Painter Lou Carbone moved to Hoboken in 1980, when his first apartment here in town cost $150/month.
“I never made a conscious decision to pursue art,” says Carbone. “My parents recognized early that steering me in an alternate direction was futile, so they told me to be a ‘commercial artist’ in an attempt to prevent poverty and frustration—it didn’t work. I made a living as an illustrator for about 15 years until it occurred to me that if I continued to do illustration, I’d never do another painting—it was the last thing I wanted to do after drawing for a client all day.”
Fresh off an exhibit in the Hoboken Historical Museum, Carbone’s recent paintings are, “overtly influenced by a trip I took to Mexico City a few years ago to see Diego Rivera’s murals—also, old Chinese and Russian posters.”
On whether the changes in Hoboken are impacting his art, Carbone says, “I’ve been here since my late 20s, so everything I do is in some way influenced by Hoboken.”
“I get asked a lot about the faceless people,” he adds. “Everything is pared down or abbreviated in my paintings. Houses are Monopoly style for the most part. Every painting is lit from the same direction.
I don’t see a use for detail beyond what it takes to convey an idea. Maybe it’s from my illustration days—illustrators often use facial expressions to hit a viewer over the head with a story; I always hated that. Even when I go to the Met to see master work, I think it’s rare when those expressions enhance a composition.”
To see more, visit LouCarbone.com.