I was surprised to learn that Carlos Agrillo had made the decision within the last year to make art the main emphasis of his life, having made the devotion to solely making a living through his art. Such a decision does not come easily, and as Carlos himself says, “You’ve got to be ok to fail”. Prioritizing what it is you want in your life can not only be daunting but also pretty scary. I guess once you sort out what really matters to you most and align your life accordingly the rest will follow, right? Surprisingly enough, I can see how the thought of living a life without having ever tried becomes far scarier in the end. Carlos shared with me his take on art, and his experience with this transition into dedicating his life to his work.
What personal significance, if any, does the show’s title have for you?
For me, to be honest, not a whole lot. The guys came up with it and I’m kinda like the free floating guy, I’m totally down for whatever they come up with. I really liked it and the meaning to it, so when they pitched the idea, I was all for it.
As far as your paintings, the imagery and the layouts, you do a lot of portraits… is that your main focus? …or is that just where you’re at right now?
It’s just where I’m at right now. I’m always into transitioning. I do like portraits, to capture the essence of a photo of someone. Like, if you know somebody and if you get it wrong it’s an instant “that‘s wrong”… so when I feel it and it’s dead on I’m like “yeaah.. Sweet!” You can tell it‘s that person. The color scheme I run, that I’m on right now, is what I’m comfortable with. I actually started out painting my English Bulldog, and then everyone blew up on it, and with the color scheme it almost had a third dimension to it, but it’s not like pop art… and I just started running with it like crazy.
Well they’re very striking images.
Typically when you work does your style play onto the next style you’re interested in or is it more of you get this “ah ha” moment?
I got this transition where my work was almost not mixed at all, then I started blending it. It’s definitely a huge transition into what the next piece is going to be. I’m always trying to out do the last piece.
Have you done any collaborative pieces?
No, not yet. I’m pretty new to this whole thing. Well, I’ve always done art, but I never took it seriously till last year. I really pushed to do the best I can… and to see what I can do in a year… and I was pretty surprised by what I could actually do in a year.
Did you have a goal for yourself?
Yea, it was to make a living and just paint… and I did it, for the most part. I started stepping back, because it’s still really hard because you’re constantly hustling, and you’re constantly doing jobs you don’t really want to do, but you need to make money… so there’s a balance between giving up some of your freedom, or your soul I guess, to paint a portrait you don’t really want to paint… but you know it’ll make you money. That’s kind of where it’s at. But I told myself I was going to make a living… so I just did it.
Wow, I definitely admire that. Not a lot of people have that ability to just go with it.
You’ve got to be ok to fail. I think is what’s the key. To be ok to just jump back into it.
Your ‘Art by Los’ and your signature, is that simply a shortened Carlos, or is there something else? Where did that come from?
A long story short… one of my mentors and one of the people I look up to, my friend, Ian Ameling, a painter an artist… he more into the street, I used to love it because he would sign his stuff just Ian… it was just three letters and it looked cool, and I thought “I’m totally stealing that.” The only one nickname I’ve ever had in my whole life was people would call me Los, short for Carlos, and I was like “cool, I‘m just going to run with this.” That’s pretty much how it was started. I really like aesthetically how it looked. Normally when people sign the front of a painting, I think it takes away from it, but this in a way adds to it.
Yea it almost seems in a way like the red stamps on Japanese paintings, where it would show the transfer of owners, and it adds to the work in it’s simplicity and beauty.
No totally, that’s what I was going for. I have a background in 3D animation and design. A lot of my work has that design element to it and I wanted something that would look good when I signed the front of it. Writing Carlos Agrillo is just… kinda…. Blahh…
Yea, it’s definitely intriguing.
So as far as artistic inspiration, who or what inspires you?
It’s kind of like a collective thing to be honest, I’ve always dabbled here and there, never really took it that serious. It literally started with that painting of my Bull Dog, I’m not even kidding… and I painted it for me and I love my dog and all of a sudden everyone’s like “paint my dog!” I’m like “Oh God, maybe I should start doing something different” (laughs)
You didn’t want to become that PaintMyDog.com guy? (laughs)
Yea, exactly (laughs) I love painting, but I don’t want to be painting pooches all day. So then I started thinking, “what do I love?” …and that’s a question that everyone really asks themselves. I like old movies, I’m really into 80’s theme stuff, so I just started picking things out of my life that started representing me, and so every painting kind of has a tie into me.
And it helps you get that energy to get it out…
Yea, and it’s all over the place too. I have a Lil Wayne that a lot of people don’t like. I just thought it was interesting and fun. I was like “It‘d be really difficult to paint his whole tattooed body”… so I thought, “I‘ll give it a shot” …and I had a lot of fun with it. He’s got a lot of character, and I’m definitely for that. Like Iggy Pop is another one of my favorite paintings, because he looks so weathered and has so much character and I loved his music growing up for the most part, so I thought, “Iggy Pop is badass.”
You certainly capture, in the simplicity of your paintings, the uniqueness and beauty of in an individual.
I try to have some realism, but I don’t want to go full board, I like to have my own style I guess… and I found it in a year, I don’t know how… and it’s still changing, but for now… I’ve got that.
Last modified on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 23:47
Check out more of Carlos’s art on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ArtbyLos