This post comes from the Honduras Memoria Creativa blog. The full blog can be read, in both English and Spanish, here.
Legan Rooster is a talented self-taught artist, who initially studying architecture, realised that his real passion was for painting. He has since built up a broad portfolio of graphic design, digital and paint-based pieces blending a strong eye for geometric shapes with a playful style and mixed media approach, some paintings incorporating collage. Legan’s aesthetic draws on daily life for inspiration, including figures of religious fanatics, riot police, business men, hyper-sexualised men and women and the downtrodden, who are mixed into chaotic street scenes, with video-game creatures, crucifixes, monsters, and a street art style which mixes scrawled text with the symbols and figures, being strongly evocative of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work. The words power, liar, death, violence and sex appear repeatedly throughout the works, and the canvases’ colour schemes are primary colours made bolder with a liberal use of black to highlight the yellow and red.
Legan makes use of the figurative world “Yantropolis of Freakyland” to comment on his social reality, a distorted dystopia where sinister Mickey Mouse eared characters ominously march on unarmed civilian demons and make deals with devil-horned business men. Crucifixes dominant the canvases, giving the impression of a vast and expanding symbolic graveyard creeping into every corner and slogans like “No more war” or “No More Violence” appear futile next to the aggression depicted beneath.
Legan’s digital work experiments with form and composition in a different way – vibrant collages teeming with 1950s pin-ups and Victorian ladies (2012’s “Bellas” series), are positioned against psychedelic marbled forms, geometric juxtapositions, manipulated photographs and pornographic collages.
Interview with Legan Rooster
Could you please describe what prompted your decision to dedicate yourself to be an artist and your style?
I think being an artist just came to me after finishing my architectural studies, art just caught me. My style is a pure outpouring of my life just as I have based my life, experimenting and trying to find my own voice.
How do you think being a self-taught artist has influenced your style? Do you think having had no institutionalized art education has inspired you to be more innovative?
For my self being was the best thing that could have happened to me because it allowed me to experience any ideas by any means without the paradigm of an art school. Also being self-taught made me study art on my own that has really interested me in my life.
You work with a wide range of genres (digital, paint etc.). Can you describe your creative process?
It’s a chaotic process, I’m always working and I release myself emotionally with each piece.
Which elements of your art could you say are distinctly Honduran, or convey a Honduran identity?
For me my art conveys my joy, frustrations and thoughts as a Honduran, it could be that way.
You say in your biography on your website that your art is inspired by the life around you – What are the main themes of daily-life that influence you and how are these integrated into your work?
Personal relationships, the repressed sexuality of my country, living in an ultra conservative Catholic country and that makes me explode in my art and convey in the strongest way that I can.
Considering most artists in Honduras do not receive much promotion within the country let alone outside it, how have you managed to promote your work independently as an artist?
At first it was difficult as I was being exposed slowly until people knew me, along the way I found people who have believed in my work, and I have bombarded the internet every day to show something new.
How would you describe your position within the Honduran art scene? Do you think there has been a recent “boom” in creativity in the contemporary scene?
I think my position in the art scene is that I want to go out and show my art to everyone I can. The boom of Honduran art is a given considering that there is a disagreement with what is happening in the country, especially within the artistic media in our country.
Legan Rooster’s next exhibition is at the Honduran biennial as well as several upcoming Tegucigalpan shows. You can find a collection of his work here and can visit his beautifully designed website here.