Carlos Rolón was born and raised in Chicago, where he still lives and works. Rolón attended Columbia College Chicago in 1989, with a concentration in painting and drawing. His early career was heavily influenced by early New York City street, hip hop, disco and punk culture of the 1980s. He abandoned creating work as a street artist for abstract paintings in his early twenties. His travels to Europe in the early 1990s eventually led the artist to Paris’s underground music and fashion worlds at artist space Hôpital éphémère (fr). A project for the now defunct French record label Yellow Productions brought the artist to Japan, where in 2003 he was introduced to Masami Shiraishi. The owner and director of Scai the Bathhouse, a contemporary art gallery known for introducing Japan’s avant-garde artists to the world as well as for helping artists from abroad to establish a presence in Japan, he offered Rolón a solo exhibition, which sold out before the opening.
In 2005, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis held a solo exhibition of Rolon’s work, curated by Shannon Fitzgerald and Paul Ha, titled “Punk Funk.” His most significant exhibition in the US up to that point, the show included several new works created for the show, including a 14 by 42 foot site-specific installation. The exhibition was accompanied by a full color publication with audio.
Rolón was initially represented by Chicago gallerist Monique Meloche from 2001-2010 and his paintings appeared at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Chicago Cultural Center during that time. A significant advance in Rolón’s career came in 2007 when Jeffrey Deitch, owner of Deitch Projects, took note of his work at the 52nd Venice Biennale and offered him a solo exhibition and began representing him. Rolón has since had solo shows in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Puerto Rico.