Los Angeles-based Artist Louis Carreon Reinvents the Classics with Religious Iconography
![Alt Text](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1610583212201-8VCADUPDPF4C0FHAV4KS/WhatsApp+Image+2020-12-10+at+2.55.42+PM+%281%29.jpeg) While names like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Bernini will remain forever hallowed by the art community, today, these illustrious names seem to live only in history books and across the walls of prominent museums around the world. With today’s generations gravitating toward modernity to ultimately move further and further away from history and any appreciation for the past, most Generation Zer’s and even some Millennials aren’t even familiar with the name Leonardo Da Vinci. But for one rising Los Angeles-based artist, reinventing some of art’s classics in order to maintain these great artists’ relevance has been the makeup of his work. Louis Carreon, a contemporary artist who was once a substance addicted felon that served a two-year federal prison sentence for drug crimes, managed to surface from a life of depravity to pursue a prosperous career as an artist. As a model of redemption himself, Carreon’s work echoes the tumultuous life he struggled to emerge from. Today, the narrative of Carreon’s work is carefully focused on reimagining the work of classic artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and more. Perhaps at first glance, the composition of some of his paintings would look more contemporary than anything; but after a closer examination, Carreon’s themes and values are a clear callback to a Baroque-like era charged with religious tones, or “religious iconography,” as he calls it. Though these themes may feel dated or archaic, their rhetoric is more relevant than ever as questions of religion, politics and life remain prevalent. Carreon hopes that his work will act as a vehicle to educate today’s young generations on classic artists and history.
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“I’m painting for the youth, for the future,” Carreon says. “Urban kids don’t know who Caravaggio is. You don’t know who Bernini is. Kids never learn about that. As time goes on, unless you go to museums, these artists will become irrelevant. I’m reintroducing and reeducating the younger generation with the classics by adding tools of the modern age.” After a decade of continued success and recognition in art, and establishing his artistic language, Carreon has seen the market value of his works increase manifold. Art commissions globally have resulted in a diverse array of buyers, from art curators, property developers, established art collectors, sports franchise owners, and hoteliers. Louis’ canvas art speaks to cultures and collectors around the world. His latest project, titled David Reincarnated, is a larger-than-life sized sculpture, modeled after Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s notorious statue of the Biblical David figure. While Bernini’s classic piece depicts a young David preparing to take on Goliath, Carreon’s David is a modern take on Biblical figure. The artist has called on Dr. Ori Z. Soltes a professor at Georgetown University with expertise in biblical narratives and art history, to collaborate in developing his narrative for David Reincarnated. Unlike Bernini’s David, Carreon poses modern questions with his depiction of David as the subject carries contemporary novelties like an iPhone and Glock in his two hands, a chain around his neck, a Rolex watch on his wrist, Nike Air Max sneakers on his feet and a backwards cap on his head. Surrounding Carreon’s David Reincarnated are other various items that are of clear indication to modern times. With a money counter, a skateboard and a Louis Vuitton duffle bag at his feet, Carreon curates a picture of David nuanced with modern references.
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"When Bryan Keene, the manuscripts curator of The Getty Center messages me saying, ‘I love that body of work,’ or when Dr. Soltes messages me about my paintings or uses my work in a lecture, that is where I get my fulfillment. That is what I am after,” Carreon says. With contemporary themes woven into a classic model of art, the overarching question Carreon poses is, who is your oppressor? For Bernini’s David, it was Goliath; for David Reincarnated, the oppressors are endless as Carreon highlights how society is inundated with power and progress with oppressors in the form of cash, technology, social media, status and materialism. The artist suggests that in a way, we are all David in some way or another, each with our own oppressor. “The modern David is in all of us,” Carreon says. “We all have to fight for our internal and external peace.” To learn more about Louis Carreon and David Reincarnated, visit his website or follow him on Instagram. Written by Magdalena Munao