We had the good fortune of connecting with Luis Zuleta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luis, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In starting up my business, Above the Clouds, my thought process was fairly simple, I just wanted to create dope artwork and create some amazing things with other inspired creatives. In creating 3D prints and collectible figurines, I already had the background in modeling in 3D from my “day job” as a 3D Artist. With my love for physical artwork like collectibles and paintings, etc. I would regularly attend art shows and art conventions such as Comic-Con and DesignerCon. I was already submerged in that world as a fan for years. Fortunately, by reaching out to some of the great artists at the time I managed to start friendships with them. This eventually became a business relationship bringing in more clients and building up our studio’s reputation as not just 3D modelers, but even more over time as a small production house to create runs of collectibles from initial concept to final in hand product.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Recently we just wrapped up a project with the famous LA photographer, Estevan Oriol. This one in particular was one of our most fun and motivational ones. What started off as a fun collaboration with France 3D Artist Trappist, ended up evolving into a full on official project with Estevan supporting it. Initially we were going to do a small run of a 3D print of Estevan and his camera, and along the process of creating it Estevan really liked the idea and wanted to get involved. This turned into meeting with him, and more ideas, and eventually we ended up doing a set of 35 of them. All signed by himself and I with a certificate of authenticity, a great looking designed box to showcase the figure, etc. This project was extremely exciting because we had to push ourselves as a studio to deliver the highest quality of work, so we approached it and marketed it in a more driven way. We definitely stretched ourselves thin on this one and at the same time learned so much about the process from start to finish, and importantly how to adjust and work even more proficiently next time. In the end it came out amazing, Estevan and the fans loved it, and it led to us meeting new people and bringing on new clients. All of this stemmed from something small, and us just wanting to do a project we love pushing it to our best.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend of mine came into town one of the first things to do since we live in California, would be to visit the beach. To have lunch along the coast at Dukes, and make our way down to Venice Beach and walk the colorful boardwalk up to Santa Monica Pier to grab some desserts and treats. Spend a day there up and down the coast and catch a beach sunset.
Another day take them on a hike to Eaton Canyon Falls through the forest. A beautiful trail that cuts back and forth thru streams and in the end rewards you with some gorgeous waterfalls. Then back to LA to check out the amazing vibe and great food over at Escala in Korea Town. A savoring mix of Korean and Colombian food blended together in a live up beat environment. If our stomachs aren’t full we can finish stuffing our faces with some delicious KBBQ at one of the local spots around Escala like Quarters.
Something else I would say to do is check out the Arts District in LA. Swing on over to The Container Yard and check out some amazing murals from artists from around the world, and eat and drink at a few of the local walking distance spots like Resident. Walk on over to the Angel City Brewery where we can drink some flights of beer, play some board games while having some great food and laugh with the friendly locals. We can cap off the night up the street playing some classic arcade games at the lively barcarde called EightyTwo.
If possible head on over to Downtown LA and check out some of LAs history at Grand Central Market, and grab breakfast at Egg Slut. Head on over to the Crypto Center and catch a Lakers game with friends, and then spend some time at LA Live. Finish off with some food and drinks up the street at Coles French Dip. Grab some street tacos and hot dogs, a blanket and radio, and head up to the Griffith Observatory to spend some time catching the beautiful panoramic view of LA lit up at night.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Most definitely I have been inspired by all those around me, friends and especially my family. My mother, Lotty, for pushing me to do what I want, to let me jump into a roller coaster field to become an artist and trusting me to push myself to be successful even though an “art career” can be frowned upon and can be a struggle to make it. Thank you for your love and encouragement in not just my career, but my life, without your unconditional support, I would never have had the courage to chase my dream career.
My daughter Aaliyah, she is a constant inspiration and driving force to my success. I do this all for her, I want her to be proud of her father and see how hard I work to provide for her and do what I love. To see that life and work can balance well and be a happy union, and see that work can be fun if you find what you love and go full force with it. That you can veer from the normal career path, and as long as you are passionate and dedicated, you can accomplish so many things and be successful in life.
My girlfriend Marina as well, she deserves such high praise for everything she has done for me. From believing in me and what I can accomplish, encouraging me to push for more and bigger goals cause you never know you might just hit them and end up somewhere even greater. Thank you for all the behind the scenes help with painting, organizing, planning, etc. Without you I would still be working on what felt like some neverending projects. Our studio consists solely of myself, and I would hire help here and there depending on the project, but she has been there through it all helping in any way I needed it. Thank you.
I would also like to thank my friend Gary Ware for his foresight into what I am capable of. He probably doesn’t even know this, but I may not be where and who I am without him. Out of highschool I started working and he was my supervisor, we would have fun talks on art, life, everything. In trying to figure out my future and career, he was already attending art school and saw some of my own art. With that he noticed my passion and talent and encouraged me to look into becoming a 3D artist and attend the school he was at. I followed his subtle guidance, and jumped right into the field, and am so glad I’ve stuck with it these past 15 years and have grown into what I am today.