Not Safe For Work Warning: Dear people reading this in the workplace, I would guess that neither this intro nor this interview are appropriate to read in most workplaces. Also, if you’re my grandparents, the intro and the interview are probably not appropriate to read anywhere.
Although Don Pablo Pedro has only painted a few murals, they are some of my favorites in New York City. I always wonder “Who has these paintings in their house? Probably somebody pretty weird.” And then I remember that I want one in my house… I remember quite distinctly being introduced to Don Pablo Pedro’s work. Tan from Arrested Motion and I were over at Judith Supine’s studio checking out some works in progress, and Judith Supine somehow found and pulled out a painting by Don Pablo Pedro from the sea of collage and cut paper that covered much of the floor. The painting was of a naked man wearing the skin of a woman, with man’s penis stuck through what remained of her vagina. It was one of the most disturbing paintings I’ve ever seen, but to this day also one of my favorites. Tim Hans met up with Don Pablo Pedro at his Brooklyn studio earlier this year for our continuing series of portraits by Tim Hans. – RJ
RJ: Where do your ideas come from? Do they bubble up from within your own mind? Do they seem to be sent to you from the ether?
Don Pablo Pedro: I really don’t understand where my ideas come from. They just seem to appear then I create them and try to understand them later.
RJ: You’ve painted a couple of murals in Brooklyn. What sort of reaction have you gotten about those?
DPP: The first mural I did about 5 years ago is still up. It is of a large blue figure with a balding head, four tits and a tiny erect penis. I painted him around a Chris Stain piece where the blue figure was attempting to grab the baby in stains painting. The owner of the building eventually painted over the stain piece cause it gave him bad memories so now the blue figure is lonely. The reaction to that piece was mostly positive. The second murals I did were this year of three large dancing nude women coming out of a “smells” and “cash4” piece and a Jesus figure wearing a chastity belt. The three large women had their genitals painted over a few times by someone in a black Mercedes. I immediately fixed them every time this happened. The Brooklyn paper and Brooklyn street art wrote an article about them so I guess they got some reaction.
RJ: How many paintings do you usually work on at one time?
DPP: Lately I have been working on about three at once cause I have the space right now and I’m working towards a solo show in September.
RJ: How did you come to working so much on muslin?
DPP: I started working on muslin about 6 years ago. I had just gotten out of the hospital. I went to the hospital after my testicle swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. I was there for two weeks waiting to get the testicle removed. While I was there I started painting on the bed sheet I was sleeping on. I created a self-portrait in the style I’m still painting today. When I got out I was looking for a fabric similar to the bed sheet something thin that bleeds and that’s how I came about using muslin.
RJ: Where can people see your art?
DPP: Right now I’m working on a solo show at English Kills Art Gallery in Brooklyn opening September 14.
Photos by Tim Hans