You’ve been described as an artist from NYC and the Catskills? Which part of you lives in the City? And which part dwells in the mountains?
The part that lives in the city is the ambitious, energetic, chaotic and business side that absorbs the city’s energy on all levels. The city is a place that gives me hope to survive in the art world. I see millions of people that have millions of walls that need art on them. I think to myself often, how will I reach all of them to see my art!?
The part of me that dwells in the Catskills is the focused, calm and productive side. I take all the city’s energy and channel it into my work here in the hills. I also think about what to paint when I mow my lawn for hours on the John Deere sipping on a beer.
How long have you been connected with the local area?
My family has owned property here since the late eighties. I have memories being in the Catskill Mountains from a very young age, such as learning how to ski when I was three years old at Hunter Mountain in 1980.
We’ve heard that you were the featured artist at last year’s Mountain Jam? How did that happen and what was that like?
Yes, I was the featured artist two years in a row now, 2013 and 2014. It’s so much fun to be part of a big music festival for 4 days that continues to grow every year. Art and music is a perfect marriage. When fans look at my Mountain Jam painting “ Fountain of Youth” or “Music Maker”, I want them to hear the music and feel their experience at the festival through my painting.
Like everything in life, it happened because of connections and always promoting my work where ever I may be. Specifically, connections made through my love for snowboarding. I met one of the organizers snowboarding at Hunter Mountain. One chairlift ride up to the top with a couple turns down the mountain ending at the lodge and I became the featured artist for Mountain Jam.
We’ve also heard that you lit up a huge LED sign in Times Square. What was that like? And why did you do it?
I lit up five huge LED signs. The entire experience can be summed up in one word, “SURREAL”. I felt such a great feeling of career accomplishment seeing my logo and art rotating on the huge prime video screens on Broadway and 43rd street. After all the years working hard to get “out there” as an artist, It felt as if I conquered New York City.
I was able to light up the billboards with my work because of a private corporate event that showcased my paintings. They had access to the billboards and thought it would be cool to have the art rotating on the screens during the party. Since the views from the company’s offices look directly down at the screens, they thought it would compliment the show. I strongly agreed!
You’ve described yourself as a neo-cubist? What does that mean?
That’s always my first response when someone asks me to describe my style, but, honestly, I don’t know really what that means. I am a new and some what young artist that lives in the 21st century creating artwork that is reminiscent of cubism, so neo-cubist sounds like the right thing to say. All I know is that I am heavily influenced by surrealism, cubism, futurism, abstract expressionism, graffiti, cartoon and low brow art, but if you try to pin down my style, I don’t think it is possible. I guess that is what makes it unique. My work is a mash up of all different styles and techniques. I was intensely thinking during my years of art studies how I can be different from all the other extremely talented artists in my program. How do I create a style that is almost instantly recognizable as Laroux. Almost like branding, I guess business school influenced me a little bit before I attended art school at Parsons!
Who are your favorite artists?
I have a long list, but Picasso is definitely at the top of my list, not only for his art accomplishments but his business savvy. Murakami and Jeff Koons are up there too on the favorite living artists list.
What do you hope to accomplish with your art?
On a basic level, I simply want to entertain people. I want my work to heal people, create a sense of awe or just put a smile on one’s face. I want walls in people’s home to come alive and stimulate imagination. As my career progresses, I want to accomplish refining my artwork and push my talent and creativity to the very max. It would be great to accomplish immortality which sounds extremely artsy fartsy. But, when I physically leave this planet, I would love for my paintings to live on and continue to inspire, stimulate, entertain and heal for eternity.
Your imagery is highly imaginative. What are the sources of that imagery?
My mind is continually bombarded by images and scenes that seem to rise from some creative abyss deep in my brain that also simultaneously distorts the imagery from my regular life. As an artist, you simply look at the world differently. I like to do a lot of things other than sitting for hours working on artwork. Such as snowboarding, running, working out, riding motorcycles, watching TV shows about aliens, learning about the cosmos, science and technology and the list goes on. If you don’t live life and continuously learn new things, how can you create?
Does Freud have anything to do with your imagery? That is, do you ever think of analyzing it? If so, what do you think it says about you?
No. I don’t analyze my artwork, I just make it. I would like to imagine that when people see my work they think of a dude that is very serious about making awesome paintings for people to enjoy! They also might think I am completely nuts and use lots of drugs, But I am not and I don’t.
Color and shape seem to play such a huge part in your work. Is that a Cubist thing or just your thing?
Many people will be shocked to learn that I am very color blind, specifically with red and green colors but it seems to effect all my colors. I DO see colors, but I severely fail the color blind test book with the dots that make up numbers and letters. Some say that my color blindness leads to the intense and vibrant colors in my work. I just like colors to blast of the wall, so I think its just my own thing.
The shapes I create play with the extremely important balancing act in my work. I strive to have everything very balanced with smooth line work juxtaposed with cubistic grids.
Where do you see yourself as an artist ten years from now?
I hope to continue to progress my style and gain millions of LAROUXart collectors and fans from around the world. I have a bucket list that I am slowly checking off ,Times Square was one of them.
Are you a modernist or a post-modernist? Or don’t you think about things like that in terms of your work?
Shoot, I have to look those terms up again to refresh my memory. I am a magician. Haha Honestly, I don’t ever think of things like that. I just work hard to make beautiful paintings that try to grab peoples’ attention and make them think.
Is it fun to be an artist?
Being an artist in general, yes of course!
Trying to be a professional working artist, ABSOLUTELY NOT!
It has been a crazy experience, an emotional and financial roller coaster ride that creates a seriously unstable life with many compromises. BUT, when all the stars align after years of hard work and I get a cool commission, big sale or have a successful show, then the high is bigger than anything on earth. This temporary high propels me forward to create more art, set ambitious goals and gives me new energy in order to continue chasing the dream of making art for a living.