Redemption on the Rise: How Contemporary Artist Louis Carreon Defines Religious Iconography

Redemption on the Rise: How Contemporary Artist Louis Carreon Defines Religious Iconography

Redemption on the Rise: How Contemporary Artist Louis Carreon Defines Religious Iconography

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written” Galatians 3:13

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written” Galatians 3:13

Text: Thomas Herd

After a tumultuous life of substance addiction followed by a sobering prison sentence for drug trafficking, today, contemporary artist Louis Carreon focuses on reinventing the narrative of his art. Though his personal evolution is constant, today he draws from the adversities of his past to create his art. But in everything he does, redemption remains at the core—a theme he knows well. From of the throes of darkness, Carreon emerged as a visionary contemporary artist.

Known to challenge the ideology of traditional gallery artists, Carreon’s art defies the norm with consistent tones of religion and spirituality. Though he grew up with a religious background, he credits overcoming his past for reconnecting with religion and redefining his spirituality.

“I seek through art the same as I seek through God everlasting life eternal. Unless you go back to God as a man, you only have what your parents have imparted to you as a child,” Carreon says. “I went against religion for a long time. At some point as a teen, religion becomes not cool, especially if you’re a rebel teen. But until you go deeper, you don’t understand it. The reason I say ‘religious iconography’ is because that’s what it’s been called for lifetimes. I feel like the word ‘religious’ itself is offensive and controversial.”

Thanks to this rediscovery, Carreon’s current narrative explores the nuances of religious iconography and classical education. Many of his pieces are a tribute to art periods like Byzantine, Florentine, High Renaissance and more. Together with these historical themes, Carreon fuses classic concepts with modernism and contemporary ideals. Flirting with the masters, Carreon channels the styles of Peter Paul Rubens, Raphael, Caravaggio, Jusepe de Ribera and more. With integral themes of redemption and religion, Carreon has completed scores of paintings and portraits that portray religious figures from Catholic saints to Pope-like figures to Biblical characters.

As each piece emulates a subtle nature of a classic art period, Carreon modernizes his work with bold lines, bright colors and contemporary paradigms. Coming from the 90’s era, he equates his work to that of the foundation of hip-hop. In a time where rappers and hip-hop artists drew inspiration from the music of the past when sampling old songs in their music, Carreon’s narrative of religious iconography is essentially a reincarnation of classic art in a modern time. He now relishes the opportunity to reintroduce a historic culture of art through the construction of his work.

“I’m painting for the youth, for the future,” Carreon says. “Urban kids don’t know who Caravaggio is. You don’t know who Bernini is. Kids never learn about that. As time goes on, unless you go to museums, these artists will become irrelevant. I’m reintroducing and reeducating the younger generation with the classics by adding tools of the modern age.”

As he continues exploring the relationship between classic artists and religious iconography, Carreon will take on the work of famed artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini by recreating one of his masterpiece sculptures, but with contemporary ideals. With the conceptual input of Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, a professor at Georgetown University with expertise in biblical narratives and art history, Carreon continues to transcend the contemporary art community with his disruptive art. For more information on Louis Carreon and his upcoming projects, visit his Instagram page.

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