Peter Lloyd fell in love with the Mexican ‘Lucha Libra’ wrestling culture through a trip to Mexico City, funded by a Travel Scholarship, to research and document the famous “Day of the Dead” celebrations. There he discovered the Lucha Libre (free fighting) displays, an explosive cocktail of traditional values, folkloric traditions, mass entertainment and political activism. Mexican society identifies with the characters in ‘Lucha Libre’ to the extent that everyone in the crowd wears a mask specific to the wrestler that they support. Lloyd explains the extent of their influence: “‘Super Barrio’ became a figurehead for the whole resistance movement and was eventually voted into the Mexican parliament – where he resides today, in a suit but still wearing his mask." Lloyd created his own iconic heroes for a series of prints, each with a highly symbolic visual code and vibrant Latin palette to portray his company of witty alter egos. Just as the wrestlers create their elaborate costumes with appliquéd fabrics, Lloyd developed innovative print techniques, incorporating such diverse materials as carborundum, diamond dust, glitter and synthetic fur. These portraits became a model for the artist to project his own personal concerns & self-indulgent observations onto; using the kitsch & banal they continue a tradition of the marriage of popular culture and fine art, evident in the work of Andy Warhol in America and Peter Blake in England, and it is no surprise to discover that his works can be found in the collections of several contemporary “pop icons”, including David Bowie, Missy Elliot, Vic Reeves and Holly Johnson.
Since graduating from Printmaking at the Royal College of Art, London in 2000, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Augustus Martin Award Peter Lloyd has exhibited extensively in the UK and significantly in Europe, China and the USA. Peter has work in private collections in the UK, Germany and the USA and his work can be found in many public collections, including Hochschule de Kunst, Berlin; and Royal College of Art, London, Ethnographic Museum (Muzeum Etnograficzne), Krakow, Poland and the Tate, London. Prof Peter Lloyd is the Dean of Art, Design & Fashion at Solent University, Southampton, UK. He has travelled extensively as an academic and practitioner and this has resulted in him being awarded two prestigious honours; Visiting Professor at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou and Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Institute of Technology, China.