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Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I'm a Melbourne-born child from Victoria, Australia. I have been here all my life, I moved around from different suburbs and was raised as a private school boy at Marcellin College where I met all my life long friends. Now I live in the heart of Melbourne in richmond not far from the city in a victorian two bedroom terrace house.

What's your background as an artist?

During my childhood I was never really into art up until the age of 10. I did work along side my father who is a builder and still do to this day. I liked to create weird sculptures out of timber scraps and really enjoyed using his tools whilst he would work around different building sites around melbourne. We travelled every where even going to the beach and surfing after work in Lorne along the great ocean road. I think spending this time with him played a pretty important part in the early development of my art work this is where it all began.

 

In primary school we had to make sculptures for a particular task during our lessons, I ended up making this sculpture called 'Angry spirit' which my mother loved. It was entered into a young catholic schools exhibition and where it was exhibited. In high school I was into graffiti and loved art class and began channeling all my ADHD fixations towards artwork. By my late teens I had been just drawing and painting for assignments to get into university at RMIT. My first preference was Communication Design at RMIT and got in on a second round offer which sent me into the direction of design. Whilst studying at RMIT for 3 years I was doing the odd commission here there and had two separate exhibitions BSG ( Brunswick Street Gallery) and Workshop bar in the city. After Finishing my time at RMIT I had a year off and did a tattooing apprenticeship at Diamond and Ball tattoo parlor in hawthorne. I Began as a apprentice but unfortunately they went broke. I learnt how to run a shop and how to tattoo. This has formed my art into what it has become today.

 

How would you describe your style of art?

I would describe my style of art as a mixture of folk art and contemporary art - I'm hugely influenced by the pair. The traditional side to folk art is quite important to me as the use of patterns and color seem to be the most appealing. Tattooing is largely influenced by traditional ancestry art which can be seen more through my use of acrylic inks and pens. Whilst the more contemporary 21st century art is seen through my bigger canvas painting with the use of oils and other not so fine mediums.

 

How did it evolve?

My fine art has evolved into paintings and been transferred across to other mediums in most of my artwork. I think the best way to describe its evolution would be the experimental side such as using different materials and finding my comfort in those areas. The more traditional aspects of my art work stay within the finer pieces where I have more control, not to say I'm out of control with my contemporary pieces, I definitely set no boundaries.

Your portraiture seems pretty different than your other work. How do you approach these practices?

My practices for portraiture is quite simple; I don't have a preconception of what a portrait should look like or references materials. It's literally painting from my mind, sometimes it can come out quite dark and depending on what I have been feeling that week or particular period of time. I've found the best medium to use for portraiture is oil paint or a acrylic based paint mixed with a gloss gel to give the impression of an oil based paint. The best thing about paint is it can change so quickly you can add water and different colors to your palette and come up with millions of different shades of one color and colors that you simply cannot buy.

 

 

What kind of projects are you working on / do you wish you were working on? How do you get inspired?

At the moment I've just taken a break from acrylic painting and currently working on a few portraits for myself. I haven't painted for myself in nearly 6 months or had a deadline so its nice to take it easy. I'd really like to exhibit at metro gallery in Armadale and look into more offshore exhibitions in NYC. I have a list of people I would love to collaborate with, some street artists and eventually find another tattoo parlor to work in.

Do you check out a lot of artists' work on the internet?

Yes, I'm always looking through gallery websites and blogs for upcoming exhibitions. I'm on Instagram looking at all kinds of inspirational content and I do apply for competitions online. Artwork looks totally different on the internet as opposed to exhibitions or in its environment. It's really cool to see new artists and people creating all different types of things on the internet. Its definitely the best invention since sliced bread.

 

Back to the show!

 

Luke's Facebook page.

Instagram: @hickfordsocks