For EDM fanatic and Lima, Peru-based visual artist Roy Flores (aka Le'Roy), his artistic goal is simple. "I want to make a huge expo about EDM artwork. I'll paint 22 of the best DJs from DJ Mag's rankings, the ones who get talked about the most in the press, and the ones I knew who were the best electro house and big room that I like." Insofar as making such an exciting (yet seemingly difficult) goal occur, he has a plan, and it's largely guided by his love of dance music and electronic music culture.
To Le'Roy, the idea that next May's Tomorrowland Brazil festival recently sold out with 180,000 tickets purchased in under three hours makes sense. "DJs now are considered now like rock stars were in the 1970s." However, insofar as in his native Peru (and much of South America, too), Flores says EDM is certainly a phenomenon, but one that's on the rise. "In Peru, dance fans are not very common. Most people like pop, rock or Spanish music. My interest comes from listening to radio around the world. I don't like radio in Peru. I listen to BBC1, 3FM [from Amsterdam], and many other radio stations. I started searching it out, and became an EDM lover."
Originally starting off as a painter of advertisements for radio and TV, he began painting DJs in order to better learn digital painting, so he painted ex-Swedish House Mafia member Sebastian Ingrosso. After painting him, he painted Steve Angello, Axwell, and also deadmau5 (though that work was done with acrylic and pens). He quickly realized that he may be onto something bigger than himself. The artist says "[I realized] it would be interesting for the digital art industry if I did this. I'm getting better at it. I created EDM Artwork to combine two things I love into one. I wanted to present paintings and artwork related to EDM, [yet I realized] this could be done for every genre in music. Mainly, I painted the digital portraits to honor the DJs that I love to hear."
Though art is oftentimes best regarded as "art for arts sake," Le'Roy's expectation for his artwork has greater (and altruistic) aspirations. "Artists in the world are not doing very well," Le'Roy says. "If you like an artist in music, going to their concert is different than buying their track or hearing it on Youtube or SoundCloud. It's better because you're having a full experience. They support their art with dancing, lights, etc. to support the experience. Just like in music, [in art] there's an elite art group and a not-so elite art group. They're very separate. There's no commercial center between high society and lower class. That's what I want to do." Flores' idea is a seamless blend of art and music that must be explained to be believed. "As an artist, I have to present my own expo [in order to create a bridge]. I want to do it as if it were a rave. Show artwork on big screens, while the music of the DJs is being played. It will combine music, effects, merchandising and everything. It's already planned. It's a six-hour show."
Regarding his audacious plan, he has a solid set of progressive ideas to make it happen. "I have a team to support me. We're doing crowdfunding and not sponsors. We're expecting to get the money to start doing this in Lima. While EDM is not huge here, it's a beginning. Crowdfunding is an emerging thing down in Peru, too. Ideally, because this is digital artwork, I can showcase this anywhere." When asked about possibly taking this to American festivals (and festivals worldwide), Flores pauses, then answers brightly. "Yes! I really haven't thought a lot about it, but I would obviously love to do this everywhere. Given that I'm painting 22 very popular DJs, I think people would appreciate seeing this worldwide."
Though sounding entirely excited about doing this work, he did state one drawback in what he's doing. "The hair. I sometimes hate [digitally painting] the hair. I'd rather paint long hair with straight lines as opposed to seeing a pointy shaved head, or someone like Nicky Romero with very stylish hair. That's really difficult."
For more information on Roy "Le'Roy" Flores, visit www.edmartwork.com.