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David “LEBO” Le Batard: All Eyes On Me

Written by  //  March 28, 2011  //  Art Category  //  No comments




Cuban American artist David “Lebo” Le Batard does not shy away from the public eye. He paints vibrant pieces of work, full of color on stage while a live audience waits in anticipation to see the finished product. Sometimes, the illustrator even incorporates his bright and bold color schemes with well-known music acts like the Beastie Boys, Sting, Willie Nelson, Arturo Sandoval and Wynton Marsalis. Lebo creates a concert of some sorts by combining two arts and inviting the public to watch the creativity in the making.

According to a Citylinkmix article, Lebo got the idea of incorporating music while he works, from several artists before his time like Michelangelo, who painted the Sistine Chapel while listening to a live orchestra and Denny Dent, a speed painter is known for producing paintings of rock stars as he listens to their music and holds several paint brushes in hand.

“I was like, ‘Man that’s a really cool way to make art that goes outside of the stodginess of the gallery system,” Lebo recalls in the article. “I’m sure there are a lot of artists who frown on it, but to me, art should be an egalitarian experience. I felt like [live painting] was a way to really introduce it to an audience and into a crowd. I like the solitary experience of creating work in the studio, but I like it a lot more when I can balance it with doing that stuff.”

The artist designs murals, paintings and sculptures. He refers to his work as “post modern cartoon expressionism.” According to the NY native’s website, he pulls ideas from several different places including film animators, editorial cartoonist and textbook illustrators.

“My aim in creating is to explore the purest, most spiritual elements of the arts and sciences (from astronomy to history, from music to physics) and to interpret them through the language of cartoons, giving them a unique and vibrant voice,” said Lebo.

LEBO custom work for Adidas Corp

“After all, cartoons are a primordial form of expression that has always combined images in order to tell stories. We have only to think of rock paintings, hieroglyphics or religious iconography for our proof. In reality, even when we look at Picasso’s work after 1905, it all becomes very hard edged yet organic. The very essence of cartooning,” he explains.

As a teen the illustrator would practice his drawing skills every night while listening to music by 2 Live Crew and Van Morrison on his walkman. Lebo said this process helped to “set the mood and create a tranquil environment,” while he worked on his artwork.

Lebo has made several accomplishments all surrounding his stellar art skills. He has extended his creativity to ESPN, Microsoft, Macy’s Department Store, Gibson Guitars and Google. Lebo has created children’s mannequins and produced artwork for the Latin Grammy Awards. He served as an art director for the Miami-based band the Spam Allstars for eight years and he has also designed a guest house for the NFL team the Miami Dolphins.

The illustrator has also partnered with a tile company based in Venice, Italy and created art for Damian Marley and Rapper Lil John.

Lebo developed a book about his life called “Inspired by the Beat.” The book includes details about his journey as an artist, from youth to adulthood and the music that inspired him. The book includes original water color designs signed by Lebo himself.

For more information:

-Jaya Franklin

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