Returning to canvas – Spotlight on artist Erika Luukas
See more of Erika’s work at: www.erikaluukas.artweb.com
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I have few regrets in life and believe we all live and learn, but, giving up my place in art school as a teenager is one of the few I do have. Whilst I have generally had artistic flair in most things I have done, my life evolved in a different direction. However, now that my two lads have grown up, I have bucketloads of very clearly pent up creativity bursting out onto my first canvases in over 20 years!
How and when did you start out as an artist?
I would say as a teenager and again very recently, with a long and canvasless gap in between. Having said that, my creativity came out in other ways particularly through my work with the environment where I was able to design at landscape scales. I ran a small consultancy for a while under the strapline ‘Ecology by Design’ so had a very practical outlet for my creative nature.
What training did you have?
High school….which back then didn’t really allow for the development of individual style. I got a good ‘O’level in ‘art’ and was accepted into art school but declined my place in favour of a YTS in graphic design and reprographics – this wasn’t a good artistic career move!
What has been your best creative achievement so far?
Finding ‘my own style’ and the realisation that others may enjoy looking at my work as much as I enjoy creating it.
What’s your favourite quote?
‘The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it’ – Terry Pratchett
Who is your favourite artist?
Emma S Davis – the fabulous Scottish artist
What are you aiming for?
To have my work admired or critisized by a wider audience than family or friends and, hopefully, potentially, make a career move into full time artist.
How will you get there?
Let the creativity flow, develop some collections and exhibit, exhibit, exhibit….
Is anything holding you back?
My day job that pays the mortgage! This means time is limited but I now refuse to feel guilty at leaving a sink full of dishes for a few more hours.
You and art
What sort of reactions do you get to your work? are you ever surprised?
So far the reaction to my work has been fabulous and yes, I have been surprised by how well it has been received.
It is due to this reaction by family and friends that I have been persuaded to exhibit and sell my work. I enjoy what I create and I can only hope others enjoy it too.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
In terms of hours working on a canvas, the 40×40’s have taken about 24 hours. I think I’m probably a quick worker but that’s because once I have the concept I tend to work on it solidly, have a bad habit of not taking breaks and will work into the wee hours. I am however like this with many things, not just my art – a bit of an ‘all or nothing’ girl.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
It varies – but because I don’t like distractions whilst I’m working I tend to put on the Radio – 6Music or Radio4 depending on the time of day.
What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?
I hope to put on my first exhibit in the new year and wait to see what new adventures might lie ahead.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Charles Darwin – for his beautifully inquiring mind and his profound contribution to the science of evolution.
Terry Pratchett – for his satirical genius.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
My work is inspired mostly by combining wordplay, folklore and science. The natural world has a significant influence on my interpretations and I love to work on personalised concepts which allow me to weave in emotional and private meaning.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
‘Garener’s Worlds’ because the composition, inspiration and back story work so well together and they also convey my own strong beliefs and feelings regarding our evolution from space dust. It is a very emotionally charged piece of work.
an artist’s advice
Have you got any advice for those starting out as an artist?
Always put something down on paper, canvas or the even a wall. It is easier to work from something rather than nothing…let your imagination evolve from this. Your finished work may not resemble the original concept but you need a story before you can edit it.