Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ludo Interview & Solo Show "Fruit of the Doom" @ Jonathan Levine Gallery, NYC


French street artist Ludo took some time to answer some questions about art, music, and his solo show "Fruit of the Doom" on display @ Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC (open until March 22nd).

Ludo who is best known for his trademark black, white, and green color palette creates art which deals with current societal issues. This trend is continued in his amazing solo show at JLG in NYC.






Here is what Ludo had to say about art, music, and inspiration:

The press release for your JLG show entitled “Fruit of the Doom” credits your inspiration for the show as combining fruits & vegetables with various types of weaponry to convey an assortment of issues facing contemporary society.  In particular GMO’s seem to be a theme.  Which contemporary issues in particular are you concerned about?  Does the creation of your art help you deal with your concerns?

Yes definitely, 80%of my work is a reaction/discussion about what surrounds me (the other 20% is more into a digestion of my own culture, what I grew up with). What's important for me is to create a discussion with a viewer, I'm not at all into decorative big ego mural things but much more into clever interactive ideas.
I'm mostly concerned about respect, how we deal with the idea of respect from our neighbour to other culture, and nature of course. I think it's the basis of everything. The GMO, environment, ecological idea seems a bit lazy. Obviously my work is based on nature Vs human made techno/concepts, that's my tools to express myself, but from that, just one dialogue about environment is not what I want to offer.
I'm inspired by the violence of our everyday life, the brutality of what's visually surrounds us, the faded hopes, the sarcastic happiness,... .


All the pieces in the show are derived from your trademark black, white, & green color palette.  How long has this been your style?  What is the origin of the color combo?  Are you planning to change it up in the future?

Well it's started black and white then evolved with the green. I'm not thinking about colours like the usual way but for me it's like a stabilo marker, I like to highlight, give clues. Or just create a balance. But again I don't use the colour with the idea of a reproduction. I created my own green colour, mix of different, like the blue Klein so I'm not planning to change at all. Much more going abstract and radical that evolving into more colours.



Your show at JLG has been an amazing success (from what I have been told every piece is sold except for the giant sculpture).  Are you surprised that the pieces sold so quickly with a price tag of $20-50K (Congratulations on this by the way!)?  Do you think the urban/street art market is at an all time high right now?  Will the bubble burst?

thank you!
I think a lot of things already changed from 8/7 years ago already actually. But I'm def not an expert to speak about that, and it's not my business to speak about others, and I don't care honestly. I just feel the urban thing is not an excuse any more to be relevant, the work has to offer much more than the usual same stuff than outside put on cardboard...I hope...
I can say that I'm working hard, going ballsy, putting a lot of me and trying to evolve on every show I do (and this means a lot for me). I won't say a surprise, but for sure I was happy to hear that real big collectors felt the works and were ready to support. And for a first solo in NYC, that was just awesome.


Personally I greatly enjoyed viewing your JLG show.  How did the show come to be?  How long was the preparation?

thank you, I really appreciate.
It's maybe the more personal show I did, like what I'm showing is really something about me, my life, my long time inspirations and culture. I felt more maturity.
It's not what you see is what you get but what you see is what I am...
I started to work on the show when I came back from the states last summer, so it's been from september to february working hard.



Growing up in Paris and studying in Milan who are your biggest influences (this does not have to be visual artists)?  Have you had the honor of meeting/working with any of them?

My biggest influences, and this is becoming more and more real every days, are the people who have the balls to show something they have the maturity to explain and fight for.
To give names, I've always been into Gerhard Richter abstract and realistic oil paintings. Also been looking at Fontana a lot and the new abstract scene with David Ostrowski for example.

Also I have a lot of influence coming from the music. I'm often more touched by a sound than an image. People like Radiohead are just huge for me.



How long were you in NYC?  Did you enjoy your time here?  Did you have any interesting NY moments?  Any plans to be back in the near future?

I stayed around 15 days in NYC this time. First time I have the snow experience, insane....we don't go that extreme in France.
Met a lot of people but mostly enjoyed simply being in NYC. I love the city and the vibes, the energy is intense. I actually never expect something when I come but each day is just full and different.
Of course the soonest I come back the best it is.


How does the current street art scene in Paris compare to that on NYC?

Well Paris is very different from NYC. I have a huge respect for all writers in NYC going out illegally knowing how strong are laws and stuff. I've been arrested a few times in the states and it's such a nightmare... In Paris, talking for me of course, it's still a bit more friendly, at least you won't have your ass beaten and you can speak.




My background is mostly in music, and as such I am constantly listening to music of all kinds as I work (even drafting legal documents).  Do you listen to music as you work?  If so what and when do you prefer to listen to?

Of course, music is part of my life.
Kendrick Lamar used once this great Dash Snow interview for a mix:
".....- what keeps me alive, shit. Music, I have to listen to music all day long. I'd say that keeps me going. I’m a pretty dark person, I’ve though about ending it a million times. And I have to say that music keeps me here, by far, the main thing."
I have a lot of inspiration from all kind of music, most of my pieces titles and show titles come from music.


Are there any contemporary artists who are influencing you?  Any up and coming artists we should keep an eye out for?

Again the guys that have the maturity to just say: "this is what I want to show visually, spilling my guts out  and I have the balls to have a real discussion and explanation to defend my work". The people that creates interaction, respect the viewer by the idea of connection,... .



What can we expect from Ludo in the rest of 2014?

The more important, I mean the one I'm already working on is my next solo show at Lazarides London this october. Then I have some different projects and travels that I will keep secret for now.
Also a big thing for early 2015 that I'll be very proud of...but it's too early to speak about....


 Is there anything you would like to talk about we have not discussed ; )

nope


If I take a trip to Paris can I visit your studio??  I really need an excuse to go back to Paris…it’s been 15 years

You bring the good music and I'll open a good bottle.



Check out Ludo's solo show "Fruit of the Doom" @ Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC now through March 22nd.  Pretty amazing stuff... a must see!!

Author: Matthew A. Eller
All Photos & Text Copyright Matthew A. Eller 2014

Twitter: @ellerlawfirm
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