said most of his process comes from reading and drawing as much as he can.
“Having a science background has changed the way I look at painting,” Anaya-Trejo said. “Everything is very theory based. I research artists that came before me and I look more thoroughly at their words before their painting. I want to know what they were thinking and trying to do. Like any field you need to do the research before thinking about taking your research to the next step. That is why I often like to call my paintings ‘experiments’ instead of paintings.”
Anaya-Trejo said his process also includes catching glimpses of something he would want to paint.
“A blurry image with certain colors have been coming to me at different times of the day and then it’s my job to try and put order to these images,” Anaya-Trejo said. “There has been a lot that has gone forgotten which is frustrating, so I try to capture as many as I can. Then there are other paintings where I’m looking at something, a photo, a movie scene, etc., and that inspires me to do something. I don’t limit my inspirations. There is beauty in most things. There is also a lot of symbolism and hidden messages in my paintings that I hope people spend time looking at my paintings to figure out.”
Because he said he believes in ambiguity between an artist and their audience, Anaya-Trejo said he does not like to explain his paintings.
“I will take pictures of people to look at and learn things about peoples faces and bodies,” he said. “I will use pictures to maybe do a few studies of someone, but other than that it is from memory and imagination.”
Some of Anaya-Trejo’s recent paintings include “LOST IN THOUGHT” (left) and “SELF PORTRAIT IN RED” (right).
“What I want people to look at and pay attention is to the colors,” Anaya-Trejo said. “All my paintings are built around the meaning behind colors and then the figure.”
Although Anaya-Trejo has painted celebrities in the past, he said he will no longer paint anyone famous because he wants to paint people he knows personally.
“That’s when you can comfortably paint them and try to discover different things about them and yourself,” Anaya-Trejo said. “Anything and anyone can really be an inspiration for my next painting.”
Anaya-Trejo said that more than anything, he wants people to feel something through his paintings.
“I want people to see that I have something to say,” Anaya-Trejo said. “I’ve read some people say certain paintings have saved their life. It sounds crazy, but I believe it. I hope that one day I can make a painting like that, that helps someone through a rough moment in their life. I also want to make paintings that bring to light some of the horrors in the world, and the darkness of it. There really is no limit to what I want to do through my painting. The beauty and the darkness of it all.”
Anaya-Trejo’s website thisisagoodpainting.club consists of a gallery of his and other artists’ artwork, such as collaborations. To gain access to the website, you pay a $7 monthly subscription. This gives viewers the opportunity for unlimited access into his artistic community.
“I am hoping this will let me be a totally independent artist in a way where I can focus on my painting and helping others,” Anaya-Trejo said. “I want the minimum amount of the funds made from it, and the rest will go to throwing events, to the artists I feature, back to members, and then to people who may need it. I really want people to understand that I didn’t make thisisagoodpainting.club for the money, but that the money is needed to be able to do the projects I want to do as a community. I also made it as a place where I can exclusively put my paintings, where I can take my time on them and make the best work possible.”
You can also find Anaya Trejo’s work on his Instagram.
“LOST IN THOUGHT” (left) and “SELF PORTRAIT IN RED” (right) - Oil paintings by Luis Miguel Anaya-Trejo.