ART INTER(VIEWS)

CONTEMPORARY ARTIST INTERVIEWS 
@openzine

Greg Haberny, Burn All Crayons

Posted 2013-08-29 08:42:08 | Views: 5,781

New Yorkers have something to look forward to in September. Tell us about your upcoming solo show.  

It's called "Burn All Crayons" it's basically a fantasized version of youth revolting about what they are "fed".....and the over the top results of that....enough said....

A lot of your work seems to address the over politicization of American government. What is your stance on the matter? 

I don't understand the system any longer. Nor do I even try.....Politics is generally defined as service to the public. The jobs in my opinion are  generally modest...yet they all retire multi millionaires on a sold salary. Wish I understood that....(laughs)


 Politicians are hard to like, 
but who is someone you completely despise in politics?

Honestly I don't hate anyone. That's a waste of energy, time, and just stupid. 

Anyone you admire from politics? 

MLK...Malcolm X I admire because they spoke truth and their belief was solid,truthful, and passionate. They stood up and never backed down. I respect people that believe in a cause so much ....they would die for it.Unfortunately, they both did.
BURN ALL
CRAYONS 
Greg Haberny talks art, 
politics, icons and his 
new exhibit in NYC. 
 I notice your work plays with pop culture elements that come out crude, dirty and decayed. What draws your aggressive energy to popular imagery?

The old style is dead. Everything is computer graphics. I try to keep alive some old school styles. The icons of the past are no longer icons....they are memories...fallen heroes...


 For a new young artist moving to New York, what would be the top 3 things you would tell them to avoid. 

Drugs...booze...and relationships...(laughs)....oh art too!

Have you lost any friends over your work? If so do you have any specific story that sticks out? 

I don't run in large circles and I'm kind of an introvert. I try to be very civil to anyone and all. My work is my work. It's not generally militant and it has an absurd sense of humor. I just express my feelings, feelings are just that...feelings, not facts. If I lost friends over my work I guess we weren't really friends in the first place...(laughing)




















    
Greg Haberny's solo show opens Sept. 6th at Lyons Wier Gallery. To learn more about Haberny's work visit his site right here. 

Brooklyn artist Christian Rex van Minnen Interview

Posted 2013-08-23 09:52:18 | Views: 4,239
TALKING PAINTING WITH 
CHRISTIAN REX VAN MINNEN
So, you were switching studios yesterday?

Yeah, moved just down the street near the Navy Yards.Very excited.This is my first legit, out-of-home art studio. With a door and bathroom, anyway.

What does a day look like for you at the studio?

Coffee. I put together a media playlist for the day, alternating between podcasts, music, audiobooks. I try to spend a good amount of time thinking about my palette- if i can use up yesterday's palette on something, build a new one, scraping, cleaning, etc. I try to gauge my mood and what process is best suited for that mood: underpainting is good for restlessness, grisaille for anxiety, glazing for more serene moods. Facebook and all that is persistent distraction, of course.

There's a lot of historic references in your work. How has your paintings developed over the years to the point of how we know them today?

Yes, there are. I am interested in the formal aspects of portraiture and still-life; the geometry and system of delivering information in those specific stylistic conventions. I see them as a sort of marketing platform. Before i became engaged, and engorged, in Old Master's painting i was doing basic surrealism, using a lot of automatic drawing but without any compositional constraints. 
THE WORK OF CHRISTIAN REX VAN MITTEN IS A COMBUSTION OF TRADITIONAL PORTRAITURE WITH A CONTEMPORARY TWIST AND MANY MANY CUPS OF COFFEE.WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM AS HE WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A MOVE.HE WAS NICE ENOUGH TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS. 
(Continues below) 
Portraiture and still-life provided me something to bump into. I still use those art historical references as a crutch and I foresee a day when I will need to ween myself from them.

Are you ever surprised with how a piece starts and how it ends?

I try to make a point of it. I try to keep it tastefully awkward.

Tell us a little bit about the Great Western Buffet? Are you into buffets?

No, I think buffets are gross actually. Giant petri dishes. I think
that western culture has a giant shit sandwich to eat and we all gottatake a bite. Spiritual healing through the eating of shit sandwiches.

Congrats on becoming a father. How has it been? Has the transition been real different of how you make work?


