Andrew Luk‘s artwork, according to him, “takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues with philosophical undertones.” His ink work, the stark black contrasting against a pure white background, is bold and striking. The colors in his pieces are regimented and sporadic. Andrew is an artist who seems to transcribe his personal stances on life into each scribble, stroke and smudge. His work is edgy, evocative, fervent and charged. Attempting to decipher the implications of each piece is a welcomed challenge, but simply admiring a skillfully done work of art is a equally satisfying.
ArtVenue reached out to an artist who creates such immensely eye-catching work, and here is what he had to say.
“Take advice and criticism. Always question everything, including yourself.”
Home is where the heart is-where is home for you?
“Home” is in Hong Kong, where I grew up, but I don’t really like the concept of home being a place. It’s wherever you feel comfortable.
Favorite movie ever?
Oh man… Office Space, Fight Club and Return of the Jedi are all neck-and-neck for the title of favorite movie.
How and when did you discover yourself to be an artist?
Art was one of the few classes I enjoyed in high school. Over the years, I developed a passion for it – then when college application time came around, I started scaring my parents with art school pamphlets.
“I believe in lots and lots of practice, accepting criticism from people more knowledgeable than myself, and practicing some more.”
Where did you learn the skills and gain the knowledge you, as an artist, possess today?
There’s no such thing as “natural talent.” I believe in lots and lots of practice, accepting criticism from people more knowledgeable than myself, and practicing some more. I’ve had some really phenomenal guidance over the years. Having a short attention span helps a lot, too – I seem to switch mediums every two years or so, which forces me to constantly learn new techniques and add new skills to the arsenal.
The very first piece of work ever created by you – what/when was it, is it anything like the work you do now, and do you have it in your possession?
Wow…I really can’t remember that far back. I do remember drawing comics with friends in fifth grade. Our recurring character was this guy with spiked hair and a black eye. True to fifth-grade-boy-temperament, the comics involved a lot of stuff blowing up, and copious amounts of toilet humor.
“Take advice and criticism. Always question everything, including yourself. And eventually, you’ll get somewhere.”
Describe your art with 3 adjectives, a genre and a metaphor.
Adjectives: honest, seductive, enlightening.
Metaphor: like lamps blaring up just before the oil is gone.
What is your creative process, typically?
I usually work better at night. It’s easier to not worry about external stuff knowing that everyone else in the world is asleep. There’s something about a sunny day that begs me to run outside… Typically, I begin my day making coffee or tea, cleaning my work area, reading, or looking for inspiration on tmblr. When I go to sit down, I’m hell-bent on making something interesting or practicing in a sketchbook. Sleep deprivation is a tough one. I’ve had sleeplessness work with me and against me.
Dali utilized the state between wake and sleep to come up with great imagery, so I’m certain it has its merits…but conversely, it renders irritability, which leads down that very negative and very familiar, “…what the hell am I doing with my life” train of thought.
Music-wise, my ipod is usually on shuffle or im watching some movie or documentary I’ve seen a bajillion times. Films have the effect of preoccupying the left side of my brain, allowing me to be a lot more fluid with mucking around with ideas in sketchbooks. It’s the same calm you get from doodling in math class.
“Art isn’t supposed to make instantaneous revolutionary reforms on a grand scale, but instead awaken discussions of the individual opinion.”
Where/who do you gather and/or seek your inspiration from?
I get most of my inspiration from reading fiction, art by other people, movies, and the news. Al Jazeera and e-flux are both an overflowing source of contemplation. Recently, I’ve been delving into philosophy, and reading up of visual neuroscience.
What kind of art makes you happy from the inside out? What kind makes you wish you were in your happy place?
I am not of the view that art is subjective. Art isn’t supposed to make instantaneous revolutionary reforms on a grand scale, but instead awaken discussions of the individual opinion. It’s a subversive resource of exploring others’ psyche and changing their perspective. It can be as simple as bringing attention to a reflection in a puddle…or as complicated as portraying the intricacies of the human spirit.
Bukowski said, “You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.” Art that does this effectively invigorates me from the inside-out. Hackneyed art; everything from pretty pictures, to some Star Wars graphic tee, to a lousy landscape, drives me to wish I was in my happy place consistently: making and experiencing good art.
With that said, I don’t always consistently make good art.
Have you thought about branching out and experimenting with other mediums? What would you get your hands on?
I’ve recently picked up the camera again. I’d like to get my hands on video because it has the ability to bring the viewer closer to a realistic experience, equipped with visual motion and sound.
Where in this world or society would you like to see your art flourishing? What is its intended purpose, who is its intended audience?
I’d like to get into the gallery scene, but I also see some of my work being used as illustrations. My art is intended to make people reconsider who they are and what they want out of life. It has a momento mori aura and reflects what I find life to be about; a constant negotiation of morals, ideals, reality, disappointment and hope.
“I seem to switch mediums every two years or so, which forces me to constantly learn new techniques and add new skills to the arsenal.”
Pick your favorite piece on ArtVenue. What is it of, why is it your favorite and what does it mean to you?
My favorite piece is the piece titled Worked His Fingers Raw. It’s of a hand with bare-bone fingertips. I drew it for my dad. It was when I started my first full time job and was confronted with the true value of money; a lesson well learned. Suddenly, my dear old dad seemed less like that unpleasant jackass of my teen years, and more like a caring father.
What is some advice you could give to budding artists, hopeful to make a name for themselves or looking to build a portfolio?
Practice, practice, practice. Lock yourself up in the studio or bedroom, and just work at it day after day. Then, show it to people who know your venue; your realm. Take advice and criticism. Always question everything, including yourself. And eventually, you’ll get somewhere.
ArtVenue would like to thank Andrew for allowing us some of his time and thoughts. We are thrilled to have him on ArtVenue – welcome to the family!