Behind the Artist: Lebo

 In Art & Gallery News, Artists & Special Collections, Lebo

Inspired by ancient modes of storytelling, comic strip compositions, and the grit of 1970s street art, David (Lebo) Le Batard surrenders his artwork to the sum of history.

Lebo painting in his Miami studio.

The Cuban-American artist is internationally recognized for his unique style—Postmodern Cartoon Expressionism—which harmonizes calligraphy, cartoons, indigenous art, mythology, and modern melody. A scholar and visual storyteller in his own right, Lebo integrates symbols and prophetic turns of phrase into his artwork as a way to parallel antiquity and modernity.

Lebo creates a colorful, spontaneous sketch for a lucky collector.

Lebo often speaks toward his allegiance to postmodern philosophy, which asserts that history is continuous. The Miami resident pieces together a myriad of historic and cross-cultural narratives in each of his works, establishing the notion that culture is linked through time, not separated by it.

Lebo’s artistic style is characterized by gestural lines, condensed fields of color, and an inexplicable graphic edge. By playfully interpreting sentiments of inner peace, mindfulness, and spiritual enlightenment, Lebo’s artwork acts as a vehicle for something otherworldly.

Lebo art in progress.

For more insight on Lebo—the artistic oracle—below are three details highlighting his practice and person.

Language of Cartoons

One cross-cultural similarity Lebo observes in his artwork is the prevalence of iconography throughout time.  From Incan tapestries and Egyptian hieroglyphics to “Calvin and Hobbes” comics—representation didn’t stop at the surface—it delved into the arena of language. To Lebo, the icons of art history and modern cartoons both tell a story.

“Divine Revelation & the Six Simple Machines” (2015), Lebo.

Growing up, Lebo analyzed the narratives of comic strips and cartoons, and dedicated himself to the practice of ancient calligraphy and cartoon drawing. After Lebo graduated from Florida International University in 1995, he began to lecture at the International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, Florida on the technical approaches of illustration.

Lebo speaks with Park West Gallery in his studio.

“To me, a cartoonist is somebody who expresses themselves visually and in a very direct manner and a very approachable manner,” Lebo says.

By creatively combining studies of lighthearted illustration and cultural relics, Lebo subverts our understanding of high and low culture.

Rhythm of Representation

Lebo further orients his creative compass in relation to music. At the beginning of his artistic career, Lebo searched for a studio space that was more interactive. As a result, the artist began to work alongside his friends during band practice, which harmonically drove Lebo’s compositions to new heights.

“In These Modern Times” (2015), Lebo.

Lebo has participated in a number of live-art performances, painting alongside acts like the Beastie Boys and Willie Nelson. The melodically-inspired artist was chosen to create the official artwork for the Latin Grammy Awards in 2003 and served as the official artist for the 2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

Monumental Murals and Commissions

The enlightened spirit of Lebo artwork can be found in private and publicly sponsored murals around the world—on land and sea. Lebo has created elaborate murals in Miami’s Wynwood Art District and American Airlines Arena, Hart Plaza in Detroit, and the Hotel des Artes in San Francisco, among countless others.

Lebo lululemon

Lebo creates a mural for Lululemon’s flagship store in Miami.

In 2014, Lebo took on his largest project to date—painting the 1,063 foot-long hull of the Norwegian Getaway cruise ship.

Lebo has also partnered with Adidas, ESPN, Harley-Davidson, Google, Lululemon, and Macy’s Inc.

To add artwork by Lebo to your collection, contact our gallery consultants. Call (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 to speak to a representative during our business hours, or email sales@parkwestgallery.com for inquiries after hours.

Recommended Posts
Showing 8 comments
  • Howie Zwerman
    Reply

    David, so interesting to read about you, feeling very inspired……was an art major in college, now retired, I’ve been doing slot of art…….acrylic, watercolor, zentangling,collage…….
    Howie Zwerman

  • Howie Zwerman
    Reply

    Very inspiring……

  • William Cook
    Reply

    D,
    Thank you for all you do for the Veterans of America and for you delightful, inspiring, positive, beautiful art.
    Best Regards Always

  • Freda Rhodes
    Reply

    David,
    I have three of your pieces in my home. They bring life to my space.
    Freda Rhodes

  • Sharron Wood
    Reply

    It’s wonderful to read about an artist, especially one whose work I collect. I have three Lebo pieces so far. And I’m certain there will be more in my future!

  • James Strancel
    Reply

    Am a great admirer of your work. I especially like the 3-D “pop art” available only on cruise ships. However, would like to have an original. What is the price point? I’m a serious collector… AGAIN, LOVE YOUR WORK.

  • Dawn Stephens
    Reply

    We purchased one of your giclee’s, limited editions, “The Night We Fell in Love” on one of our recent cruises. It so reminded us of the 1960’s Blake Edwards, “Pink Panther”. Colorful, fun, and contemporary. Sure wish you’d paint more like this. We looked for a second painting like it so we could put both on either side of our bar. Anyway we simply adore it. Fabulous work.

Leave a Comment

art news