Thank you. It has been amazing and intense and a lot of other newemotions that I don't have a name for yet. The 'how' part hasn'tchanged, but the 'when' certainly has, and maybe even the 'why' part alittle bit. In general I have to be a little more efficient andeffective with my time. Less studio catatonia. 

Lowest point of your art career was when?

Anytime there was anything that had something to do with an'art-career' was a high point! I've really had to piece this thing together doing whatever I could- set design, furniture commissions,portraits, teaching- I even did an illustration for Playboy once. I've done some art-career things I would rather have not done but in the end it was always better than digging a ditch or mowing a lawn, or pulling up old floors. Anytime I was lucky enough to do something art related and get paid for it I was pretty happy. There have been days sitting catatonic in the studio surrounded by piss bottles and thinking of suicide. But that's just a low point in life that caused my art to suffer. That was me just being a narcissistic idiot.

Highest point thus far of your art career was when?

Getting to quit my job as a delivery driver a couple years ago and working full-time as a painter. It's really been great. Moving to NewYork has also been incredible. I've been able to meet so many artists and cool people. It's the first time I've really felt a part of a
community.
(Continues below) 
To learn more about Christian Rex van Minnen visit his site right here

Venezuelan artist, Mariana Monteagudo

Posted 2013-08-23 06:27:33 | Views: 4,905

There is something sinister yet innocent about the doll sculptures you create. What do they mean to you? 


They mean everything to me. I cannot conceive waking up without an idea of how I will improve a piece, or how what I do during the day will contribute to my work.At the beginning the doll was just a pretext, a way of expression; after 15 years I’ve discovered that it's much more than that. For me the image of the classic doll depicts an ideal of beauty and innocence of childhood, but is somehow an over-dimension of tenderness that often touches the monstrous. My characters are inspired in dolls, but at the end they are a reflection of human expressions and emotions. Is a subtle sense of palpitation what I am looking for; is the constant search of that “thing” you cannot quite explain with words.


CASA DE MUNECAS 
Discussion with  MARIANA MONTEAGUDO
 MARIANA MONTEAGUDO is a Miami based Venezuelan artist who has been working her series of doll sculptures over the last decade. Her latex, ceramic and mixed-media dolls are intriguing and fascinating. Her artwork shows interest in a wide range of expressions , from the pre-Columbian aesthetics, to fashion , tv pop culture, Japanese manga and mass-market toys. We had a chance to talk to her recently. Enjoy. 

What's the process of making them? How do you come up with the various expressions on the faces? 


It starts with an  inspiration, it can be virtually anything. I usually conceive a group of pieces as if it was a cast from a theater play; every character has a specific role in the story.  For instance, this time I have been obsessed with the classic images of the circus and the 1930’s Tod Browning’s film “Freaks”. A heartbreaking story of the human dramas within a traveling circus. So my new group is taking a lot from this story, and from the circus world. I begin with a theme, a starting point; then it evolves by itself, opening new windows to other reflections and sources of inspirations. 


Are you into toy collecting? 


Oh yes, I love collecting dolls. In fact I could say that when it comes to my work, I have the personality of a collector. That pervasive feeling of nostalgia (and an obsessive sense of accumulation) of collectors permeates into my work. 


What medium is one you would like to explore with your work that has not happened yet? 


Inflatable sculptures, fiberglass, resin, bronze, so many things yet to explore.




Anything coming up?


Yes, a new exciting group of pieces. I am currently producing approximately 20 pieces for my representing gallery in Europe.


Lowest point in your art career was when? 


When I moved to the US and had to figure out a new way to make my sculptures. It was hard to adapt myself to a whole new environment. It is not easy to get out of your comfort zone and start from square one. But ultimately everything is for a good reason, and an opportunity to open your mind to new things.


Highest point in your career so far has been?


It is hard to pinpoint a high point in my career. In some ways, I consider my work to be in constant evolution. So, every new set of pieces is a new highest point. But I guess that my 2 solo shows in Madrid in 2002 and 2004, and my participation in the 2010 Sao Paolo Art fair have a special place in my heart. You don’t get to be alongside with great contemporary masters like Damien Hirst, Vik Muniz or Joana Vasconcelos every day. Also I am very proud of being part of collections such as the MOLAA Museum of Latin American Art in California, the Everson Museum in New York, and The César Gaviria Trujillo collection (former President of Colombia and Secretary General of the Organization of American States).

