Louis Carreon truly did "make lemons out of lemonade", transforming his disgruntled adolescence into artistic success. Growing up in Long Beach and enticed by drug and gang culture, an artistic future seemed unlikely Carreon, who was blinded by the fast and sexy lifestyle. This proved to be costly for Carreon, who, in time, was incarcerated in federal prison for roughly two years. He lost time, friends, and control over his life. What he didn’t lose was his creative passion.
"Art is the place where I go and escape, and no one can take anything from me when I'm in my zone," Carreon states. "I hear nothing, except a conversation with the elements I'm channeling or whatever music I'm listening to at the time. It's a ritual that keeps me grounded."
Art started as a way for Carreon to showcase what he had to offer to the "hood" and transitioned into an escape route towards contemporary narratives and a fulfilling life. Carreon has since found his unique lane in the art world with the modernization of religious iconography, having made an incredible financial ascent in the past half-decade while building a global family of collectors.
Carreon's creativity reigns far and wide, evidenced by his recent acting debut. Despite avoiding Hollywood and its temptations, Carreon received an opportunity to revisit a glimmer of his past self in the new film, Paydirt. In the film, Carreon takes on the role of a ruthless Mexican cartel enforcer, doubling as the right hand man of 'el Jefe'—a familiar character to Carreon. Though he had never tapped into this type of creative expression, Carreon was intrigued to revisit his past life through his character's storyline.
"The past is what builds everyone's character, so for me, when I had to go into method acting class for months, I wanted to build these characters out of my spirit," Carreon recalls. "I literally became them, and that was so therapeutic for me. I got to go in and really deal with a lot of my internal energy and pain that I worked so hard over the years to have to shed to stay sober."
Carreon combined reality and fantasy by utilizing portions of his past discretions to enhance his character's development further. The artist-turned-actor would go so far as to conduct adrenaline rushes (blasting Metallic and doing rounds of push-ups) and train with acting coach James Marshall to perfect his delivery. He worked hard to excel in his newfound craft, and Carreon's effort did not go unnoticed, even by lead actors and Hollywood legends Val Kilmer and Luke Goss.
Carreon harnesses the adversity he faced as a young man and transforms it into inspiration for his art, whether it be either performance or visual. By altering his past self's perspective, he now views what used to be a troubled young man as a seeker of redemption.
Flaunt recently sat down with Carreon to find out exactly how the exciting opportunity came about.
How did the opportunity to be featured in Val Kilmer's new movie PayDirt come about?
So I was painting in my studio, and my homie Cameron Mitchel from Curated By Media called. Cameron has been trying to get me to act for a lifetime, and he made me an overture. He said, 'I think you should come down to the office and read for this role in this new film Paydirt. I was like, 'no brother, I'm good but love you,' and he reverted that 'Val Kilmer is the lead, and it's a good role.' Val Kilmer has always been one of my favorites, so that made me reconsider. I went down to the office and met with the director, and it worked out, and with life experience, I already knew this role in my spirit. The rest is history.
Tell us about your role? Was it a natural fit?
The role was perfect.... a Mexican cartel enforcer that worked directly as the right hand of el Jefe, the boss. The whole tone and tenor was high energy. I actually trained for a couple of months in a method acting class with coach James Marshall; what an experience to build this character out; the anger and the pain was very therapeutic. On set, I was ready and stayed in character, listening to Metallica doing push ups. For an adrenaline junkie like me, it was great. My first Scene was with the lead Luke Goss (what a legend). He helped me so much and really gave me pointers about energy, distance, and lighting that changed my game.
Is the creative process in acting invigorating to you on a similar level to your art?
Just as you can paint a picture in many ways, you can play a role in many ways; it was very similar to the inner work and finding yourself in this character and the character in yourself in reality. There are these moments when I paint, and all goes silent, and I'm in the dimension where only shapes and colors exist; I feel like that is also what I was getting while doing these scenes. Nothing mattered around me except what I was focused on. I had to get used to being pulled out at the cuts and camera changes, but it was an edifying process, and I came out of it with a true respect for the process. Indeed, I have so much love and give props to this craft.