Interview with KEVIN LEDO

24Mar2014

Firmly grounded in classical painting techniques and materials while plugged into contemporary perspectives, Montrealer Kevin Ledo, an EMer from early on, brings his elegant, often stylized approach to realism to walls indoor and out.

Where are you from and where are you now?

I grew up in the burbs of Montreal, though I’ve always had cousins in the city with whom I’d get up to no good with on weekend visits. I’m now and have been living in the city Montreal off and on over the past 13 years.

What do you do? How do you describe your art practice?

I do a number of things, though I’m mostly an oil painter, fitting best into the category of fine artist, for lack of a better label. My work mostly centres on realistic renderings of people, often women, as portraits or in iconic positions. Juxtaposed to these figures are flat, two dimensional shapes, often in the form of orbs or halos or other ethereal-like designs. As well as using oil and acrylic paint, I also regularly incorporate gold leaf into my work. My paintings are a mix of surrealism, iconography and pop art. Additionally, I am a gilder, gold leafing walls and other surfaces as part of art installations for nightclubs and restaurants. On top of all that, I paint large-scale murals for hotels, restaurants and clubs, as well as in the streets for the general public. My artwork is for sale at a few different galleries, such as Station16 and Yves Laroche Gallery in Montreal, Hellion Gallery in Portland, OR, and occasionally at Ayden Gallery in Vancouver.

When did your practice as an artist begin?

I’ve always been interested in art, and thanks to Mr. Dress Up, Commander Mark and Bob Ross, have been painting and drawing since I was very young. I began my journey into making art my full time gig back in 2005.

Why do you feel compelled to create art?

Because it makes me feel good and I love spending time with myself creating beautiful things while listening to music. As time goes on, I also have more and more ideas and visuals that I feel need to be materialized.

What is your proudest accomplishment as an artist?

I’m not sure that I have any one accomplishment I am most proud of, but definitely have a bunch of small ones. One of my first big accomplishments was when I started painting full-time; doing that was a great leap of faith for me. After that I feel really good about having been in a couple of museum shows and having had the opportunity to paint murals in different spots around the world.

What improvement, alteration or innovation would you most like to see in the arts?

I’m not so sure. It would be great if it was easier for artists to pursue art as a career all while making a decent living, but I don’t know what would have to change to make that a reality.

Where do you feel the value lies in artistic collaboration?

It’s great jamming with other artists on collaborative pieces. I love meeting new artists, seeing how they work and learning from them, either directly or indirectly. It’s a great way to expand one’s horizons and most of the time, at least in my experience, it’s been loads of fun. It brings art communities closer together and when artists collaborate, they potentially end up creating work that is grander than something that any one artist could have done on his/her own.

What is next for you?

The plan is to keep painting canvases and walls. I’ll be part of a group show in New Jersey next month at Parlor Gallery. In the spring, I hope to make it out to L.A. to do some street art, then hopefully get some big walls up in Montreal this summer. Follow me on Instagram @kevinledo to see what I’m up to, or on any other social media that I frequent/infrequent. Thanks for the interview!

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You can check out Kevin’s paintings and time-lapse vids of some of his recent murals abroad at his site.