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Artist Lou Pimentel Gives New Meaning To Shoes

Submitted by on December 17, 2012 – 4:40 pmOne Comment

The WWA Gallery in California just held a show called “We Are Who We Pretend to Be,” featuring ten extremely talented artists. Among those talents was Lou Pimentel, a humble and gifted illustrator based out of Brooklyn, New York. I had the opportunity to pick his brain about his amazing work for this show.

“I felt shoes represented the theme well,” said Lou. “I imagined a kid putting on a pair of Jordan’s and thinking that they were him on the court.”

“So with the ballerina shoes, I pictured a very talented woman, that was pushed to pursue her dance career because she was good at it, but what if she really wanted to be an astronaut?”

“Jimmy Choos are very expensive shoes, and I imagined a not so wealthy person that saved up for a long time, just to pretend that she could afford it. I’ve seen it so many times, people living outside of their means, just to create an image.”

“I painted the Chucks and those Brownish Dunks, because I own them lol. I like to setup my own models and take my own reference shots, just so I can get the lighting the way I want.”

Q: When and how did you discover your talents in art?
A: I started drawing at around four years old, my dad taught me how to draw fish, and that was all it took. In first grade, I won a school wide competition, drawing a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King. My drawing was hung at our local McDonalds, and my family and I got to eat under my drawing. It was a very proud moment for me.

Q: Your perception and technique is amazing, is this something you learned from schooling or was it self-taught?
A: School definitely played a big role in my current style. At the School of Visual Arts, I studied under amazing professors, and experimented with different mediums, but it wasn’t until after graduation that I found myself. It took a while of just doing my own things, to find my own voice, but the birth of my daughter made the biggest impact. I didn’t have a studio at the time, and since I was working from home, and predominantly in oil paint, I had to find a safer medium. I did not want her exposed to the solvents and mediums I was using at the time, so I decided to give watercolors a try, and I felt at home after the first stroke. With oil paint I felt constricted and ridged, but with watercolors I am much looser, and enjoy bringing something to life out of the chaos. Graffiti has been a huge inspiration since moving to NY in 1984, and I feel my current style is tapping into that, with the drips and splatters.

Q: Every artist has their one “secret weapon,” or tool of choice, what is yours and why?
A: My secret weapon is my wife, she is my biggest fan, and my harshest critic, which is extremely important. After staring at a painting for hours, our eyes tend to make corrections, so it gets hard to be objective and see the flaws. This is where my wife comes in, she keeps me grounded, and points out things I might not see at the moment.

Q: What is the most gratifying thing or feeling you get from your art?
A: The most gratifying thing about art making is being able to connect with people that appreciate the things that I am passionate about. I’ve made some amazing friendships through my art.

Q: It’s not easy making a living as an artist and many, like myself, are discouraged to continue art when knowing that the struggle is tough. What would you say to those people?
A: The life of an artists is not an easy one. It’s not like having a steady nine-to-five, where you know exactly how much money you would make each month, so splurging is not an option. Putting money aside for the rainy days is crucial. During my teen years my parents gave me such a hard time when they saw me drawing or painting, to them it would not pay the bills, and pushed for me to pursue more lucrative fields of study. It got to a point where I just stopped making art. Years later, I found myself providing technical support for the fashion industry. I was making decent money, but I was miserable, and thankfully, due to corporate restructuring, I was laid off. At that point I was tired of killing myself for others and became my own boss. Yes, the hours are longer, the pay is less, but I an truly happy to be doing what I love, and you can’t put a price on that.

Q: Tell us about your upcoming projects and shows.
A: 2013 is going to be a busy year. I have a big solo show at Art Whino in August, MyPlasticHeart and I will be releasing more colors of my Junior figure, I have a bunch of group shows, and I’m in talks with a big company about doing some promo art for them.

Visit Lou Pimentel’s website and join his mailing list: www.lou-pimentel.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LouPimentel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lou.pimentel
Instagram: LouPimentel
Official online store: lou.bigcartel.com

Lou at the New York Comic Con 2012:

Other paintings by Lou:

*All images courtesy of Lou Pimentel.

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