I recently met international contemporary artist, Louis Carreon while attending the Vanguard Awards Gala in West Hollywood. The event was beautifully executed by the Los Angeles LGBT Center in true Hollywood fashion. Fully expecting waves of inspiration for weeks following the event, (I still get chills) it’s memories of Carreon and his ballerinas that continue to swell unexpectedly when the gala comes to mind.
I noticed the spotlight illuminating the ballerinas from afar as I entered the Pacific Design Center and was immediately drawn to the energy of the pop-up studio. Alongside a crowd of gala attendees, I watched Carreon passionately spray-paint and brush two faceless ballerinas into imperfect perfection.
There was something extraordinary about Carreon’s live art show. The convergence of community, compassion, and art struck me and I soaked up every glorious moment. Feeding off of the surrounding vibes, the artist silently created until he was beckoned to walk the gala’s red carpet. Soon after, the crowd dispersed—but I was stuck. The dancers’ bold yet vulnerable disposition made me linger longer—wondering who is this quiet, seemingly complicated man who so effortlessly transfers emotion onto canvas (and city walls, jets, homes, buildings, bodies, etc.)? I soon learned Louis Carreon is a work (of art, of course) in progress.
The SoCal native grew up fast in the ‘90s on the streets of Los Angeles. Influenced by L.A.’s hip-hop culture Carreon surfed, skateboarded, and tagged his way through his formidable years. After being incarcerated in federal prison for drug related crimes, Carreon eventually overcame addiction and continued healing by immersing himself in art.
Embedded in the L.A. scene, the contemporary artist initially gained attention for his graffiti works. Since then, Louis Carreon and his work evolved (and continues to evolve) through his interpretation and expression of raw feelings and conceptualization of the world around him. Receiving international recognition for his paintings, Carreon’s artwork is represented by Gallery Modern Vertes in Zurich, Switzerland and Hamilton Selway in Los Angeles. Carreon is also known for his artistic installations, public works murals, and his altruistic collaborations with international brands across the globe such as: Nobu, Landmark Aviation, The Chicago Blackhawks and Expo Chicago, Medellin Transit Authority and others.
Last year, the artist was commissioned to paint a Hawker jet and a series of custom paintings during Art Basel Miami. Carreon covered the exterior of the aircraft in a monochromatic design—a nod toward Pop Art icon Keith Haring. One of his most challenging projects to date, the monochromatic masterpiece is based in the Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport in a Signature Flight Support hanger. Once sold, the proceeds from the sale of the jet will benefit Autism Speaks.
Carreon is currently preparing for this year’s Art Basel Miami in December. More complex than a jet, the artist’s 2016 Art Narrative is his International Symbol of Travel, #ISOT. Through paintings, Carreon will express his artistic journey based on a series of monochromatic symbols representing his world travel and emotions. Set in a luxury residential property, the Art Basel Brand Activation House is art, entertainment, food, and fabulous lux brands weaved together under one roof in a contemporary way. Translation: I’m packing my bags now.
Although my time with Carreon was brief, his style and spirit still resonates with me—I think about his ballerinas often and his ability to juxtapose simplicity and complication magnificently on canvas (and buildings, walls, jets, etc.). Such is life for an artist like Louis Carreon. Silently creating layers of connection worldwide with his mix of texture, raw emotion, color, and truth—in an imperfectly perfect way.
Carreon’s working studio, The Drip Factory, is located in Los Angeles, CA