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. 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.
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 Mark Cole.
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.
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”.
“I’m just a creole kid from Houston”
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. He calls it a “Simplistic Complexity”. Matching colors to words and layering canvases with raw materials and content”.