"It is not easy to get out of your comfort zone and start from square one. But ultimately everything is for a good reason, and an opportunity to open your mind to new things."
- M.M.
(Continues below)
     
(Continues below) 
To learn more about Mariana Monteagudo visit her site at: 

Art from Dallas, Ricardo Paniagua Interview

Posted 2013-08-21 18:38:33 | Views: 5,386

You just had surgery? Is everything alright? What happened?


Yeah I just had surgery for the second time in my life. The first time they waited until I was awake to remove the catheter so life is improving. I got appendicitis and almost died if it weren’t for Snow White (my girlfriend) telling me to go to the E.R. They rushed me in to surgery and also found a hernia which they fixed at the same time. It went pretty smooth though thankfully.


Do you think this will have any effect on your work?  

Currently I am working on small works due to medical lifting restrictions temporarily on anything over twenty lbs. That is really the only way it is affecting my craft. As it stands I have a solid understanding on the desires of my design capability so I’ll be focusing on reducing my pin stripes to smaller geometric forms.


How is the scene in Dallas?

 The scene in Dallas is actually very healthy at the moment thanks to the Internet. There are some pretty exciting things going on here right now. It seems like a bit of a renaissance of art and culture at the moment. Our down town Dallas arts district now has like more institutional bldgs. Designed by Pritzker accredited people than I think anywhere else or something like that plus we are neighbor cities to Fort Worth which has a world class museum district so in that regard there is never a dull moment. On the grass roots level it’s equally as healthy. There are just enough fresh out of art school art elitist Nazi-like hipsters to keep the critics happy. On the real though, we have Jeremy Strick and Maxwell Anderson really stepping up the programming at The Nasher and The D.M.A. I was blown away to see Katharina Grosse recently for the first time in Dallas. Across the street Mr. Anderson made the Dallas Museum of Art with Free admission. The advent of an annual art fair in recent years here has also spurred added international attention as well as the new programming with Peter Doroshenko at The Dallas Contemporary. So yeah. I’d say it’s been very progressive here.



Is it true you are a high school drop out?

Yes, this is true.  In that regard I am an outsider. Dallas was always very stand-offish towards me for that reason. It’s not a town for outsider artists. My art is not identifiable with that type of jargon, but it’s true. I have a 9th grade high school education and that’s it. The tipping point was when I had to go to alternative school and they wanted to make me pull my pants up, tuck my shirt in and wear a belt. I set my books down and officially dropped out at that point. I believe my conduct with my Algebra teacher led me to alternative school. I figured out a word problem without her formula and got in trouble and then blew up and it all went downhill from there. I used to draw pentagrams on my homework assignments just to mess with her. Such a moron, but a funny moron so time well spent. The only regret about leaving high school was that I couldn’t play my Tenor Saxophone any longer because I could not afford one other than the school provided. I was good at it and loved to play.





Ricardo 
Paniagua 

must be filtered through in order to become manifest. One of those systems being “math”. But no, Math, to me is not readily identifiable for my work and only pertains to a facet of its overall make-up.


Where are some places you have shown? Any crazy stories?  

In the beginning I used to show my work at bars and sidewalks. I sold some really good pieces for really cheap to drunk people and hope it’s not lost as a result. There was one really rich guy that paid me for a big canvas and he told me that it was going to be a family heirloom. He was pretty cool. I also showed on a side walk across the street from the local contemporary art dealers of dallas 2nd annual art fair back when those people were not my friends. I loaded my truck up, stacked the art in the bed and leaned it on a vacant warehouse wall. The people driving out from the art fair looked and laughed at me. No one stopped. Now, not even ten years later I am starting to show in museums so whateva.

Your work seems pretty mathematical, is it really? 

“Mathematical” is only one form of a lowered manifestation of absolute universal truth. I suppose that there are several veils that the transmission of my work 

"I loaded my truck up, stacked the art in the bed and leaned it on a vacant warehouse wall."
- R.P. 



What has been one of the most valuable things you have learned so far in this life as an artist?


