An Interview with Hamid Lagder LEZA talks art, Miami, and upcoming projects
Interview by Heike Dempster. Photos courtesy of the artist.

Why did you decide to participate in the group show “Girls run this Motha!#%?”

Being a part of an art duo, Yuhmi Collective, it's been a while since I exhibited on my own. As a woman I thought it would be fun to share my half of what I bring to Yuhmi.

Tell us a bit more about Yuhmi Collective please.

What does Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day mean to you?

As a female artist to me it's important to celebrate women's strength and beauty. I'm honored to have been invited to represent Miami ladies and participate in the “Girls run this Motha!#%” exhibit!

Please tell us how your work in the exhibition relates to Women’s Month?

My work is about femininity and getting to know myself as a woman. I've developed a cat woman character, an alter ego, where I give my ladies graceful strong feminine qualities that are personal to me. I like to think of them as super human.

Why a cat woman? What or who inspired your cat woman character?

How do you interpret Girl Power in your art?

I enjoy painting alluring feminine women with flowing hair and super human feline qualities.

Which woman/ women do you admire and why?

I admire so many women. Especially my mother and those who raised me, they taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. Forever instilling the words "I Can!" in my life. Thank you!

What subjects do you generally explore in your art?

My work has been about developing my artistic persona.

How would you describe your art?

A journey into a floating world, a place where imagination and reality merge, and are free to run wild.

What medium is your favorite and why?

I like working with a variety of mediums, and enjoy discovering new techniques. Most recently I'm exploring aerosol, it's fun quick and allows me more time for details.

What other projects are you currently working on?

Most recently Victor and I had the honor of participating in the FAAM Street Art Auction! To be amongst Miami street artist invited to show along side major street artists works like Swoon, Lady Aiko, Fail, Banksy, and Basquiat to name a few. This is a blessing!!! It was a true pleasure to paint along side so much amazing talent!!! We also just finished producing a video of our latest mural collaboration titled "Mila the Nonapus" a super-human hybrid creature, nine tentacle flying lion lady our creative interpretation of a griffin:

You imagine a lot of fictional and fantastical characters and creatures as subjects of your art. Do you create continuing narratives around these characters?

What else do you have planned for 2014?

Looking forward to painting more murals, some travel, exhibitions, and who knows maybe a solo Yuhmi show! So excited! Check out our @YuhmiCollective FaceBook and InstaGram where we will be posting updates!

In 2009 Victor Vazquez, my husband, and I both started Yuhmi Collective with graphic design and art commissions. In 2012 we followed our hearts and Yuhmi officially transformed into an art duo. We are a two person collaborative team. We enjoy creating paintings, illustrations, murals, toy designs, and installations.

I like to think of our characters as animal spirits. Empowering them with animalistic qualities to give them super human strength. It started with a want to become a better version of myself, I asked what qualities would I have. Currently, I chose feline qualities. But this is constantly evolving. Working alone and towards this Beyonce inspired exhibition, I thought it appropriate to get to the core of my most feminine quality. Leaning towards my zodiac sign Leo. My inner feline, sweet, fierce, strong, and courageous.

Our paintings are a reflection of our life and experiences. An autobiography of sorts. Documenting a journey of our magical interpretation of life itself. We are creating our own whimsical parallel universe.