Earlier this year an account for a photo-editing app called Leanified followed me on Twitter and I immediately followed back. Heavily influenced by Yung Lean and the #sadboys movement, I knew the app would turn out to be a huge success even though it had yet to launch. Now, about two short months since the official launch, the app has reached over 30 thousand downloads! I recently had the opportunity to speak with the founder, Adrian Herrera, on how the app came to fruition and how it initiated a new wave of digital art.
In an interview you did with Grape Magazine, I read that this all started while you were listening to Yung Lean (of course) and took the idea you had of a photo-editing app to Twitter in order to convince your friend, and now partner, David de Jesus. What came after?
At first he wasn’t very enthusiastic about the idea, but I told him I’d ask my Twitter followers for their opinion. That tweet quickly got several favorites and comments, so I showed him and said we should make it. He jokingly said, “I’ll build it if you can get 100 favorites by midnight.” I didn’t really think it was going to be possible, but I did my best to growth hack that tweet and by midnight we had over 100 retweets and 160 favorites. So after that he pretty much had to build it. Once I started posting up images of UI and possible image packs on our Leanified Instagram and Twitter accounts we started gain some real interest. About a month and a half later David started coding it. Once he actually saw some of the reactions from our fans, he started to get pretty excited about working on the app.
Are there other people apart of the team, or is it just you and David doing everything?
Before we launched I got my friend Kevin to help us with the social media, like the posting, commenting, and keeping everything up-to-date. Then shortly after we launched we noticed a bunch of different people who would be on our social media and would always comment, and one of these kids- his name is actually Dan- would kind of always be in tune. Some of the other users would always be asking questions on social media and he would just immediately answer them so David and I both noticed how into Leanified he was and now he’s sort of interning for us in the sense that he’s doing everything he can to help. We’re involving him in more and more things as we go on, like the tutorial video is something he did for us.
The app already comes with pre-loaded stickers such as the Arizona Tea and Fiji water which are obvious nods to Yung Lean, but who or what are some of your other influences for the app?
Well he [Yung Lean] kind of sparked the initial idea but once the app launched and we saw the different styles from the users, they really became the big inspiration- they come up with things we couldn’t even imagine that you could make on the app. In specific there’s this one guy on Instagram (@IAMYUNGTURK) who actually has a whole case of amazing work where he pretty much turns real fine art pieces into Leanified-like edits. You can see the growth in each user’s skills as they post multiple edits, their compositions become more refined and advanced.
As we further discussed the rise of this form of digital reappropriation of art and his dislike towards the somewhat inevitable uniformity that comes from the app’s pre-loaded sticker packs, he also mentioned that there will be new signature artists packs coming in the future. Adrian also said they are currently planning a new app that will provide more professional tools for photo editing. Additionally, the team has just secured a prime location for Leanified’s HQ in LA so you can only expect bigger things to come!
Before we parted ways I asked Adrian if he could design a special edit for this interview and this is what he blessed us with:
SO, all you #sadboys and #sadgirls better go download Leanified and make your photos more emotional.