An Afternoon with Lucas Lasnier aka Parbo
Getting ready for my interview I contemplated whether I should indulge in classic porteño fashion and postpone—it is cold, it is raining, why would we ever leave our houses? I reminded myself how it took me about 2 weeks to get a date set for this interview, put on my best gameface, and trudged forward (thanking god—and by god I mean my mother—for my JUMBO sized Costco umbrella that can shelter three).
On the bus ride over, I wondered what Lucas Lasnier would be like. Those of you who frequent the Palermo Hollywood barrio, have probably ran into his mural decorating the Fierro Hotel. He paints—conventionally and via street interventions. He designs (graphic, that is), but is clearly educated in the traditional fine arts. He hammers out projects for the advertising realm through his agency Kid Gaucho, but still manages to create space for his painting. For those of you unfamiliar, there is a long-standing discussion about the dichotomy between commercial and “fine” art (what you would encounter in a gallery or museum) which seem to effortlessly coexist in Parbo’s world.
Parbo at work at the Fierro Hotel
I finally arrive to Colegiales, eager to untangle this seemingly contradictory artist. There is something striking about his presence–although maybe not at first. He’s there, fully and wholly. Listening and sharing, always with complete eye contact. Lucas did not seem to have his thoughts scattered as one would expect from such a busy artist.
I break the ice by asking about what got him started, and things immediately start making sense. With an artist for a mother, and access to her home-studio—complete with an art library—Lucas was surrounded by creative influences from a young age. His father, an architect, turned advertiser, brought a completely opposite—and new—form of expression, introducing all things digital. Lucas explains, “Mi cabeza volaba para todos lados.”—My head was all over the place. This is when he began his education, where art lessons took over his Saturdays. When time came to decide on a career path for his university studies, he opted for graphic design, steering away from the traditional fine arts, writing it off as something for “hippies”—regardless of it being where he feels like “un pez en el agua”—a fish in water.
For Lucas, graphic design was a new world with “everything to learn”. This aspect is something that will mark Lucas as an artist, his ever-changing medium and collaborations. He describes enjoying that feeling of discomfort and darkness, and how it helps him break inertia, allowing something new to happen, and growing as an artist. This is one of the main themes that Lucas is working around today—that feeling of ostracism and disconnectedness. Whether it is painting a 50 meter mural that you can visit in Vicente Lopez, or a small work of acrylic on paper, you see the influence of American Pop-Surrealism in the representation of life and death—exposure and vulnerability versus being sheltered.
His journey in the world of art and design began with a slap in the face as a wide-eyed, eager graduate. Lucas was 25 and set on joining the esteemed Interbrand. After being told by a director that although his portfolio was impressive, they were not sure he would fit in with the agency, being sent off with the advice to design for himself—to start his own project. Lucas recalls being “roto,” and disheartened, taking to the urban scene which was growing around 2000. Attracted to the counter-culture of skate, punk, and graffiti, Lucas set off with cans of paint to explore this new world. With the speed at which the internet was growing at the time, Parbo fell in the center of all the artists arriving to Buenos Aires to make their mark in this urban art destination. He tells me how fascinated he was at the opportunity to work with all these incredible artists, who came from all over, bringing their own style and form of craft and ultimately influencing his. For Lucas, “things happen when people meet one another” and that human interaction is a necessary catalyst for growth and divergence.
This brought on the courage and enthusiasm for the birth of Kid Gaucho. Parbo keeps his craft and styles distinct, without limiting their ability to feed off each other. He describes his shift between more commercial-advertising related works and his “craft” as a sort of seasonal shift, “when publicity season starts I kind of forget about my own work, but then I come back to it feeling refreshed and with a lot of ganas to get started on new work.” It all seems so natural.
Unsure of where the future will take him, Parbo is eager to continue growing and continue collaborating with different artists. He doesn’t let me forget that despite all of this “mi obra, lo que pinto, Kid Gaucho, es sólo una parte de lo que soy, no me pinta de punta en blanco.” It is this general mentality that I feel characterizes the way Parbo relates to his craft, allowing him to successfully and effortlessly preform in whatever project he takes on. Destroying that notion of a solitary, brooding artist full of angst, Parbo shows us what it is like to welcome every project with a fresh look, allowing the love you have for the craft to permeate.
Want to see Buenos Aires’ street art en vivo? Join us every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on The Street Art Walk, a guided walking tour that will take you through the vibrant streets of Colegiales with a BA street art expert.