Leila Youssefi is an LA-based Persian-American artist, and an alumna of the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She currently works under the moniker “LvL Up Kid,” referring to the fantastical realm of “LvL Up!” Using symbolism and form as language, she investigates the dualistic nature between confidence and doubt. Her pieces explore both figurative and abstract landscapes of the mind by imagining these contentions as whimsical cartoon creatures. These characters are seen in prismatic tableaux in which the self-confident “LvL Up Worm” battles the insidious, self-sabotaging “Imp.” By exposing this hindering dualism, the playful creatures aim to liberate us from ourselves.
Like many children of Iranian expats who fled during the Islamic Revolution, Ms. Youssefi is full-Persian and first-generation American. For so many, no matter where their heritage originates, this estrangement between cultural and geographic homelands may create massive inner tensions. By replacing emblematic elements of American daily life with akin symbols of Iranian existence, she employs her split cultural lens to emphasize the empowerment and understanding of mixed peoples.
She believes the following as a truth to be visually explored; as humans are all slowly mixing color and race, the key to a compassionate future lies in the collective understanding that underneath our color – we are entirely soul brothers and sisters.
You can find her latest here: https://www.instagram.com/lvlupkid/
Explore her interview here: http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-lvl-kid-santa-monica/
Watch her in action here: https://vimeo.com/206495674