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The Artist Whose Work Hangs In Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Jay-Z’s Homes

Brazilian-born contemporary painter Christian Rosa will be legendary, just wait.

The Artist Whose Work Hangs In Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Jay-Z’s Homes
Tristan Kallas

There’s nothing but a vast, inconspicuous field of industrial buildings surrounding Christian Rosa’s studio in downtown L.A. The only signifier that we were in the right place was a big black gate that slowly slid open as we approached it. Behind it was a massive, airy warehouse with ceilings so high they made Rosa’s 20-foot canvases look like they could fit in your living room.

Brazilian-born, Vienna-raised, L.A-based (you following?) Rosa’s large-scale contemporary paintings—think abstract geometric shapes in bold colors, fine scribble pencil marks, and casual strokes over a foot long—are currently hanging in the homes of the likes of Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio. “Sometimes he assists—he’s really into painting,” Rosa tells us nonchalantly of DiCaprio while smoking cigarette after cigarette on the couch in the middle of his studio. There’s a life-size cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing Rosa’s paint-covered smock hovering behind us. “I should invite him to the studio, too,” he jokes, pointing at it. But, really, he should!

Before we continue talking about everything from how he breaks through a creative block to his evolution as an artist, and why projects like Hooper Project and Grande Vista, which give rising artists the opportunity to showcase their works, are important to him, he asked if he could grab his skateboard and let his dogs roam free. Yes, of course!

“I think I was 25 [years old] when I started painting. I was actually a photographer before. I was assisting a friend of mine on fashion shoots, and then I moved to Barcelona. I wanted to start studying photography, but then I applied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. I got denied for the photo class because I was too advanced. There was this class called ‘Extended Painting Room’—basically, you could paint, but you could also create videos and photography and all kinds of things. The professor from the photo class said, ‘Why don’t you try this instead?’ This was Daniel Richter's class, a very famous German painter that became a really good friend and a mentor to me.”
Part of the series:

Studio Visit

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