Pedro Pedro and his Vibrant Still Life Portraits
Teaser Preview: Conor Harrington's "When the Ship Goes Down" @ CONTROL Gallery, Los Angeles
We have always been drawn to Pedro Pedro's pure and guileless way of depicting objects, people, and scenes from memory. Combining a loose approach and vibrant colors to depict depth and space, the LA-based artist's latest work steps away from human figures and comfortably nestles in the realm of still-life. Almost five years have passed since we last featured his more grotesque mise en scène, so we figured it's about time to touch base, get a peek inside his studio, and see what's new.
Sasha Bogojev: What is with the still lifes these days?
Pedro Pedro: I think you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their possessions. Examining my own helps me understand a little more about myself.
Yeah, it seems like your favorite motifs are your simple surroundings. Do you intervene much with the items referenced?
I interfere with most of my references daily, whether I see them in my studio, on my bed, In a drawer, on a chair, in a book or in the trash.
Also, it's been a while since you included figures in your work. Are they no longer invited?
The figures are just making cameos at the moment, or they're being described through belongings, but nothing figurative is out of the picture for good.
One thing that connects the old works with the new is that the perspectives are continuously and evenly out of balance. Is this something you're consciously adjusting?
I enjoy perspectives to look exactly how I would remember them, whether a split-second glance or the drunken encounter.
They feel like a parody of classical still lifes. Am I far off?
I would say they're parodies of still life painting in general.
Tabletops seem to be a recurring motif in your work. Do you have a special connection to wood grain?
I mostly use the tabletops as a type of pedestal for the objects, and I use the wood grain as a compositional element for the paintings. The wood grain pattern, to me, becomes a sort of static backdrop.
There's a discernible comic aesthetic throughout your work. Is this something you connect with?
I'm really only trying to paint the work as I see it in my head, which tends to put a more exaggerated filter on the subjects.
Who would you name as a direct influence to the look of your work?
Lately, I've been influenced by the junk mail I receive from convenience stores. You know those big packets of coupons you get in the mail? I feel like there are a lot of great ideas in there.
The colors you use are so electrifying. Do you make up your own, or do you try to stick to the reference?
The vibrancy makes the objects in the painting jump at you. Nothing I paint is stuck to a particular reference; I'm only using the reference as a starting off point.
Why do you use textile paint for your work?
I feel the textile paint makes an extremely vibrant color on raw linen. It also soaks into the fabric more than a traditional acrylic and has less of a plastic feel.
Have you used other techniques and how did those influence the result?
I'm always looking for the proper mix of techniques and materials to get a particular result. The paintings can feel lighter or heavier, or more glossy or matte to me, depending on the choices I make.
What type of work are you currently working on, and where and when will it be exhibited?
I just finished a new painting titled Bouquet Of Flowers With Paint Tube, Lighter and Toenail Clippers and Palette With Coffee Mug Of Wine. I currently have a piece on linen in a group show at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco that will be on view through late July. Then, I have a few larger paper pieces exhibited in a group show at The Hole NYC from July 10th through August 20th, 2019.