Luke Pelletier is the guy you wish you grew up with. Skilled and talented in many ways, Luke's outgoing personality and "be kind" mentality has made him a popular figure during the last year that he's lived and worked in Los Angeles. His most important show to date, "If it floats" opens this Saturday at New Image Art Gallery. For the last two weeks, Luke along with a group of his close friends and family have helped to transform New Image into something only this breakthrough artist could imagine...
Can you share some of your inspirations with us?
I really like flea markets. Roadside tourist attractions. Music. Pinball machines. Toys. Old advertisements. Anything like that really.
Favorite cartoon as a kid? Favorite as of lately?
I think the first cartoon I was ever REALLY into was KaBlam! I loved melt man. haha and lately, I’ve been watching Rick and Morty. It’s SO GOOD!
Do you remember what initially sparked your interest with art?
I didn’t really know much about art until I went to college, but before that, I was doing all the flyers and merch for the band that I was in. That definitely started it. Then I started painting and I got hooked!
We’ve read captions about your father being a blacksmith, where did you grow up?
I grew up in western North Carolina. It was a real small factory/tourist town. Growing up in the south is a trip. It’s just another world from LA.
How would you describe your work to someone who can’t see it?
Hahaha I think I tried to describe my work to Shepard Fairy the other day and made a COMPLETE fool out of myself. It’s really hard to articulate something visual. I don’t think I could.
We're really into the way you incorporate captions and the date with your name on your artwork, is that something you've always done?
Not always, but I’ve been doing it for a while now. I used to put the year on my paintings, but there was a time when I was painting like 100 paintings a week. and it became hard for me to tell the sequence I was making them in. So I started putting everyday on everything I worked on. It started as a way for me to stay organized, but now it’s definitely part of my aesthetic.
Besides constructing and painting amazing pinball machines and interactive dart boards what other projects are you working on?
Honestly, I’m making a TON of new interactive sculptures/installations for my new solo show, If It Floats… at New Image Art on the 20th, but I’m trying to keep them a surprise for the opening. I love making work that you can engage with physically though.
What was it like moving from Florida, to North Carolina, to study in Chicago then to later come to Los Angeles?
Honestly, It’s a trip. Florida was real slow and hot when I was young. North Carolina was a little slower, but I had bands and skateboarding to keep me busy. Chicago was sort of a bummer. I loved the school, but I hated the weather. I love LA. The energy is really productive out here. Everyone is working on something.
Los Angeles is the city of _____________ .
Can you tell us about your band the See Ya Laters?
Yeah! I’m in it with my two buddies, Matt and John. They moved out here from North Carolina with me. We play goofy-surfy-indie-pop stuff. I play guitar and sing. We actually have a new record coming out pretty soon!
There's a "thing" about certain artists where they have their own particular rituals they go through while creating art, what are yours?
I watch TV while I paint. Like all the time. It’s always going. So I wend up watching a lot of bad shows. I think I’m about to finish the OC. haha Other than that, I just try to keep it fresh. I’ll paint for a bit, work on a song, walk around the house, got to the beach, make some graphics for people, or whatever come up. I like variety for sure.
When you start a new piece do you intend to finish it in one sitting or do you space it out and know that you will continue to work on it for some time?
I don’t ever try to finish anything in a set amount of time, but I definitely try to finish something once I start it. Paintings rarely take me more than a week.
Besides being an artist do you have another dream job?
Oh yeah! Bar owner, mini golf course designer, make some cartoons, casinos, I don’t know. haha I like making things that don’t end up in galleries. so I’d like to do more of that. This projects are just wicked hard to get going.
Who are some of your favorite artists making work today? Who gets your creative juices flowing for your own work?
Right now, my girlfriend! Kristen Liu-Wong. Its just rad to watch an artist so closely. She get's me excited to get to work in the studio. We're pretty productive together.
Since you're not originally from LA we'll hope that in your last few years living here that you've become accustomed to the taco life in Los Angeles, can you tell us where you go for your favorite taco?
There’s these deep fried shrimp tacos on Venice beach that I always get when I’m there. I don’t know the name of the spot, but it’s run by these two Asian ladies. They’re super sweet!
What's next for you after this show at New Image?
Tons of stuff! I'm working on a cartoon. I'm going to Prague. Releasing a new record. A new artist book! Just heaps of stuff! haha
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