IN CONVERSATION WITH PEDRO SOUSA LOURO
Updated: Aug 12, 2018
I came to Wimbledon Art Studios for the first time a few weeks ago to meet cubist abstract artist Pedro Sousa Louro, to talk about his work and get an inside view of his creative process and techniques that he has developed over the years.
When did you realize that you want to be an artist?
I have been an artist since I was very young! In fact, as a child, I wasn’t very lucky! At Christmas, I would always get pencils! *giggles My brother and my cousins would always get toys, me – always pencils.
I started painting professionally only after I stopped my previous carrier. I was a model for 15 years and a TV presenter on MTV after.
I studied Art at Chelsea College, but when I finished I couldn’t leave my job, so I proceed with modelling and TV for a while. These kinds of jobs don’t last very long and so after that, I started painting professionally.
Were you practising art when you had your full-time job?
Always! I was always sketching!
At what moment in your life have you decided to become a full-time artist?
In 2011- 2012
What triggered it?
In 2011- 2012 I turned my apartment into a studio and worked there for 3 years.
At that time I started to exhibit in local shops and small galleries. Around that time I decided to take it seriously. I did a series of short courses just to refresh my skills (one of them was abstract impressionism and interpretation) and then started to build my website. I didn’t have any digital representation of my work, so I had to build an online portfolio. In 2014, I started full time.
Let's talk about your work…
I don’t have a big body of work here, because I sold all paintings last year. I work on large canvases, which works very well for public spaces.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Francis Bacon and Robert Rauschenberg they are my two biggest inspirations! I’m not afraid to say I love legacies, because without a legacy we don’t know anything. All my new ideas always start from legacies.
I go through phases when I am obsessed with an artist and they become a part of my world. Right now I am totally obsessed with Rauschenberg!
How do you start a new canvas?
I never know what I want to do, but in the middle of the process I find my self and pick up and that’s when the project is born. I always start without any idea of what the project is going to be, but I always hope that I will find my ‘AHA’ moment! It has been working for me so far! I practically rely on luck.
It must be really hard to start a piece with no narrative or directions! What do you do first then?
That’s a good question! I used to sketch first, but then I would never follow my own sketches. So now I start with painting canvas in one colour. If the canvas is blank I don’t feel comfortable, I don’t know why.
How important is the use of colour for you in your work?
It is very important – I never in my life used primary colours. I alway mix my own colours.
How do you work out the combination of the colours in your work?
It is the same colours you have in your wardrobe! The colours I use are the colours I wear! I use mixed media and I am obsessed with acrylics because it dries very quickly and you can create textures with it!
What is your perfect working environment?
As you can see I am very tidy, I guess, I have got OCD! That is another connection to architecture! For example, I designed my studio because I wanted to make the most out of the space that I have. I designed everything in here; in a way, it is a piece of my work. I thought through every detail and it is similar to my painting process. When I find my self I design everything within my painting.
My studio has to be organized. Otherwise, I can't work. Everything has to be tidy and I need to go shopping for the materials first, otherwise, I can't start working unless I have everything I need!
Would you say that your work reflects your emotional state at the time you are working on it?
I treat my work as a document, document of the moment, document of a vision. I have to recycle and construct the vision and translate it onto the canvas in order to present it to the viewer.
Where do you find an inspiration in London?
I walk for six or seven hours when I need to get an idea and inspiration. A walk in the city is the best thing. I live in Chelsea, so I start there and walk along the river. I do it all the time.
This is how I collect 'information' for my work. It helps me to develop my rough idea further.
I always have to add a geometric touch to the painting, there is no way my work won't have a geometric touch to it!
Do you ever refer to classical art?
Oh no, not at all. My brain lives in mid-century, completely modern art. This is the part of the history of art that I completely skip and some artists get very upset with me, but that is the way I am. I respect classic art but it is 'not my cup of tea' and I do get in trouble for saying it. I probably connect with one person – Velazquez. Otherwise, it is always modern art. Especially abstract art, an abstract vision is very important to me. Tate is my favourite place in London.
You can see more of Pedro's work here