Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? My name is Luke Chueh. I am Chinese American, raised in Fresno, schooled at Cal Poly San Luis Obipso's Art & Design Department (Graphic Design Concentration). I'm currently residing in Southern California, and I'm a Pisces.
Q: What came first, toys, designing or painting? The drawing came first (age 5), followed with the designing (age 18). Painting kicked in full-time when I moved to Los Angeles (age 30) though I messed around with paint throughout college, and toys followed 3 years later (age 33)
Q: Who and what are your main influences? My ideas come from life experience (both my own and my friends and family), but my visual influence came from my colleagues and my meagre understanding of art history. Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami, and the entire Superflat scene were incredibly influential.
Q: Can you talk briefly about the process of creating one of your paintings? I start by developing my ideas as a pencil sketch. I scan that sketch in and resize and compose it in Photoshop. I break the Photoshop image into tiles, print them up, and reassemble them with scotch tape. I choose a background colour and texture, usually based on the narrative idea behind the painting. I then trace the tiled image onto the painted background. Then I paint the character, ink it with Indian ink, and finish it off with a matte or "satin" varnish.
Q: Do you always paint the bear? I usually turn to the bear as my main character, but I also mix it up with other cute animal characters such as rabbits, monkeys, chickens, etc.
Q: What makes a good day in the studio? Good weather, fun projects, and good tunes.
Q: How many hours a week do you spend in the studio? At least 4 to 5 hours a day. More hours are spent as I get closer to a major deadline.
Q: Have you ever done 3D work on a large scale? This latest show (Contemporary Art at Corey Helford Gallery) features a 6 foot version of my 'Possessed' sculpture. Its sculpted by Burbank based Jedidia (no last name). The finished piece will be made from steel reinforced fibreglass.
Q: How do you spend your time when taking a break from painting? Movies, video games, books, friends, and food.
Q: Three things you couldn’t be without? Food & water, paper & pencil, and a warm bed.
Q: If you didn't paint for a living what would you do? I'd probably be pursuing a career as a graphic designer.
Q: You inspire so many people around the globe how does this affect you and your work? It's absolutely flattering. I'm always touched when people share with me their remakes of my work, or paintings inspired by my stuff. I'm not exactly sure how or if it directly influences me, but it definitely motivates me to keep working.
Q: Greatest Joy? Being with friends and family.
Q: Greatest sadness? Loneliness, or specifically, being alone against my will.
Q: As an artist what message do you carry? Hope through hopelessness
Q: Advice for young or not so young emerging artists? Go out to shows, and see what works/sells. Also, if you want to make a career out of this, start by pricing your work as low as possible. Sure you'd like to sell your work for tons of money, but the fact of the matter is no one will willingly throw that kind of money at an unestablished artist. If you're in a group show, you'll quickly realize that that little red dot is much more impressive than whatever you're pricing the piece for.
Q: The paintings for your upcoming show are quite different from previous shows, tell us about them? Before this show, the paintings I created employed my characters a vehicle to communicate an emotive narrative. With this show, I chose to use my characters in an iconic fashion. Basically, the work in this show is inspired by my personal understanding of contemporary art.
Q: Does Art Matter? Yes... Unless we're living in a post apocalyptic hellscape. In that case art probably wouldn't matter much.
Q: Favourite medium? I usually use heavy acrylic paint and Indian ink on wood panel. I'm also love graphite on paper.
Q: What kind of art interests you? "Lowbrow" / "Pop Surrealism", "Superflat", street art / graffiti, surrealism, renaissance art, and modern art.
Q: Dead artists? Salvador Dali, Michelangelo, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch, Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko, and Francisco Goya, to name a handful.