Today we’d like to introduce you to Luke Whitlatch.
Luke, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in Casper Wyoming in 1977. My father was a philosopher and a minister and my mom was an art teacher, both were also great artists. I had the luxury of being brought up in a household where art was important and supported. Being in Wyoming, I was surrounded by a very different type of art scene than the one we have here in Los Angeles. It was very much so rooted in Native American and traditional western art. The massive expanse of space and the lack of population was something that I will always find peace in. Wyoming’s landscape and its emptiness inform my paintings to this day. I attended the University of Wyoming after high school to study painting. The art program there was heavy on craft, technique, and fundamentals. Ideas about composition space and color were at the forefront. I felt the need to branch out from my insular niche and learn more about contemporary art, so I moved to Los Angeles to attend Otis College of Art and Design in 1998. At Otis, I got an amazing theoretical art education from a fantastic cast of artists and teachers. The program was eye-opening to say the least. I graduated in 2001 with a BFA in painting and art theory. Since graduation, I have up kept a daily painting practice and been showing my work frequently here in LA as well as in New York and even a few shows back in Wyoming. The contrasting combination of a life in Wyoming and a current life in Los Angeles has given me a very unique perspective on abstract painting. I find that painting has been a great voice for me to discuss the differences and find my peace in this overcrowded city.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
These paintings are about what you thought you saw. They are visual representations of myth and storytelling. Throughout the rich history of abstract painting, painters have been able to use ambiguity to represent the non-visual. These works are rooted in traditions of storytelling and supernatural experiences. Color theory, surface and composition act as vehicles for telling visual tales of indescribable moments in time. The spiritual nature of color and mark making allows the viewer to have an expanded experience of a specific tall tale or embellished story. The subject matter often slightly violent or jarring, is frozen in time to create an intense static feeling. Information and myths that are passed from person to person often create a beautiful platform for hyperbole and personal reflection. The paintings are as much about my experience of making them as they are about the original subject, and beyond that they are just as much about the viewer’s interpretation of information. Having a reverence for the history of painting as well as traditions in composition and color allow me to create a specific mood for the story to be told. The many facets of an abstract image allows the story to become part of everyone that views these visual stories. I want the viewer to carry a part of the story with them and make it their own, tell somebody about it, or just think about what they may have seen in the imagery. I want the ghost of the work to follow you around for a bit.
How can artists connect with other artists?
I find that one of the beauties of painting for me is the time that I spend alone, however having a good peer group of artist friends around is very helpful. Going to openings and art events is a good way to make some connections. Trading studio visits with other artists have always been a great experience. For me talking to someone else about their practice is a great way to learn things about my own mode of working. There are a lot of great artists in LA and in my experience, most of them are willing to trade visits. Mostly I feel a reverence for painting and have much respect for good painters. It is an age-old static practice that requires thought and intention. Community has always played a part in my history as a painter. Painting is life to me and if I am not out being engaged in interesting activities outside of painting, my practice falls stagnate. So my advice would be go skiing, go off-roading, go to some metal shows, and realize that art is much bigger than a small elitist group of chosen individuals.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
The best way to see the work in person is to check my website for upcoming and current shows. I also love to have people by the studio. One of my favorite activities is to sit down and discuss the history and future of painting over a beer or two. I also believe wholeheartedly that paintings need to be seen in person, so if you would like to see any of my works in person in between shows, contact me for a studio visit. The best way to support my work is by looking and having an opinion. Painting is a polarizing practice, and the discussion surrounding is what helps it progress. Come to my shows, come to my studio, tell me what you think.
- Website: lukewhitlatchart.com
- Phone: 3102544594
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: lukewhitlatch
Robbie Bruzus, David Mayerhofer.