Luke Forsyth

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I am from Northern California – a small town called Arcata, CA – but now I live and work in Los Angeles.
When did you relocate to LA? What’s your favorite part of living in LA?
I moved from Portland, OR to Los Angeles in the winter of 2014. The greatest part about Los Angeles is living in such a diverse cultural hub with a vibrant and accepting art scene.
What necessities do you require when making your art?
I need a few types of audio at my fingertips and listen to the radio (news, jazz, and Top 40 mostly) and then podcasts and sometimes I listen to TV or movies that I rent from the library.
Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Blue Crush is my favorite movie.
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
There was this really utopian sci-fi mural at the community pool I used to love and think about a lot. Diving lessons in 1991.
Are you influenced by any author or non-visual artist?
Octavia Butler wrote speculative fiction as a black woman in Pasadena and had a hell of a world view. She was a top tier sci-fi writer whose work has influenced all the greats – Phillip D. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, and Thomas Pynchon – to bend more towards social justice and overall human awareness.
What’s your favorite Octavia Butler story?
I think the Parable series is the most Octavia. I do like Bloodchild as it’s her first, but thought the expansive world building in Parable to be a cautious and predictive narrative to be very important in today’s geopolitical climate.
What are some themes you find recurring in your pieces, intentional or not?
Domesticity, interiority, anthropomorphism, memory, and transcendence.
When did you begin your current practice?
I moved into a new studio this summer and started painting bigger and – can I say – bolder? More expressive and intuitive.
How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
I think that’s a tough one. I have been working very hard the past couple years and have seen great evolution. There was a period of very hard-edged abstraction and I am loosing up from that and allowing more play and chance back into the work. So perhaps the future will be looser and more immediate.
Describe a typical day in the studio for you.
I observe the space. Do a little clean up and then normally do a quick drawing before I start painting. I like going for long stretches and need to establish a vibe early on so that I’m comfortable sitting and standing for long stretches.
How important is spontaneity in your art?
I think that my original drawings feel incredibly spontaneous or unfettered. I usually start my process with a quick, inhibited drawing and piggyback off that original, spontaneous sketch to create multiple versions of the original, each becoming more complex as I go along. I usually revisit the original drawing at the end of the process to fold some of the initial elements into the final composition.
Are there any aspects of your process that are left to chance?
I feel like I am good at building chance into the final composition by allowing my sense of color to take over. The finally composition is always reflecting the unresolved moments that the original sketch produced originally, but given a wider range to explore and expand.
There was a period of very hard-edged abstraction and I am loosing up from that and allowing more play and chance back into the work. So perhaps the future will be looser and more immediate. — Luke Forsyth
How do you choose your materials?
I have a well established relationship with many of the materials and always try to challenge myself. I just learned that oil pastel and watercolor is a good combo.
How does your choice of material inform the final piece?
Pushing materials to appear as something else always excites me when I see it’s done in others’ works. I think allowing my palette to wander and embrace whatever materials the piece requires lets me give over to a more spontaneous type of working.
Do you draw from life?
I love drawing from life but don’t often have them enter into final compositions.
Where do you find your day-to-day inspiration?
Youtube, museums, the library, everyday objects, Jerry Gagosian.
Do you see going to galleries and museums as an obligation or a delight?
I always go to see as much work as possible and expand my view of what art is. It’s very important to be engaged on a local and an international level.
What tangible objects or intangible moments are you most interested in representing through your works?
When did you become interested in chairs as a subject matter?
I have always been attracted to everyday objects and I think the fascination formed my first or second year in college (2001/2002).
Did you go to art school?
I went to UC Santa Cruz and was told to stop painting and embrace Digital Work. It was not my direction and I went to Humboldt State University to finish where traditional painting and drawing techniques were paramount.
What’s one of your favorite objects you own?
I have an old rocking chair from my dad’s mother.
Is there any artwork on display in your studio?
Oh, no. I am pretty clean when I paint but painting is a messy gig and I leave my artwork for beautifying my home. Better safe than sorry.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
Social media
What’s next for you?
2020 is the year of scale.

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