Luke Waller’s paintings depict scenarios personal to him via an altered reality, a redefined autobiography. His technique is realist whilst subject matter rooted in imagination which rouses the viewer’s own experiences when viewing.
Not shy to disclose the narrative behind each piece when asked however, he only hopes his artwork prompts a questioning of the scene by the viewer that is open to affiliation.
Luke Waller was born in London, 1985. He has recently relocated with his wife and son from London to live and work in Somerset.
In 2009, he graduated from a degree in Illustration at London College of Communication. Having painted since childhood, it was here he developed experience in a wider variety of fields and platforms illustrating concepts in pictorial, cinematic and sculptural forms.
Since graduating, this desire to experiment lead to a job in fashion; an influence still evident in his artwork today. Luke worked for i-D Magazine and then the photographer, Nick Knight at SHOWstudio where he was involved in aspects of film, photography and curation. The experience encouraged his desire to blur lines as an image maker whilst strengthen techniques such as photomontage; the starting-block for all Luke’s paintings.
At this time, Luke’s series of paintings titled ‘Frank’s Wild Years’, were featured on the BBC’s, The Culture Show, presenter and art historian, Andrew Graham-Dixon described them as 'very striking', and 'Hopper-esque'. This attention prompted Luke to focus on his own image-making; painting for himself, private commissions, collaborations and exhibitions at home in the UK and abroad.
Luke shows snapshots of a scene by combining imagery from a variety of media into a new composition before painting the piece. This disconnection allows him to express scenarios and relationships from his life whilst reserving a degree of obscurity.
1. What are you currently working on ?
Currently, I am working on a painting of my wife and son. Nikolai is three now and has grown up a lot over the past 9 months. I wanted to paint a memento of him at this age and where we are at as a family. Like many, 2020, has been a year of flux and transition for us and this artwork touches on that.
2. During lockdown, you decided to relocated from London to Somerset. Have you been inspired by your new environment ?
Yes, I suppose the new environment has inspired me. The process of relocation and sentiment in doing so has inspired me a lot more though. There are references to this re-settlement in this piece, I am working from now on and the next painting I have planned.
3. Do you spend a lot of time searching for the collages of pictures you do before you start your painting?
Forever, each piece is planned and composed by collaging images together. I'm always on the look-out for images to include in my paintings; in newspapers, advertising, fashion magazines, films, everywhere really. It is not a specific scene, pose or aesthetic I am looking for. I know what I like though and I know what I can use for a piece at some point. I have a large collection of images to work from which makes it both easier and harder when composing a piece.
4. Do the collages include many subjects such as fashion, travel, portraits, cities and so on?
Yes, many. The wide variety of subjects collaged together always paints a story for me but it can tel a complete different story for someone else...either way, I hope it tells a story to any of the viewers of my paintings.
My painting style is precise but in combining the characters and the location the way I do, the proportions of the characters next to the car might be a little off, or their shadow inaccurate in terms of the location of the sun in the sky for example. Although my paintings are realistic, the viewer may see these imperfections without knowing, like watching TV with someone's else glasses on or recounting a muddled memory that turns out to be a dream or a film they saw. That is the reality I paint.
5. Where do you mostly find your inspiration from ?
Friends, family, other artists and arts like music and film etc inspire me. Inspiration for my paintings however, stems from me, what is going on inside me and around me, my reactions to it and what has passed. Self-involved perhaps but my feelings towards a scenario in which I am affected is the premise for almost every painting I do.
6. What's most difficult to overcome as an artist would you say ?
People will check-in or check-out in terms of what you're up to as an artist. A painting might turn all the heads of one room and none of another. You have to remind yourself of that subjectivity a lot. Do what makes you feel good then look around to see if anyone is paying attention.