We had the good fortune of connecting with Luke Austin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luke, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As a visual artist I know that most of what I make is going to be unsuccessful. I want to be learning with each piece, and how you learn is by making things that are not going to work at first. What you’re exercising when you take risks is your intuition and it’s like a muscle you need to train. These past few years I have worked on training this muscle through risk taking and have never felt as close to my work, really seen myself in my work, as I do now. Not every piece is perfect, far from it but what I get out of it is clarity. When you overthink things you’re losing what makes you special as an artist. However when you’re constantly pivoting and shooting from this hip you’re able to see yourself clearer through a lack of mediation in your decisions. It has been incredibly liberating to work this way. I had always been an indecisive person who thinks ideas to death, but practicing risk taking in my studio helped me practice it in all aspects of my life. Risk taking doesn’t mean potential failure, what it means is that you’re exercising your intuition and as makers that is our greatest weapon.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In my practice I put an emphasis on examining the work to better understand it. I dedicate a lot of studio time to figuring out any connections between past work, things that have been on my mind, etc. with what I am making now. There’s always something new to find. The sub/preconscious shows itself in mysterious ways and I find that endlessly fascinating. It is almost spiritual to pick up on motives or ideas that were not at the forefront of your mind when in the process. Through close examination of my practice I have been able to find what really scratches that itch nothing else can. And the best part is, is that the work is never done. As long as you are making, there is something new to look back on. This is something that is always pulling me into the studio and is what helps me feel so close to my work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My go to spots in LA are always the galleries and museums. I’d plant my day around them and see sights and get food with art seeing as pitstops. I’d start with the Culver City strip of galleries like Blum and Poe and Luis De Jesus, getting coffee and breakfast then walking around. then head over to west Hollywood and wonder around the streets getting some trendy salad for lunch. Then Id mozy on over to the Hammer museum and hang around their courtyard and exhibitions getting dinner in Westwood.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My professors in my undergrad were all huge inspirations and I owe so much to them. In particular Elizabeth Folk deserves a shoutout. She always pushed me to go outside my comfort zone, away from what I knew and into a place where I would have to be think on my feet. She is a critical thinker, great teacher and an amazing artist who I am very grateful to have gotten to work under.