In Conversation with Globally Renowned Artist, Felipe Pantone

Art world phenomenon Felipe Pantone is constantly on the move. Already a budding rebel when, aged 10, he arrived in Spain from his native Buenos Aires, he moved from streetwise experiments in graffiti to forging his own path at the intersection of vintage typography, optical art and kinetics. His visual language resonates in a collision of mesmerizing color, bold graphics and 3D illusions, while his technique explores an appreciation of history that is constantly being transformed by forward-looking technology.

Felipe Pantone

That Felipe Pantone achieved star status without ever publicly revealing his face makes him an exception on the contemporary art scene. Moreover, letting his art speak for itself grants him the ultimate freedom: the entire world has become his canvas.

The artist flows through time zones and mediums with the greatest of ease, leaving his mark on top art destinations and seemingly arbitrary, unexpected places alike. One might see Felipe Pantone’s signature blend of vibrant color and dynamic lines in museum exhibitions and on buildings from New York, Madrid and Paris to Bangkok, Shanghai or Tokyo, glimpse them in forgotten corners of urban cityscapes, or spy them as embellishments on a subway station or a racecar.

Hennessy Very Special by Felipe Pantone

Though he stands at the forefront of the contemporary art scene, Felipe Pantone cultivates a deep appreciation for the past. That understanding and respect form the baseline for the two original artworks he created for the Maison Hennessy.

In Conversation with Felipe Pantone begins now…

ALM: What do the different people you meet find the most surprising about you when they meet You?

FP: I really don’t know I guess you have to ask them, I never ask that question to anybody I’m sorry I don’t have an answer for that.

ALM: Regardless of the medium what are the 3 things that inspire your art?

FP: The medium doesn’t necessarily affect the art too much I guess as the word says it’s a medium to represent ideas. So the main things I always try to reflect in my work to convey is transformation, dynamism. In general I would say an idea of present times I mean what I gather from living the times I’m living those are the main things. I think art always could be a good representation from whatever the artist is living in other to be honest and speak about that and the medium is just whatever you use so you select the best medium to represent the ideas in the best way possible.

ALM: What medium are you itching to get your hands on?

FP: I use a variety of mediums and I started doing graffiti on the streets so spray paint is very important to me like I think it’s a really really cool tool. It’s very versatile tool I actually use it nowadays to paint my paintings which is obviously small sizes and you use the same tool on really massive buildings so its very versatile and nowadays i try to keep an eye open and try to find new technologies whatever is coming out I try it now I experiment alot with printers and laser cutter and cnc cutters and instead of painting on canvass I’m painting on aluminium. And stuff like that. I’m always trying to keep an open mind in other to break new grounds and one of the things I’m exploring nowadays is a lot of digital art things.

In fact here in Nigeria with us is Russendo Merrel whose a collaborator of my studio and with him he’s like a next level geek, he’s always going to every sort of conventions and trying to find new things that are coming out infact we are presenting here in Nigeria an interactive wall which is something! It’s a new sensor that came out that you can basically turn whatever wall up to 10 metres in a touch screen and that’s something that he developed he just got his hand on the sensor and he developed the whole software for us to create something interactive with it so that’s mediums that I’m really interested in.

ALM: How do you like people to feel when they see your art?

FP: I try my best to get them a feeling of the way I perceive the present times from my personal perspective which i don’t know if its i hope it’s interesting for people but you never know but anyways it’s my own perspective. It’s the perspective from someone that’s constantly traveling the world. I’m talking to different cultures. I’m in touch with different countries and I think I’m also a part of the generation that belongs to ‘I was born in the local world and I made a transition to the digital world’ and I think I kind of like manage to do the transition in a smooth way and I’m very comfortable with what’s happening nowadays. I try my work to represent that you know to represent new technologies, new digital revolutions. The fact that i believe the people that share this with me are connected I think nowadays there are no barriers in terms of location or geography . I think there are barrier in the terms of generation, generational barriers but the thing is we are all connected. Nowadays maybe I have more to do with a gal, a street artist in LAGOS and i might have more to do with a man that is fisherman in Valencia like now we can be connected and work together in pursuit of the same things we want to achieve.

Hennessy Very Special by Felipe Pantone

And I try my best to represent that with my work although you never know what your going to get it just makes me really happy when a young person looks at My work and there like it doesn’t say too much, it doesn’t overwhelm me but when my grandma looks at my stuff and says she can’t really look at it and says it’s too much information and she really can’t look at that and that to me makes a lot of sense. That’s exactly what i want to achieve.

ALM: If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?

FP: I would probably be an uber driver *laughs*, but I couldn’t do anything else. No, I have never tried anything else as I started doing graffiti when I was 12 and I never stopped ever since and then I went to art school and then very smoothly I transitioned into art but I mean in fact I think I could make music but I just literally don’t have time. Maybe in a different lifetime I’m too focused in what I’m doing…. I’m too invested in what I do right now.

Art has taken this lifetime.

ALM: What are the 3 misconceptions about what you do?

