Miami artist David “Lebo” Le Batard has passed away at the young age of 50.
It’s a sad day for the Miami cultural community. Known for his colorful cartoonish street murals, splashed all over Miami walls and houses for over 25 years, Lebo also thrived as a painter, sculptor and collaborator. Lately, his art was represented by Park West Gallery, who elevated his abstract work to the highest levels of the art world. Today, one can purchase Lebo’s work in airports and cruise ships all around the world.
Lebo’s Early Work
Our earliest memories of Lebo’s art go back to when he designed the album covers for Miami band Spam All-Stars, one of his many long time collaborators, we believe in 2000 (Pigs in Space) and also 2002 (Fuacata Live!).
Lebo had an affinity for collaborating with musicians and the music world.
We have memories of his painting live on stage at Miami concerts going back at least twenty years. And of course his connection to Langerado, a really cool jam band music festival in Ft. Lauderdale from 2003 to 2008.
Lebo designed the poster for the festival in 2006, 2007 and we believe 2008.
Lebo was seen on stage live painting with diverse acts such as the Beastie Boys, Thievery Corporation, The Disco Biscuits, Arturo Sandoval and Willie Nelson, to name a few.
Lebo’s roots, as a collaborator, were in the jam band scene. But over his career, he went on to collaborate with some of the largest corporations in the world, including Harley Davidson, Audi, Google, Microsoft, Redbull, Ketel One, Bacardi, and Ferrari.
Lebo and his Murals
Arguably, Lebo’s biggest splash were his murals, which were all over Miami. You couldn’t drive more than five minutes in the downtown city corridor without seeing his colorful birds and owls and abstract tribal shapes.
It’s sad that many of those buildings have been torn down.
Lebo was one of many Miami street artists who made Wynwood cool and put street art on the international map. One can argue the Queens neighborhood of Five Pointz was the first streets art district in the world. But most of the art in Five Pointz was graffiti, not murals; and although 12 buildings, it was not a neighborhood, but an abandoned factory.
Wynwood is the first neighborhood in the world to thrive off of street art murals. To which, Lebo, along with many other Miami street artists, was a founding father. That’s how we will remember Lebo.
In addition to all of the other neighborhoods he painted in over the years, including inside our beloved Miami Heat arena and Fillmore music theater.
News of Lebo’s passing was announced by his brother Dan Le Batard, on his podcast on August 1st, 2023.
We knew of Lebo’s illness for a couple of months and were asked not to write about it. As we understand, the legendary artist passed away from about a year long battle with cancer. He was only 50 years old.
Our thoughts go out to Lebo’s family and his many friends.