Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Artist of the Week

Lucas Myers

In each medium there are moments of pure inspirational flow, and there are moments of stagnation or indecision. Many times the two moments can follow one another very closely, and amplifying the overall affect. There are times when you feel that you are on a certain path, and end up creating something completely different. It takes a unique artist to have the ability to move with these changes and adapt their style of painting. One artist who has the ability to change styles and follow his internal creative flow is Chicago artist, Lucas Myers. One look at his website and you can tell that Lucas has many different styles that he can create in (landscape, still life, murals, installations, and even more abstract pieces). In his interview Lucas talks about his transition between styles and what he is looking to accomplish.

Orange Alert (OA): I noticed that you utilize several difference style of painting. Do you have a favorite or is the one you are currently working with?
Lucas Myers (LM): I don't think that I have any true favorite. I really enjoy whatever seems to be pushing me forward at the time. I like working in a free and experimental way and then coming back with a more analytic approach and editing. Sometimes this editing process continues to tighten and clean the image until most of the more expressive and rugged elements are minimized. Sometimes there's only a bit of the analytic process and the finished works feel really jazzy, loose, and fresh. I look at the painting process as a conversation with the piece and you just build on your experiences. Style just helps communicate a certain feeling or idea.

OA: I am most fascinated by your Epicenter pieces. What is the theory behind those pieces, and can you tell a little about the creation process.
LM: I had just completed 2 paintings that were minimalized, highly textured landscapes ("71 No.1" and "71 No.2"). As I was working on what I thought would be "71 No. 3" I found it formulaic and uninspired. I was attempting to replicate these previous paintings. I wanted something different and fresh. I had been working with highly labored and textured surfaces and depictions of space versus cues of flatness within the constructs of landscape painting. I was working on this painting, heavy wet on wet oil paint and wax mediums and I carved a "riverbed" into the wet paint. This instantly pushed the flatness of the painting right into my face. I could now use the point and perspective grids to help contain and determine the structure of these organic color fields, freed of the limitations of illusionistic space. From the "Epicenters" also come the "Fractures" and more recently the "Flags". These are all what I would consider expressionist paintings. I'm looking for balance and dynamism. It is very much stream of consciousness, editing and clarification, stream again, back and forth until I find that balance that I want.

OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
LM: Richard Deibenkorn, Jasper Johns (just recently saw a show of his early work in DC), Robert Rauschenberg, Anselm Keifer, and Ed Hopper are some of my all time favorites. I've been influenced a lot by the abstract expressionists, as well as the the surrealists and the early 20th century modernists. I am a huge fan of contemporary artists and I constantly find inspiration and influence from them.

OA: What do you think of the current art scene in Chicago
LM: Chicago has been very good to me so far. It seems to be very open and there is a lot of quality work. Chicago has a good range of different work within the galleries and alternative spaces. There are also lots of cafes and restaurants that are great places to show work. Chicago seems to have a lot of opportunities in the Public Art realm as well . Right now I'm working on a public mural with the Bloomingdale Mural Project in West Bucktown. It's been a great experience with the neighborhood really rallying around us. It's an exciting city to be at work in. There's a lot going on.

OA: Do you have a specific color palette that you work from? Do you consciously try to evoke a specific theme or emotion through use color or is that the responsibility of the images?
LM: I used a 4 color harmony palette (2 non-complimentary full chromatics, 2 non-complimentary half chromatics, tint and shade) when I was doing my landscapes in '97 and '98. I opened it up when I started the "Epicenters", but I usually stick to really rich primary hues. Cadmium Red Medium and Yellow Medium and Cobalt Blue. I also have a serious Yellow Ochre dependency. Tint and Shade. Everything else is fringe. I'm kinda on a Cerulean Blue kick as of late.

OA: What is next for Lucas Myers?
LM: I'm looking to take my work to a larger scale. I want to get more of my different styles to work within singular pieces. I will be doing making more political and social commentary with my work. I also look forward to doing lots more public pieces.

Bonus Questions:

OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
LM: Yes!! I was raised on the stuff. I prefer African and Arabic beans, definitely pressed. Dollop on Clarendon is my spot of choice.

OA: Do you listen to music while you work? Who are some of your favorites while working and in general?
LM: I do listen to a lot of stuff while I work. Some of my favorites are Tool, Clutch, Zappa, Fantomas, Mastodon, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Underworld, The Beatles, Deftones, John Coltrane, Bjork, and Beck. That's 13 of about 13,000.

For more information on Lucas Myers, please visit his website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is totally inspiring to me as an artist and potentially business owner. Beautiful work!