Christian Pearson (SUMO!) : Art as a History of Time
Renowned for incorporating loud and colorful bubbles, dot patterns, clouds, slogans, and punchlines as well as his “Crazy Baldhead” character in his artworks and graffiti, the artist Sumo! unwraps what inspires and motivates his creativity. He reflects on how he seeks to capture time to witness our current and future thoughts.
Can you describe your creative process and how you find inspiration?
My theme is time, and I document time on canvas. Each element represents a moment in time, and as time passes, more layers are added. The space is on the surface, the canvas, where the image is like an excerpt of something much larger. I might reference music, lyrics, or the atmosphere for inspiration. Inspiration comes from everything that has left an impression on me since childhood until now. This includes ads, record covers, stickers, skateboarding, MTV graffiti, advertising, comics, and cartoons. When I discovered MTV in the '90s, I encountered a world of colors and energy that I had never felt before. So, for me, it's about recreating some of that energy.
“Art reflects the times, serving as a witness to how people thought and their vision of the future”
How has your artistic style evolved?
I started with graffiti in the '90s, using spray paint and markers. I didn't study fine arts; I studied graphic design. Working in advertising as a graphic designer also left its mark on my work. Typography plays a role in my paintings. When I discover an artist, they expand my horizons. Art is more than just a beautiful image; it's about storytelling, sharing my perspective and vision. I was inspired by the '90s when a lot was happening in music, culture, and art. Today the new generations are drawing inspiration from that period. There was authenticity in that era. To gain respect in the scene and stand out in a world where everyone is doing similar things, you have to create something special.
How do you perceive the role of art in modern society?
I believe that not much has really changed. Art reflects the times, serving as a witness to how people thought and their vision of the future. I think the most important thing is to capture time. Art isn't just painting; it includes dance, music, and performance. I know that the vibrant colors I use have a positive impact. I also do this by donating works like the one to Abrigado. If I can use my art to help people, that's great. People support me, so it's my way of sharing success and demonstrating belief in oneself, trying, taking risks, and having no regrets.