ART INTER(VIEWS)

CONTEMPORARY ARTIST INTERVIEWS 
@openzine
Talk with Fashion Photographer - Oriana Layendecker HAPPY 4TH OF JULY Y'ALL
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