There’s something different about Isaac Pelayo. At only 25 years old, he has already broken the mould of a stereotypical “artist type” by being the first Hispanic painter and Los Angeles native to fully pivot into a promising art career in less than a year and a half.
At the beginning of the Covid pandemic in 2020, Isaac and his father, Antonio Pelayo, were the only two ink painters left working at Disney. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, however, both were laid off and Isaac was forced to make the fateful decision that would change his life: he would dedicate all of his time to his passion- painting. Today Isaac has sold over 100 pieces, and turned his efforts into a six-figure business mostly through his own hard work, late nights and dedication. In addition, the LA-based gallery, Bruce Lurie, who believed in Isaac’s talent from the beginning, has been helping spread the word. Bruce Lurie, owner of the gallery that bears his name, met Isaac and his father at the LA Art Show back in 2018, and was immediately intrigued by their enormous talent. The result was a partnership based on respect and trust that thrives today.
“Isaac’s work presents a unique angle of using iconic pop culture symbols, classical and religious paintings and integrated with street art influenced style. His work is thought provoking and elicits a mixed feel of the old world and new world. Collectors must take notice of how those different elements all clashed together and how he is pushing the boundaries. That’s why I find his work incredibly original, and we are excited to be working with him,” says Bruce.
Isaac grew up in Southern California bouncing around from house to house with his mom for the majority of his childhood. He became enthralled by the underground art scene that would later become such a huge inspiration for his artistic journey. He also developed a fascination for the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and immersed himself in the work of masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Isaac juxtaposed these established art forms with the contrasting world he grew up in to make it his own, and “Street Baroque” was born. This unique combination of hyperrealism and elements of street art is also what he believes to be a visual representation of the dichotomy within himself. Describing himself as “both the loving intellectual and the defiant rebel,” he manages to combine the two worlds expertly.
As part of a new generation of artists using social media as their main sales platform, Isaac managed to gain momentum in the art world while building his own network of celebrity collectors on Instagram. In just 6 months, he grew his following by more than 100k, became verified, and what once began as a hopeful window to collectors turned into networking with rappers, basketball players and other acclaimed artists as well. Isaac’s most dedicated collector, the rapper Westside Gunn, first reached out to him on Instagram after seeing his work on the platform. Today, the rapper owns more than 20 of Isaac’s paintings and has helped him get work into the private collections of other well-known rappers as well. Sean Diddy Combs, Shepard Fairey, and Jeff Hamilton, to name a few, are all collectors of Isaac’s art now, and all were connections he generated himself through steady work, research and ambition.
Hopefully this will only be the beginning for this talented kid. In addition to painting, Isaac is also a gifted musician, actor, model and sought-after tattoo artist, but as long as he gets to do what he’s passionate about, he says he’ll find a way to do it all, and do it well. One day, perhaps he’ll even have an art style named after him, and “Pelayoism” will inspire the futures of other young dreams. The way Isaac sees it, “Someday, years after my demise, a young striving artist will pick up my brush and continue where I left off. Until then, I have a cheap date with insomnia and some paint to push.”