To put art second and life first. I have been working so hard trying to get off the ground with output and innovation in my work for about ten years and have lost personally in different ways. Playing the role of an artist I have also re-affirmed other personal beliefs about life such as endeavoring with an independent outlook. Art has always been about freedom of expression, but once kids starting piddling around with art school and chasing the scene many of them get caught up in trends and the life style (whatever that is) of being an artist which is totally backwards. I have a saying, “life over art” and will always believe in what it can offer.  As far as my craft as an artist is concerned I have benefitted positively with the evolution of my experience in life. 


My art has evolved at some points to very high degrees of tolerance in design and this has cultivated my mental focus in general which has benefitted my life in greater way such as reading the directions on whatever it may be, be it assembling some weird piece of furniture or programming a television without aggravation. Also, I have opened myself up to the complex world of chemicals and how they relate to each other in regards to my various processes which also require greater focus. I don’t really feel I have learned about life as an artist rather my beliefs in and about life have informed my experience positively as an artist for the most part.


(Continues below) 
(Continues below) 

To learn more about Ricardo Paniagua's work check out his Facebook page right here. 


Dallas has a growing art scene and Ricardo Paniagua is a prolific art maker that produces mind blowing works that match his complex personality. 


Talk with Meryl Pataky. San Francisco Neon Artist

Posted 2013-08-21 11:57:35 | Views: 4,137

YOU MAKE MANY DIFFERENT THINGS BUT HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE WORK YOU MAKE?  

I would describe my work as mixed media sculpture and installation.  I would also describe it as conceptual.  

WHERE DID ALL OF THE NEON COME FROM? 

Where did it come from? Technically speaking,  the glass comes from Italy and the gas comes from outer space.  ;)

QUICK FIX 
WITH 
MERYL
PATAKY




MERYL PATAKY IS A SILVERSMITH, WELDER, NEON ARTIST AND A TEACHER IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA. 



ONE UNDERLINING THING I NOTICE IN YOUR WORK IS TEXT, HOW DO YOU DECIDE THE WORDS? 

 The words come from a lot of places,  either something someone has said that stuck with me, a play on words, or just one word. Most of my work comes from my personal experience.  



TELL US ABOUT THE SCULPTURAL JEWELRY YOU GOT GOING ON. 

Right now I am just making wearable stuff for sale. I sell to individual clients and through RVCA in San Francisco.  I love creating sculptural silver works but it tends to get fairly expensive. Since I am focusing on my neon work and that too is expensive,  it's sort f one or the other at the moment



ANYTHING COMING UP? 

I have some works in a text related show in September with Glass Door Gallery in North Beach, San Francisco. 
 WELDING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. HOW DID YOU LEARN?  

l learned how to weld in art school. It is super fun! 
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MERYL PATAKY VISIT HER SITE HERE. 
VIEW WORKS AND STUDIO SHOTS BELOW 
   
    

Conversation with Paul Anthony Smith

Posted 2013-08-20 05:59:30 | Views: 4,357

Hey Paul, what are you working on these days? 

At the moment I'm all over the map trying to figure out what I'm doing. Figuring out where I'm moving to next and understanding the work I'm making in my studio as well as the foods I hope to enjoy in the days to come. 

You live and work in Kansas City. You seem very passionate about it. Tell us what it's like being there as an artist?

It's the most supportive community I've ever lived in. The people here are friendly and you just have to get to know them without making preconceived judgements. I moved here back in 2007 and that's over six years and counting. I want to leave but I wont have access to the amazing facilities this city have to offer. Kansas City is a place where an artist such as myself can function and achieve the goals I desire. 

Is there any good Jamaican food in Kansas City? 

There are a few Jamaican restaurants G's Jamaican cuisine and Island Spice,  but they are nothing like what I want. They cook a bit unique. I tend to head back east to New York, 
PAUL 
ANTHONY 
SMITH 
We catch up with Paul Smith, a young artist from Miami but developed his craft in Kansas City and is now in search of new places to roam. We discuss art, food and other daily rituals. 
where I get some killer food in Mt. Vernon, NY off of White Plains road or in Flatbush or Bushwick, Brooklyn. and also in Miami at Junies, off NW 184 St in Miami Gardens, these places are where I usually go to get a plate of Curry Goat, Oxtail or Brown Stew Fish. What I'm saying is that it taste best on the coast. 

How does your upbringing seep into your practice? 

