Nerd City @ Le Merde’s Vanfar & Boko Raton Show @ Rotofugi

October 28, 2008


Direct Link to Youtube Video

For those not familiar, Le Merde is an artist from Portland, Oregon who creates hand cast and hand painted resin figures of his original characters.  The vibrancy of the color of each of these figures must be seen in person in order to be truly appreciated.   To achieve such richness in color, Le Merde employs both acrylic and cel paint. Along with these figures, he also creates brilliant paintings that also utilize cel and acrylic paints. What is truly amazing is how seamlessly his style transitions from figure to canvas. Or is it canvas to figure?
I’ve casually been aware of the work of Le Merde for a couple of years now and have always been strongly impressed by the reverence with which people speak of his work. In a gallery setting, his pieces certainly live up to the hype. Kudos to Kirby and Whitney at Rotofugi for their setup of the show, as it truly accentuated the preciousness(maybe I should have said “awesomeness”, or something) of each piece. The music of choice at the show was particularly cool as well- a rockin’ mix of all of the stuff that Le Merde was listening to while working on the stuff for the show. At one point, we chatted as Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak album played in it’s entirety- but, I’m getting ahead of myself.
LeMerde, himself, couldn’t have been a cooler guy. Although he wasn’t particularly jazzed to do a video interview, Max and I talked with him for well over an hour about everything from 8-bit Nintendo to The Beta Band to 80′s action figures to Vanfar and Boko Raton.
Vanfar is the lead guitarist for the band Zeu, a central element of the Le Merde universe. Vanfar and Boko Raton are loosely based upon John Lennon and Yoko Ono, but as LeMerde was quick to tell me, Vanfar’s pop sensibilities are more along the lines of Paul McCartney. The central theme of this show was that of Vanfar striking out on his own along with Boko, and the ramifications of that upon the LeMerde universe. Not only did we get to see a series of color variations of the Vanfar figure, but also many paintings such as Vanfar’s Trying New Things and Vanfar’s Ghostly Passion Project. These paintings help out to flesh out the storyline, along with a few new color ways of the John McEnroe-inspired Hollis Price and Zeu’s biggest fan, Pony Falcone.
All in all, this was a totally badass show by one of the nicest guys I’ve had a chance to meet since doing this Nerd City thing. Simply put, Le Merde is the shit!

Check out Le Merde’s blog here.
Le Merde’s photos of the Vanfar and Boko Raton are here.

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