1xRUN is excited to present an exclusive collection of abstract works on paper from Murals in the Market alum Kevin Ledo! The contemporary artist and muralist has created an alluring series of exploratory and spontaneous mixed-media paintings, marking a stylistic departure from the photorealistic portraits for which he is best known. Although geometric shapes and patterns have always typified his art, Ledo says “it was time to let my abstract tendencies stand alone, and live a life void of anything recognizable.” Explore the artist’s new works and read our exclusive interview below.
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this collection of abstract works on paper, anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Kevin Ledo: These works are very spontaneous, intuitive, messy, and lots of fun. Most of my work is planned out to a certain degree, and these works gave me the chance to just ride out some mark making and let the pieces evolve on the spot.
1x: Were these paintings a part of a series or show that you had?
Ledo: Not part of a show actually. Over the last year or so, I’ve been doing large-scale abstract artwork, in the range of 5′ x 6′ and 5′ x 5′. And after jamming with [1xRUN CEO] Jesse on the idea of producing some smaller works on paper, I knew it was time to take this exploration to a new realm. There are four sets of mini series in this collection, each exploring different approaches, from chaotic to sophisticated.
1x: Tell us about your process –– What materials did you use? How much time is required to finish a piece? Do you draft the artwork before you paint?
Ledo: These works are spontaneous, quick, and done in a frenzy, though some are tweaked and adjusted over a few days. They are made with wall paint, high-pigment liquid paint, spray paint, oil stick and oil paint, all to varying degrees.
1x: We’re used to seeing figurative compositions from you. What inspired you to lean more heavily into abstract art?
Ledo: I’ve been playing with abstract art for about two years now, and I am taking it more and more seriously. While I still enjoy realistic portraiture, I needed a new outlet: something with more energy and spontaneity, mark-making, texture, and exploration of materials. Geometric abstraction has always inspired me. Artists like Kadinsky and Rothko, as well as analytical cubism from Braques and Picasso, really had an effect on me. My work has incorporated geometric shapes for more than a decade; it’s just never looked at as abstraction because there were figures involved. I figured it was time to let my abstract tendencies stand alone, and live a life void of anything recognizable.
1x: What are some of the biggest challenges to abstract painting, versus portraiture?
Ledo: I think that bringing an image of shape and colour to a point intrigue and wonder is the challenge. Another challenge is not overworking the image because there is no obvious indicator that it’s done.
1x: What’s next?
Ledo: I’ve got more large scale abstracts on the way, as well as some work that brings what I’ve learned from painting abstracts back to portraits. Beyond that, I’ve got a busy mural season up ahead.
Follow Kevin Ledo on Instagram at @kevinledo.