Q&A: Kevin Lustgarten shares optical illusions through social media

Kevin Lustgarten, a sophomore, poses for a portrait on the Academic Quad on Thursday, Sept. 24 Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily

This past summer, sophomore Kevin Lustgarten from Caracas, Venezuela started an Instagram account called 2Venezolanos and has since attracted over 30,000 followers. Through his videos, he loves to make lo imposible posible — the impossible possible — which is the tagline of his account. Expressing interest in video editing and magic from a young age, Lustgartern talked with the Daily about his Instagram account, his passions and his plans for the future.

The following is an abridged version of the interview.

Tufts Daily (TD): What inspired you to make an Instagram account?

Kevin Lustgarten (KL): Since I was very little, I’ve been interested in video editing. I have also always liked magic and optical illusions. I figured that this Instagram account would be the best way to integrate the two.

TD: What was the last video that you edited and produced?

KL: The last one that I did was one of the ones that has had the most controversy. It was me — I was in Miami — doing some push-ups on the street while blindfolded with cars driving over me. It’s been very funny because some people have asked me [questions like,] “Hey are you crazy?” [and] “How do you do that?” [and] “What were you thinking?” I was like, “No, it’s an illusion, I wasn’t actually there!”

TD: How did you come up with that idea?

KL: I was walking on the street and I saw a car — I actually wasn’t thinking about the video — and I was thinking, “Could a person fit under the car lying down?” And I thought it would be a really cool idea for a video to actually show someone doing push-ups while the cars drove over them.

TD: What’s the trick to coming up with creative ideas for videos?

KL: It’s just a matter of observing and observing and observing. I feel like you have to look at things and find a way to make them unusual — find a way in which it would be great for the eye to see it. I was playing mini golf with a friend, and I thought it would be really cool if I made a video [in which] instead of moving the ball to the hole, I moved the hole to a ball. We haven’t posted it yet. We are actually going to post it in two days I think … We try to find ways in which we can turn things upside-down and make them unusual — make things that would be impossible in real life possible through video editing.

TD: There’s a famous Vine personality, Zach King, who makes videos similar to yours — do you follow his account?

KL: Yeah. He is honestly our inspiration. He is an extremely creative guy, and he makes really good stuff, and he’s the one that makes us think that you can always come up with new ideas. We really admire him, and we hope to maybe make something with him one day.

TD: 2Venezolanos has become hugely popular. How did that happen?

KL: First, we shared the account with the people from our school. We had a solid group of followers from that — about 1,000. And then it was growing, little by little — growing, growing. Some artists have helped us by reposting our videos. A famous comedian, David Comedia, reposted some of the videos and that gave us many more followers, and a really famous journalist also liked it and reposted it as well. That’s the way we are growing. Also, through the comments. Our followers usually mention their friends in comments to show them the videos, and that’s a way that we grow. That’s what we enjoy the most. As we entertain them, they entertain us with their comments as well.

TD: How did David Comedia find out about you?

KL: I don’t know! One day we saw that he had reposted one of our videos. We messaged him saying “Hey, thank you very much, that’s very helpful for us.” Then I realized that he lived in Miami. I was staying in Miami over vacation, so I went to visit him to thank him for helping us and supporting our project. We made a video together which was really cool for him and for us. He is actually very new; he has an Instagram account…which has also been growing very quickly. We were in the same boat.

TD: Do you see yourself doing this for a long time to come? Where do you see this going?

KL: I feel like the future is very unpredictable, but I feel like I’m going to do this while I’m in college and probably after as well. Now we are on Facebook and Instagram, and in the future we might open a Vine account…and maybe Twitter and Snapchat.

TD: Has anyone reached out to you to offer you employment after seeing some of your videos?

KL: Yes, quite a few companies and organizations have reached out to us. And we are now considering different options to see whether we will partner up with one of them. I don’t know if we can announce who yet though.

TD: Is that overwhelming for you?

KL: Yeah, I can’t even believe it yet. I never knew I was going to be in this position when we started three months ago. We never imagined that we would be at this point where people contact us and ask us to be part of their team and ask us to make videos for them. It is something we never imagined!

TD: But you’re studying Computer Science here [at Tufts]? So are you only doing video editing on the side?

KL: I’m really just doing it on the side, although I might minor in digital media. And I want to find a way to mix those things as well. I think maybe computer science can give me a new way of thinking. It can help you a lot with video editing.

TD: So your audience is mostly Venezuelan, but I assume you have shared your account with some of your friends here at Tufts. What have been their reactions?

KL: They love it. They ask me for more. They usually ask me how I do it, and I love it when people ask me that. It’s like magic. And because it’s like magic, I don’t know if I should answer that or not. I really enjoy listening to what people like, what they don’t like, and I love looking at their reactions. I learn a lot for future videos that we make.

TD: Do a lot of people at Tufts reach out to you to ask if they can be involved in the videos?

KL: Yeah, many people ask me if they can help me make a video, or if they can appear in one of them and I say, “Yeah, of course!” We always need people, and so it’s always great to have friends who help you because there’s no way to do it alone. I hope that I can be known at Tufts, and I hope to maybe integrate this project with more people here and make it a bigger project, and I welcome everyone who would like to help me. I’ll be very happy to work with anyone with the same interests. I think we have really smart, creative people here, and we can make great things together.