Meet the fabulous still-life, super realistic compositions by LA-based artist Pedro Pedro. A master of composition, Pedro provides each piece as a dynamic interaction among the depicted objects. His undetectable stroke is a mix of hyper realistic detail and a life-giving, inner movement. Think 20th ce. cartoons embedded with contemporary objects like sunglasses, lighters, and, cutlery boards; all in brilliant color palettes. Throughout the interview, we found more about the artist’s upbringing, and his style.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, and when did art first enter your life?
I’m from a small town in Florida, art didn’t really enter my life until I left there. At around 18 I moved to Brooklyn. I lived and worked there as a painter and doing art assistant work for about ten years. Now for the past six years I’ve been living in Los Angeles working out of my garage studio.
Has your work always taken on the style it currently embodies?
I started out mostly painting figures but still lifes are much more interesting to me these days. Stylistically speaking, I would say that the work has remained somewhat exaggerative of whichever subject matter I’m depicting.
What is your process like? How do you begin a work?
I’ll start with a small sketch usually, then create a collage in photoshop based on that sketch. Then take that digital collage and start drawing the image on the linen canvas with chalk. From there I’ll start putting in the characters and background with “Jacquard dye na flow” a type of fabric paint that acts almost like a dye. Finally I’ll keep building up the starting with textile paint and acrylic till I feel it looks like it pops to me.
Walk us through a day in the studio.
For the show “Cantaloupe and Kokomo” at The Hole’s Tribeca location, I’ve changed my entire work routine. Previously I wouldn’t start till around noon and I’d work till about 2 or 3am. Now I’m waking up at 6am eating breakfast, taking vitamins, doing some yoga and exercise before I start.I’ll start at 9am looking at what i’m working on and having a first cigarette. I’ll paint till 10 or 11pm with lunch and dinner breaks.
From where do you draw inspiration?
I’ll draw inspiration from my routine of everyday life. I think for the new show I’ve noticed I’m drawing inspiration from the change of routine and the feeling of being comfortable with moving about more during the pandemic and post vaccination.
What can you tell us about the caricaturesque style of your work? How did you come to acquire that style?
I think I’ve always tended to exaggerate things that I’ve drawn or painted. So it felt pretty natural to animate the objects around me as a way to give them life.
What source material do you base your work off of?
Junk mail like the grocery store newsletters have such great fruit compositions in them. Also objects in my kitchen, home and studio are source material, I’m always looking for it.
Does your work reference any art historical movements?
I’ve been looking at a lot of Theorem paintings, also Flemish still lifes from the 1600s, Botero still lifes from the 70s, Moise kisling still lifes and Giovanna garzoni.
Now that things are starting to open up again, what’s next for you?
I’ll be taking my first flight since the pandemic to New York for my show at The Hole. It will be my second solo exhibition with The Hole since the pandemic began.
At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work
you’d like us to interview next. Who would you recommend?
Samantha Rosenwald and Mark Posey.