As part of the Fireball Artist Series we’re not only bringing you some super rad limited edition deck designs, but giving you an insight into the minds of the artists ‘behind the boards’. Kicking off the series is Manila based illustrator Lei Melendres, best known for his ‘Infinity Mix’ style of doodling.
Click here to check out the board and specs or read on for a look at the man behind it all...
Born: Lipa City, Philippines
Resides: Taguig City, Manila PH
Coffee or Tea: Coffee. I'm not into any kind of tea except iced tea juice.
Breakfast or Dinner: Breakfast. I eat breakfast meals even at night.
Paper or Digital: Paper. I prefer traditional artworks more than digital. They're a lot more challenging.
Money or Fame: This is a hard one but I guess money is more of a need for me, although fame is not the goal it would be very helpful for my career.
Shark or Tiger: Tigers all the way. I'm scared of sharks. Growing up with the JAWS series and other shark-related (except for Sharknado) movies have got everything to do with it
Combining the ‘intensity of endless details and elements interacting together’ is how Lei describes his self-coined ‘Infinity Mix’ style of illustration. Unique and vibrant, the style pieces together an array of intricate detail within an overall vision.
Working with this concept Lei developed the ‘Mech Dragon’; a mechanical dragon head paying homage to the brand: ‘I've always been fascinated with sci-fi and mythical creatures, most specifically dragons. With all the possibilities in the universe we reside in (and maybe the other universes in the multiverse), there's bound to be a civilization who's advanced enough in the field of science to be capable of creating a mechanical dragon that could travel from galaxies to the next. I thought that would be something I would want to see to get my mind blown before I die.’
What does art mean to you?
Apart from being a hobby and a way to entertain myself, art for me is a way to express my creativity and thoughts. It is also an important part of my personality, beliefs and how I perceive things.
How did you get started in your career?
I've been drawing for as long as I can remember but I never considered myself an artist til someone in high school told me I was. It was then that I started dreaming of becoming an animator or a cartoonist. In college I started working on a few commissioned projects and it snowballed from there.
What is your favorite piece from your own collection?
I don't have one in particular. My favorite would usually be the last one I created or the one I'm currently working on because whenever I work on something big, I tend to get lost in the process and I take it like an adventure to a different world or a really good trip.
What is your favorite piece of art?
Haven't really thought about which one is my favorite. There is artwork I admire because of how it was created, some for the message it delivers and others for the societal or cultural relevance.
Who (or what) inspires you professionally?
I'm inspired by a lot of amazing artists. Kim Jung Gi, Mr. Misang, Wanton Doodle, James Jean, T-wei, Mc bess, The Etherington Bros, BangSang, TheQwark, Bros Mind, Little Thunder, Tristan Eaton, 1010zz, Nychos, Brendan the Blob are just some of the names off the top of my head. I am inspired by how much these people have taken their art to greater heights and how much they've inspired other artists to better themselves.
If you could no longer draw what would you do?
I would cook. I love to cook almost as much as I love to draw. I like the experimentation with food and tend to get lost in the process. The next option would probably be driving, I love to drive so I'd probably be a racer or a taxi driver.
What is the one item you can’t live without?
Right now, it would probably be my smartphone.
Quote you live by?
Do your best today then do better tomorrow.
Check out some of Lei's other work at:
Instagram: @leimelendres @TodayWeDoodle