Food is the most important thing to life. No food, no life. So I'm always trying to find a new place to eat. I use my taste buds to enjoy another culture's feast and travel.  Much of my work revolves around nostalgia and questioning the culture, religions and aesthetic of Jamaica that I never experienced. I find myself at an in-between place at times. it's research that shows up in the work I produce. 


What's the biggest misconception people have about your art? 

For a while I've been working on the picotaged work and many times they are misconstrued to be glitter or sand. a granular product of some sort, but its actually torn paper. regardless, someone who is unfamiliar with my process will think its a product that they may be familiar to them, so its making that relation. its kind of how the general world knows Picasso's and Warhol's


So many of the faces in your work go missing. When did that start happening? 
Is there a definitive reason behind it? 

The faces began missing once I began painting black people who had features that were a bit unrecognizable. It really started back in High School. Many of my friends would take photos of me and many times I was unrecognizable, due to the lack of a flash. a few years later I revisited the idea of how some peoples identity are removed or misidentified. I began working around this idea, looking at masks and how various cultures use masks in ritualistic ceremonies as a coming of age and right of passage. I used masks in my picotaged works which best fit the process and content of masking the people in those works. My painted figures have now become anonymous, which are the tarmac workers who I have no direct relations with. 

Do you have any rituals or activities you do to stay focused?

It's always best to take breaks and time out for myself, these breaks may be considered as short field trip or travel. At times I need to be by the ocean (the SEA), and a change of scene to continue doing the things I do.  It's life and in order to maintain myself and stay focused I have to be selfish and put myself first. More so self respect. I try to do this atleast once a year. 

You are really happy when? 

I'm really happy when I'm around family and friends and sharing meals. The act of eating food is a communal ritual that brings people together. It's a gratifying feeling to know that we can all be together no matter our backgrounds. Being outside in nature is also a plus. The mountains of Colorado and the Ocean. Star gazing. 
"I began working around this idea, looking at masks and how various cultures use masks in ritualistic ceremonies as a coming of age and right of passage."
- P.A.S.
continues below 
Learn more about Paul Anthony Smith by clicking here. 

Jonathan Stein, Artist Interview

Posted 2013-08-19 13:07:18 | Views: 4,711
Tell us about your practice, how do you work and what do you make?

My work celebrates and calls into question Society's fixation with over consumption. I am obsessed with our pop culture fast food nation, so I take ordinary iconic foods like a Starbucks cup of coffee or a package of Twinkies and Super Size the dimensions of each item so they are larger than life in scale. I sculpt in clay or wax and cast in bronze or resin. Each of my mixed media sculptures are then hand painted in enamels and the logos of such parody works are redesigned and hand stenciled. From there I set to task hand setting (using a toothpick) a veneer of tens of thousands of individual colored Swarovski crystals over the entire sculpture. 

Your sculptures are very glitzy and funny. They seem over the top and ridiculous in a great way of course. 
Do you have a big sense of humor? 

 I love embedding humor in my work. The works are deeply rooted in parody and I embrace kitsch. While behind a shiny veneer, the works address critical issues of over consumption, obesity, malnutrition, the dangers of advertising and so forth; overall, I want my audiences to laugh, smile, or be taken in by the joy inherently placed in these familial consumables. 


























JONATHAN STEIN 
Photo Credit: Evan Orensten 
WE CATCH UP WITH THE ARTIST WHO MIXES POP ART WITH AMERICA'S FAST FOOD NATION. THE WORK IS FUN AND STEIN'S CHARITABLE IS INSPIRING. 


Working with children and the less fortunate is an important thing for you. Tell us how you got involved with the community. 

I have been working with developmentally disabled adults and children since childhood. Charity and Art are at the core of who I am; that gives me purpose not only as an artist but as an individual. I began teaching art to autistic and severely disabled youth while in middle school. I continued working with these at-risk youth throughout high school while also aiding the Deaf Community here in South Florida by interpreting and performing songs in ASL for community based events.  I currently serve as the Creative Director for Drops of Hope, a Pediatric Cancer non-profit that builds fantasy room makeovers for underprivileged children battling cancer or cancer related illnesses. I use my art to raise awareness for marginalized communities and often as a means of raising needed funds for non-profits whom otherwise would fail to aid the populations that critically depend upon them. 

What are you working on now? 

A large hand jewel encrusted box of Matzoh which hopefully will be included in a show at the Miami Jewish Museum this September.