FP: I wouldn’t say there’s any. I would say my work since its abstract the meaning is not really clear it can be blurry and I’m happy with that. I’m not trying to impose like a direct order or convey a direct message, it’s very indirect, it’s very loose, its very blurry, it’s just that whatever you perceive from my work and I’m very happy for you to feel that. Abstract art I obviously select my elements and the composition also have a meaning or like I say I try to put meaning in my work it’s always very loose but like I said again I’m happy for you to feel whatever you feel like. No misconceptions whatsoever, everything works.

ALM: Describe a typical day in your life?

FP: I’m usually on a plane but when I’m at home or in the studio.. when I’m in the studio
I wake up in the morning we have a very organised studio setup it’s basically we do like office hours. 
Because I have a team. So you have to be organised for them to do their hours. So I wake up in the morning and I go to the studio and we work 9-6 and then I go to the gym in the evening or do something to stay healthy or maybe go to the beach but I’m always thinking about art that’s for sure but the rest of the studio they can go and rest I on the other hand I’m always thinking about my work. 

ALM: What artists inspire you?

FP: I started doing graffiti like I told you at age 12 so yes the modern New York graffiti scene has always been a big inspiration to me. I think graffiti is the ultimate representation of what’s happening nowadays, it’s very direct very immediate, anyone can do it. 
I always say graffiti to art is like Twitter to newspapers. Everyone can do it it’s like disposable, ephemeral very immediate anyone can write it. So thats been a big inspiration i feel its very CONTEMPORARY graffiti could only belong to this very century.
But as I grew older I started looking at kinetic art and optical art and I would say Carlos Cruz Diaz who sadly passed away literally like 3 days ago he’s been a massive inspiration to me and other than him minimal art, kinetic, optical art and nowadays digital art and all these are always very inspiring.

ALM: What do you do when you get into an ‘Artist Drought’?

FP: There’s is this Japanese novelist Haruki Wurakami who only writes novels except for one essay and he has only one essay and it’s titled “what i talk about when i talk about running” he basically tells a story about him been a novelist and also a long distance runner. He says for me as a runner I’m not a long legged Jamaican runner, I’m a short Japanese long distànce runner.
So meaning I have short legs but they run every day and I can run a lot. As he says as an artist I’m the same – I’m a short legged Japanese runner, meaning I work everyday so I’m never uninspired I don’t need to have long legs and wait for the muses to come visit. I just train hard everyday so I’m always inspired and I feel very much connected to that thing. I work a lot so I always know how to start a new novel.

ALM: Have you been to Africa before now?

FP: This is my second time in AFRICA but I’ve only been to North Africa, Morocco so it’s my first time up in here so I will say this is my favourite city now.

ALM: What do you think about Nigeria?

FP: Honestly I can’t give an opinion. I don’t have an informed opinion I have just been here for 24 hours and the past 12 hours it was dark and I’ve been sleeping but I’m loving it so far 

ALM: What will be difficult to forget about Nigeria?

FP: People are being really friendly right now I have been here for such a short time.
I’m looking forward to meeting new people and getting inspired. As an artist or for anybody I think it’s good to be inspired, it’s good to get things thrown in your face that you were not expecting.

ALM: What are you looking forward to on this trip?

FP: To be out of the comfort zone is always interesting. To see how other people do things is always inspiring. I’m looking forward to that

ALM: How do you think this new bottle design speaks to both young and old?

FP: Like i said earlier my work speaks a lot to my generation but I feel this is the whole thing about our whole motto which is to remix the present. In order to do that you have to look back and basically when I went to archives in Cognac I looked at the old graphic design and the whole thing and I came up with this design that takes a lot from tradition you know how Hennessy very special was called Hennessy three stars I got the 3 stars, I made use of the quilted pattern which is every where on the old work is in the current design. There’s a lot of the past in this work/orthodox even though its very modern work. I think in order for you to create the New, you must look at the past. I think in order to thrive in the arts is to look at the past and then remix the whole thing which is what I think Hennessy is always doing cause they are always making new cocktails so I believe to create new art you must look at the old traditions and customs. In other to be modern and unusual you have to look at what’s been done before. 

ALM: What would you tell your 25 yer old self?

FP: Like Hennessy says ‘Never stop Never settle’ always keep an open mind and always take risks, get out of your comfort zone. Success to me is to remain unsuccessful. Always keep looking, if you get comfortable its over. I think that it’s the same thing with every work of life.
To be successful you have to keep learning 

ALM: What do you say to young artists?

FP: Well pretty much what i just said also to look at what’s been done before. I think its very important to look at what’s been done before. For me I went to arts school and i wasted my TIME which is just horrible they would make Me like paint the same patterns over and over again and paint like style life’s and models and stuff like that. To me the only good thing I learnt from art school is to look at arts history, art history was actually the only thing like wow I got to learn about the past.
Arts is like science you know so if pennicillin had been discovered you would want to move on and find a cure for cancer to create something new you need to know that pennicillin had been created. So you look at arts history. I think it’s very important to respect the past and tradition 

ALM: Complete the sentence,  I never leave home without…….

FP: Oh wow! I’m going to go very basic here cause I’m thinking about of a lot of things. I can’t leave home without my internet, I think it’s very important I’m not even talking about phone and computer. If I don’t have the internet I get really shaky.

‘In Conversation with’ by ASPIRE Luxury Magazine celebrates stars, influencers, celebrities and public figures, shining a spotlight on their lives and the incredible stories they have to share.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed