David “Lebo” le Batard is a different kind of artist all together.  His self-described “Postmodern Cartoon Expressionism” entertains the eyes in a visual storm of colorful imagery and symbolism.

I first heard of Lebo’s work in the Summer of 2010 while he was doing a live painting session with the singer Michael Franti during the annual Power to the Peaceful celebration in Golden Gate Park.  Lebo is well known for being able to create colorful landscapes, and facinating visual imagery often alongside well known musical acts.  To date he has painted alongside icons such as the Beastie Boys, Béla Fleck, Burning Spear, Disco Biscuits, Les Claypool, Arturo Sandoval, Thievery Corporation and Wynton Marsalis.

Now I’ve seen lot’s of artists paint live.  Some are good, and some just push paint around.  Lebo on the other hand seems to have the ability to create truly interesting works under the pressure of hundreds of people watching him.  This is no easy feat as most artists will tell you – and in the world of live painting acts – Lebo sets the bar.

Gumps (a San Franciso department store that has a long history of offering unique wares and artistic goods) recently held an exclusive live painting evening with LEBO and singer  Renee Wilson (from the Academy Award-Winning movie “Ray” starring Jamie Foxx).

As Wilson sang her heart out (and this woman truly can sing), Le Batard painted under the watchful eyes of society types, art patrons, and photographers alike.

On hand were signed copies of Lebo’s new book “Insprired by the Beat”, which was recently released by the good people over at Art Publishing Ltd. (http://www.ArtPublishingltd.com).  The 160 page book provides an in-depth look into the world of LEBO, his following, and the artist’s process.

The Limited Edition version of INSPIRED BY THE BEAT was set at 300 copies, and features a piece of art hand painted by Le Batard himself. Adding that extra level of class and sophistication, the Limited Edition book has been housed in a mahogany box inlaid with a silver winged LEBO medallion, perfect for the David Le Batard collector.

Many of the attendees picked up a copy for themselves, and some even told me that this was the first piece of “real art” they’ve ever owned.

And as the crowds diminished, we finished our glasses of Duckhorn and headed back out into the rainy cold San Francisco winter.

The experience was worth it.

– Photos and Story by Michael Cuffe of Warholian.com

To take an in-depth look at Lebo’s latest book, please visit:  http://www.artpublishingltd.com/new/new-releases/inspired-by-the-beat/

For more on Lebo and his work visit his official website here:  http://www.lebostudios.com/