I asked Luke a couple of questions about the event, his artwork and his decision to attend ArtWalk this year.
Beelineweb.com: What made you decide to go after a spot at this year's ArtWalk?
Luke: Well, I can thank my wife for that. She basically put her foot down and said it was time that I start showing my work. I could see the serious and loving passion in her eyes. She's been encouraging me to exhibit my art for years, but I just never felt ready. It finally dawned on me how lucky I am to have so much support. So I made it my mission to put myself out there this year. And, as an Okanagan artist, what better event is there than the Lake Country ArtWalk?
I pulled together some examples of my work, sent in my application, and waited anxiously to find out if I'd be accepted. In the meantime, I began furiously creating some new work for the event. I felt over-the-moon when I learned I'd been chosen by the ArtWalk jurors to participate.
Beelineweb.com: What are you hoping to get out of the experience?
Luke: I'm mostly curious to see how people react to my work. I don't really know what to expect in that regard. My hope is that some people will connect with my art in a way that lifts their spirits and reminds them that they aren't alone in what they feel. I'd really love for my art to play at least a small role in empowering people to approach others with more empathy and curiosity.
Plus, I'm really excited about meeting other Okanagan artists and seeing their work. It's going to be a very humbling experience to be among so many talented people like Alex Fong and Nikki Balfour. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about sharing my own art. But it's what an artist has to do. So it feels like a big step even though I've been painting for more than 20 years.
Beelineweb.com: Can you describe some of your work and the ideas behind it?
So I often end up with rough textures and thick impastos. But I think that's a quality of my work that helps represent the feelings and ideas I'm trying to express. A lot of my art has its beginnings in the dark, messy, turbulent core of my being. But I think the bright colours represent my innate optimism coming through. And the rough textures are also kind of like life itself. Life is rough, but there is beauty in the crevices.
One of my newest series, called Spots, is about exploring the idea that we all carry scars, whether physical or emotional, but that we can use them as reminders of everyone else's humanity. We're all the same. We all have spots from living life. But they can become points of light because light is often born from the darkest places. So when we're presented with life's inevitable conflicts, we have a choice to make. We can default to pain and competition, or we can stop and make a conscious effort to act with grace and generosity instead.
Beelineweb.com: Is showing your work something you plan on doing more of in the future?
Luke: Absolutely. I've finally accepted the fact that I don't need to limit myself. I can be a fine artist in addition to what I've been for a long time now, which is a commercial artist and copywriter. Sharing my art is a crucial part of being a fine artist. I can't just create it and store it away. It's meant for other people. It's larger than me. I'm just the conduit. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to realize that.