LaMonte French

LaMontè French is an American visual artist born and raised in Houston, Texas. His name, being a true testament of his passion to mix history of past (him being of Creole & German descent) and concrete present. "LaMontè" being his birth given middle name and "French" standing as the torch to pay homage to his Creole grandmother. "I feel as individuals in this world, we must utilize every entity given to us, that is our right as human beings". French's love for art began as a small child, with his father, who was a high profile athlete, serving as his first muse. He can recall drawing his father in his uniform with details such as muscle strands and movements, color patterns of uniform sequences and even sweat
dripping off the body. Naturally, his father was his first hero. French's mother's influence was through High Fashion and her flare for opulence, which created balance in his creative demeanor.

 

When he was 9 years old, his parents moved him, his sister and brother, to his father's hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan for 5 years. It was in Ann Arbor that French learned of a broader world full of culture and various ethnic groups. He learned the difference in race and religion, tradition and taboo. This was in part because Ann Arbor, MI was home to The University Of Michigan, one of the biggest melting pots in the world. Here, French would spend the keen years, 3rd grade through 7th grade, going to school with kids from Hungary, Russia, India, Asia, Botswana and more. At the age of 13 his family moved back to Houston, TX. At this age, he began to flourish as a Student-Athlete and earned an athletic scholarship to New Mexico State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology in 2004. "Throughout my life, the many travels and experiences I have been allotted, Art and the actual euphoria and process of creating, has always been a sanctuary for my true self".

 

LaMontè French is a self-taught abstract-expressionist artist, naturally drawing influence from arguably the most famous expressionist artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Because he considers himself to be an extensive student of the history of art, he also draws influence from other artists before him such as Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Picasso and more. But he also respects the influence of current greats such as Mark Bradford, John Doyle-Hancock, Henry Ascencio and Mark Cole.

 

French compares his approach to his work as to the approach of his favorite philosophers, Erickson, Piaget and Nietzsche. He then entangles the genius and freedom of creative minds such as Versace, Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Virgil Ibloh...their drive and passion, through fashion inspires him. He intertwines these two worlds in comparison to a Jazz tale being told by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Being true to the description, his two favorite Jazz albums are "Bitches Brew" by Miles Davis and "In a Sentimental Mood" by John Coltrane/Duke Ellington.

 

"My art depicts a soul of many moons. History, past and present, seasoned with a little aggression, held together with a roux of compassion. I call it a "Simplistic Complexity". Matching colors to words and layering canvases with raw materials and content". French is the grandson of a Veteran of The Korean War as well as a Buffalo Soldier who received a purple heart. Those two men taught him, that his name.....and his content, will be his lasting influence. "I'm just a creole kid from Houston"

 

Artist Statement

The work I create is based upon content. Content using history - past, present, foreseen futures and inevitable action. Content also being drawing inspiration from different styles and an array of various artists, past and present. Giving emphasis to a historical foundation and basis of the work. The materials are not specific to disciplined categories but more so driven from inspiration. I am an "abstract-expressionist" artist by a genre's definition. A "simplistic complexity" is a more personal label of my work. Giving passages of a grander message through the windows of ordinary, everyday and even at times, childish images from daily life. Whether it pertains to entertainment, fashion, politics, art, etc. yet all in the pool of "history", I blatantly know the image which is going to grab the eye of the consumer ... which is purposeful in it's drawl, as a somewhat "trap". The jolt of emotion through a deeper message

through dissertative explanation is the journey, the true griot of the art, of my work.