A Land of Bears, Blood and Broad Smiles with Luke Chueh
Luke's been around for a while, when we first saw him we were intrigued with his self-harm bears and the meaning behind them. He managed to fit The Collective into his busy calender and for a short time, we sat down and had a chat...
RD: Hey there Luke great to finally nail yeh down, could you tell us where your from and describe yourself by using words that start with the letter G.
Guy, Goofy, Good-hearted, sometimes Gullible, and aspiring for Greatness.
RD: Could you describe your art to us the way you see it please?
Cute, cartoon inspired characters, reinserted into sad/tragic situation. Paintings that play with contrasting elements (dark & light, cute & brute), and are designed to communicate to the audience.
RD: How did you come up with the characters you use, and has the self-harm bear got a name?
The bear came about from personal history. But the major inspiration for the bear came from the nick-names my friend Jaime and I gave each other: Luke-Bear and Jaime-Bear. The story behind this has some rather iniquitous elements, so I won't get in to that.
The design for the characters came from my research into cartoon characters and mascots. I found myself mostly referring to Hello Kitty, whose features are limited to three "dots". Two eyes, and a nose. I felt that thus simplicity gave Hello Kitty it's universal & timeless appeal, so I incorporated that into the design of my bear.
RD: On your Blog you say "tragically raised in Fresno", why is that and do you feel where you live inspires your art?
Fresno is basically a city situated between San Francisco and Los Angeles (3.5 hours away both ways). It used to be an agricultural area, and was a bastion for upper to middle class white trash (caucasians with money and trailer trash mentalities - not that there's anything wrong with living, or growing up in a trailer park... I think you know what I mean). It was NOT a easy place for sensitive Asian kids like my sister and I to grow up. Of course, it was this tragic upbringing that also helped fuel my ambitions and later became part of the fodder for career as a painter... Funny how things work out.
RD: Have you tried spraying on the streets, we think your work would go down a treat.
No, I can't say I have. However, recently, I've been hanging out with colleagues with street art / graffiti backgrounds, and have been invited to take part in the painting of our friends wall. I'll post the results on my blog (most likely sometime in June).
With the exception of prints and toys, I've been trying some new things with a couple of different companies. A watch design with Vannen (I might have something new with soon, something that's a little more "Luke Chueh"), pillows with THIS IS A LIMITED EDITION, I'm working on iPhone case with Japan LA, developing a project with Loyal Subjects, and I'm developing some shirt designs with Jack Threads and KusoPop. Basically, I'm working with a lot of my friends, and trying to create products spread across all kinds of price ranges. It's important to me that there be something available in the $20 and under range.
RD: Have you got any hobbies, do you skate or surf for instance?
Right now my life is pretty much consumed with the producing and consuming of art. When I step out of the house it's usually art related, whether it be someones show, buying art supplies, or meeting with friends on projects. I guess I lead a pretty boring existence these days.
RD: Give us a run down on any exhibitions you have coming up and could you give us an insight into the Cannibal Flower Show - we saw it on the programme 'LA Ink' once but don't know loads about it?
For the rest of the year, I've got nothing but group shows lined up with Corey Helford Gallery, Copro Gallery, Gallery 1988 and many. There's a bunch of art fairs coming up like ComicCon International in July, and Miami Art Basel in December. In 2012 I've got plans for the New York Art Fair in March, a 2 person show in Las Vegas (with my friend Juan Muniz) and a show at Rotofugi in October 2012 (with my friend J*Ryu). My next solo show in Los Angeles won't be until 2013.
I'm also working on my third toy with Munky King.
I'm happy to hear that Cannibal Flower got mentioned in LA Ink! (Do you know what episode or season it was? Is there any way I can see the footage on YouTube or Hulu?)
Cannibal Flower was an incredibly important organization for me. The shows were integral in helping me find my voice and giving me my start as an artist. Though I haven't shown with them for years now, I have nothing but fond things to say about Cannibal Flower, and I hope they're doing well.
RD: Dang, sorry Dude not sure about that...can any of our readers help??
RD: Finally, if you had one wish that would come true, what would it be?
This sounds totally hokey, but I honestly think I would wish for world peace.
RD: Ha ha, we know that was a crap question...
Thanks for your time Dude and keep us in the loop-"all the best"!
Get to know Luke Chueh and his art better look...Here.