Ave Pildas started on the path to his remarkable career in music photography in the 1960’s, becoming the Capitol Records art director in 1971, and all the while maintained an evolving personal, journalistic and fine-art practice that has earned as much acclaim as his iconic jazz and rock portraits. His most popular works favor grids and series of multiple viewpoints expressive of people activating public spaces and the angular serendipity of its architecture. We corresponded with Pildas from his remote location on a trip to the Brazilian island of Itaparica, in advance of his new exhibition set to open at Tufenkian Fine Arts this week, showcasing a powerful selection of recent works.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
AVE PILDAS: It was confirmed when I got a D in Latin in High School — and I wasn’t very good at English grammar or literature either.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
[It’s about] almost everything that I’m interested in at the moment. I’m very curious. I do have some favorite recurring themes of interest…
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I’m so blessed with being creative it’s hard to imagine the next best choice, but let’s go with athlete.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
Yes, aptitude test confirmed. My first higher education was architecture, design, typography. I had just one photo class.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
It’s the weather and you can be anything you want to be in L.A. I only like snow to look at.
When was your first show?
1971/72 Jan Turner in LA; 1971/72 Canon Gallery in Amsterdam.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
It opens March 12 with a March 8 reception at Tufenkian Fine Arts in Glendale.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Long list… today it’s Elliott Erwitt, Alexander Rodchenko, Cartier-Bresson.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Jazz (BeBop), blues (Chicago).
Website and social media handles, please!