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

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.

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!

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“Right now, my creative process is finding new ways to extend my language or bring it to a new level. I use all the little things that I was using in my language, but I approach it in a different way. I’m trying to take this emptiness away and fill up the canvas. The canvas is not raw anymore, it’s primed, so it pops in your face. The approach now is slightly 180-degrees the other way because before, I had nothing under it. I'm just coming up with ideas and seeing what happens. It’s a lot of trying and seeing if it works or if it doesn’t. From all of these little problematic things, you can always take a little piece and put together a new puzzle and work with that.”
Part of the series:

Studio Visit

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