Louis Carreon tells us about the works that inspire him

by Amy Marie Slocum

Thursday, May 18th, Hamilton Selway Gallery is set to present Louis Carreon’s solo exhibition No Unsolicited Submissions.

Carreon is a California native and a contemporary artist taking on a personal mission to change the way art is perceived. Carreon started his career in the streets of L.A. with nothing but a spray can in hand and the city as his canvas. Today Carreon is considered one of the originators of turning “street art” into a fine art craft. He has been commissioned by some of the most recognized venues throughout the U.S. including the SoHO house and has even painted the Stanley Cup for the championship team. Carreon’s art can be found on landmark buildings all over the world and in the homes of celebrities such as Aaron Paul.

Carreon’s upcoming show No Unsolicited Submissions will contain more than twenty multi-medium canvas and paper pieces, the majority of which are being debuted for the first time. He says his inspiration for the name comes from the phrase he most often receives when reaching out to a gallery or museum to introduce his work. Carreon describes the emailing process as “the barbed wire to a particular circle of decision makers. The email[s] that can make artists feel as though they have no resources. The access point to the non-accessible has been cracked with social media,” he says. “All middle men get middled eventually. “No Unsolicited Submissions,” is the fuel for a new movement a movement of revolution and freedom. What art is supposed to be.”

We asked Carreon what were some pieces that influenced him as an artist. 

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"Another artistic Idol of mine is Stanley Miller (Stanley Mouse), the Creator of the Grateful Dead skulls and roses logo.  Grateful Dead posters were the first things I saw that were related to a band I was obsessed with. So naturally I gravitated towards looking at the skulls and all the meetings  and the artists that were making these posters in the sixties and seventies .  This was guerrilla tactics marketing . The Grateful Dead in these posters were a major inspiration for me to pick up the pen and try to emulate these artists and it really shows  and the work I create today . When I dropped out of high school to travel on the road with the Grateful Dead the band's art was everything I first tried to emulate. Most of the Dead's concert poster branding featured Miller's artwork. Drawing skulls and roses and wearing the t-shirts was more than just art, it was living a fantasy."

Jean-Michel Basquiat. "Scull" (1981). Acrylic, crayon, canvas. 175.9 x 207 cm. Courtesy the Broad, Los Angeles.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. "Scull" (1981). Acrylic, crayon, canvas. 175.9 x 207 cm. Courtesy the Broad, Los Angeles.

"Freedom is something that I learned from Basquiat. I didn't have to draw realism, I could draw like a kid. Basquiat becoming a famous artist is one of the reasons I believed I could paint. He carved a way for Street-educated artists. I've always adored admired his freedom and because I'm a recovering drug addict I wanted to continue painting in his vein. I respect how Basquiat took painting, sculptures, and pieces of time and recreated them with his own dialogue. This is necessary to make contemporary statement and as an American painter I aim to do the same. Some people say my stuff has a Basquiat feel, some people don't like it and some people do. I take it as a compliment, I love my idols."

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"Chaka was one of the first artist to ever inspire me. Chaka showed me that with vandalism you could get out of your local neighborhood and you could force people to see your art. Being a young artist learning the roots of graffiti and wishing I could get out of where I was and take the bus places to put my name around the streets. He showed me that anyone could achieve fame. We never knew who Chaka was till later in life but at that time it was just a name and he was all over the streets the freeways and the Highways. He had Straight Street Fame and as a young artist I was in high school thinking wow this guy has fame for doing vandalism. He didn't need a gallery the streets were his gallery that's where he got his recognition. And who cares what the upper echelon thinks? At that time in life and even now the Street is where you want respect from, it's where I've always wanted my to come from.  Chaka was the voice of the youth, he was the voice of the ghetto."

No Unsolicited Submissions will be debuting in Los Angeles from 6-9 pm on May 18th at renowned Los Angeles Gallery Hamilton Selway.

Written by Eva Barragan