Montana Shop & Gallery is back at their periodic shows, and to end the year artist SUMO is taking the gallery with his solo show entitled “No, no, there’s no limit.”. More info inside.
Sumo is well-known as a graffiti artist and his street creations are as ubiquitous in Luxembourg as they are around the world, the artist having left his mark in the cities where he has spent time the past few years. But what about Sumo the painter? He who, in his workshop, meticulously fills his paintings with fine brush strokes rather than sprays of paint from a can? Does knowing his graffiti amount to knowing his paintings, just because they are signed with the same (nick)name?
He was nicknamed Sumo at high school, well before his beginnings as a street-artist, and these days his legal name is rarely used, either in private or professionally. In the end, it signifies much more than a simple pseudonym for the man whose actual name is Christian Pearson.
Although crucial for Sumo, graffiti and street art are nevertheless only a single, formative stage in the career of this imagery addict. Too respectful of the scene that formed him, he couldn’t rely on a hybrid practice – between the street and the gallery – adapted to all kinds of media, with a view to selling “graffiti canvases” to the aficionados of the genre.
At first glance his motifs seem to reflect his graffiti, left here and there on the walls and fences of the cities which have inspired him. The iconic character developed by Sumo about fifteen years ago – the Crazy Baldhead as he calls him – is of course at the heart of his compositions, with the difference being that here, it is not used as an appropriation of an urban “territory”. A real motif, he embodies, in Sumo’s paintings, a pretext for experimentation and variation. The movement to draw the character is instinctive and mechanical, Sumo being fluent with all its lines and angles, having drawn it thousands of times since it first accidentally appeared in his sketchbook. This automatism and a certain dependency in the motif allow him to change it at will, playing with its shapes in order to slowly break away from it and constantly renew it. Its changes are slow and may go unnoticed to someone who doesn’t linger on it or pay attention to it.
The essence of his work on canvas is the opposite of his graffiti, and the similarities of his motifs stem from the artist’s personality.
– Kevin Muhlen