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I was just putting portraits in the window just because I wanted to draw people. There was no idea for swapping of art, or anything like that. But then Levi came along.

He stood in frame of the door of the Art Garage, an obvious extrovert, asking about the portraits that I was putting in the Tiny Gallery. To his question, “Can you draw me?”, I replied, “of course”. He went on to say that he also likes to draw. One of his many ideas is to take two different dog breeds and combine them into a new hybrid. I proposed to trade one of his hybrid dogs for a portrait.

He went home and within the next couple hours, returned with one of his dog drawings. This new dog had it’s own stats, much like a baseball card. Compatibility with humans, ease of training, friendliness towards other pets, and more. He even gave it a backstory.
I was so enamored with it that the pressure was on me to mirror his artistic intent. We set up a photoshoot and while I was taking pictures I asked him if he had any requests for his art, and this is what he said.

A video posted by Nolan Lemos (@nolanmakesart) on

I got to work on his portrait. First I drew him, then I drew some strawberries that had different personalities. After that, I drew some crazy mushrooms and a deranged chipmunk. I really tried to pushed this piece because I felt it had to compete with his big imagination.

After I had my first unofficial ArtSwap with Levi, I wanted to recreate that feeling of collaborative art gifting, thus my humble ArtSwap project was born. Retroactively, Levi is officially member #1.

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