What was your upbringing like...does it reflect on your work at all?

 I had a decent childhood. I sought refuge in art as a child to try to find my voice being that I am middle child. Growing up as a very short in stature child, (I'm only 5'5) Art was a way to express myself and being able to draw I believe helped me combat a lot of the bullying I'm sure I would have endured by bigger kids that wanted me to sketch for them instead pummeling me. Lol

Tell us about your cakes! 

My cakes focus on the issue of over consumption primarily with reference to celebrity fanatacism. A year before Britney Spears came out with the song "You Want a Piece of Me", I created a mixed media cake portrait of her called Everyone Wants A Piece of Britney, inspired by her non-underpants limo ordeal. The world was ravenous and felt entitled to view and consume that image of Britney. My Post Modern Feminist artist response was to sculpt and paint a cake sans her crotch. It's punishment for society's sense of entitlement. From there I painted other celebs everyone wants to devour with slices removed as well. I'm at the point however that now I only do custom portraits of celebs which I get them to sign to raise money for Drops of Hope, my charity and I'll do a second portrait for their charity. If my art can aid those in need; I'm using down to help. 
Lowest point in your art career was when?

 Lowest point is watching pieces I've done years ago that didn't get their rightful place in the sun get remade popularized and capitalized on by other artists who've blossomed instead. Very often I have found, one can be brilliantly talented and filled with tremendous passion but still feel and be considered utterly invisible in the Art World. I feel that way at times myself, it can be rough. 

Hightest point in your art career was when?

I was asked to be in, For Which It Stands, an internationally published book of contemporary artists who celebrate Americana. I was hand selected along side artists like Ai Weiwei, Kevin Berlin, Shepard Fairey, Steve McQueen, Barbara Kruger, and Vik Muniz. 
To learn more about Jonathan Stein click here. 
- August 2013

Talk with Fashion Photographer - Oriana Layendecker

Posted 2013-08-15 13:52:12 | Views: 3,773


How did you get into photography? Was it always focused on fashion? 

I got into photography by accident. I started out wanting to be an actress actually. To break into the film business I did makeup on the side. I worked as a freelancer for a local production company out in Washington state. To build up my book I started networking with local photographers. Which then led to me doing some modeling…and then finally, I picked up a camera.  Nobody wanted to try the concepts I wanted to do, so I did them myself.  And yes, I guess fashion was always the goal--although it wasn't necessarily executed too well haha.

You are in Washington right now? What brought you to DC? 

I live near DC yes…I made the "young and in love" move and came out here for the wrong person.  Although, I don't see it as a mistake. I think as an artist I have been making the most out of the resources here. It took me a while to find them, but there are hidden gems in this city; like anywhere else.




          Oriana Layendecker
 
Fashion photographer Oriana Layendecker takes a few questions on a fine August afternoon. 
Most memorable experience while shooting? 

Ooo…that's a tough one haha. I was on a location shoot during the wintertime. We had been shooting non-stop for hours and one of the models was on her period. We were out in public and she was wearing a very expensive gown. To ensure nothing got on the dress I took her to the most private corner possible and held up her dress for her while she took care of business….that might be a little too graphic for your blog. So that, and having equipment fall and smack me in the face while shooting, leaving me with a black eye.

Your photos seem very atmospheric, is there a lot of prep work while setting up the backdrop for the shoots? 

I definitely tie in location with every shoot. It can make or break it! Some looks just don't work in certain places. Planning out the light, shadows, color, textures etc makes a huge difference.  Although, when it comes to planning, I do leave some open ends, it keeps things fresh.

Do you have a blog? 

I have a tumblr, a twitter, an instagram, but no blog.  I'm not much of a writer and I hate explaining things because half the time I am experimenting.

What other areas would you like to explore? 

Video. I would love to get back into it…it's something I explored very briefly years ago when I went to school for acting.  I love it, but I have to learn all the new editing programs and I just haven't had the time.
 

What's next?

I have a handful of editorials that I am very patiently waiting to share with the world. Magazines take forever as you know, and some things I shot almost a year ago are still on hold. As for what's in the future, I can't wait to find out.



Interview with Miami artist David 'LEBO' Le Batard

Posted 2013-08-12 17:22:27 | Views: 4,916
FAST CHAT WITH 
LEBO
We catch up with Miami bred artist David Le Batard aka LEBO. Starting out as a muralist to then expanding his hand over to paintings and commerical work. He isn't afraid to try something new and sharing it with all walks of life. 


I first noticed your work in the form of murals around the city of Miami years ago. How do you feel about all the murals in the city? 

I'm definitely proud of the fact that a large part of my career started out doing murals in public spaces. It's a forum as old as civilization itself and a truly democratic way to exhibit art. I'm also glad I get to cross to the other side of the spectrum and sell my work at a fine art level as well as occupy to spaces in between the two. In regards to Miami now and the explosion of murals, I think it's a good thing. Public expression in all it's forms is a mark of free society and we're blessed to live in one. I do think it's interesting how the term used now is "Street artist" and "Street art". To me it's still being a "muralist" and when we do it we create a "mural".  


What are some things you are working on now? 

Right now I'm working on my partnership with Norwegian Cruise lines. i just designed their newest ship, The Getaway, that will be sailing from Miami in early 2014. There's a lot of components to the deal and it's been great partnering up with them. Aside from the other elements with Norwegian, I've signed up with Park West, a very
 established company that does a lot of work on ships around the world. We just signed a deal together a few months ago and they're selling my work as fast as i can produce it and have double the value of my work. I'm currently producing about 100 paintings for our partnership to be auctioned off in the next couple months. Beyond that i'm taking care of my own private commission work as well as an apparel line for Harley Davidson. Mural work for Redbull along with some charity work.

If you could describe your work as a food by its smell, texture and taste...what would that food be? 

Well i've been eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables for a while along with a lot of Indian food so that's where my head is at these days. I guess I'd hope that my work would have all the raw, juicy, natural goodness of raw fruits and vegetables and all the flavor and soulfulness of great Indian vegetarian dishes. I'd also hope that my work was kind to all animals, human and non-human alike. 

Where are your favorite places to go in the world? 

I just came from Amsterdam, Stockholm and Copenhagen. That part of the world is civilized in the best way imaginable. I could definitely live in Amsterdam. Last summer i was in Spain and did El Camino de Santiago and spent some time in Barcelona. Could live there too. British Columbia has really gotten my attention and I'd love to get a second residents there and i love the states. Oregon, New Orleans, New York. Miami are all amazing places.

You work a lot with brands. How did that happen? Was it planned that way? 

It was my goal since i started running my own studio that i would work with brands. Growing up I was influenced by a lot of commercial work as well as branding. It never occurred to me that good commercial art and good fine art were any different. Further more great commercial art inspires me way more than crappy fine art. To me it's all in the approach and how well executed the work is. Working with brands was just a way





































 

"I'm very grateful and plan on applying the same energy and staying very grounded. The opportunities available to me at this point are beyond anything i ever hoped for."

(Continues below quote) 
"Le Batard has been commissioned to paint the signature hull artwork of Norwegian Getaway, coming in January 2014."
                                                               - USA Today 
 to bi-pass galleries. My thought was, why should i have a gallery speak for me when i can speak for myself and why should i sell my work through galleries when I can build my own client list by approaching brands. Thankfully it worked. i gotta say i much prefer sitting down to dinner with the CEO of a big company to going to an art opening. It's funny that this far into my career i'm represented by an art house but that deal worked out the same way. I met with the owner of the company and we worked out a deal. pure and simple. The best way.




Lowest point in your art career was when? 

The first 8-10 years were tough. It was hard to make enough money to support myself and I had to learn how to be a professional artist and run a business at the same time. Thankfully my family supported me in a lot of ways. Without that support I wouldn't have been able to make it. The last 8 years have really paid off and in particular the last 2 years have gone through the roof. I'm very grateful and plan on applying the same energy and staying very grounded. The opportunities available to me at this point are beyond anything i ever hoped for.


Hightest point in your art career was when? 

Designing The Getaway for Norwegian Cruise lines has been the latest career highlight. It's literally a billion dollar ship and my brand is painted right along the Norwegian one on the side of the ship which will have 1000 running feet of art that I designed running along side of it. I feel like I should come out with a hip hop album so I can take my picture with the ship behind me. How much cooler is that than a gold Bentley? Honestly though this chapter, although it's just getting started, has been a huge blessing and I'm looking forward to see what the future brings.


Learn more about LEBO here: 
LEBO