We’re stoked to partner with artist Luke Pelletier on our event look and feel in Long Beach this summer. Luke's art will be featured in our Long Beach logo, on our courses, and in our upcoming summer merchandise line. Come out to Long Beach, June 28 – July 1, to see more of the rad art we have been working on together!
Luke Pelletier grew up in western North Carolina and currently works and resides in Los Angeles. He graduated with a BFA in fine art from the School of Art Institute Chicago in 2015.
Living in a tourist town for much of his life, Pelletier has been heavily influenced by the seasonal economies and the multi-level relationships between tourists and locals. Much of Pelletier's art blurs the lines between celebrating and condemning a culture that agrees to be taken advantage of while equally taking advantage of other cultures. His work is filled with personal anecdotes, dark humor, both dualities & contradictions through scenes of decaying paradise. Pelletier uses photography, painting, sculpture, social practice, and writing to explore his moral dilemmas of romance, addiction, tourist culture, masculinity, and Americana.
Where are you from? What role did skateboarding play in your childhood? What influence has skateboarding had on your art?
I grew up in Brevard, North Carolina. My older brother used to work at the skate park so I'd be there everyday with all my friends. My band also used to play at the park. So it was like a second home to us. It had a huge impact on my art. Just being around all the board graphics was always really inspiring.
How did you get into art? Did you ever dream of making a living being an artist?
I was always into art, but I really got into it through my band. I'd design all the merch and the flyers for shows. Then I started doing it for other bands. Growing up, I had no idea someone could make a living as an artist. So it's all been a super pleasant surprise.
What brought you to California? Los Angeles in particular?
I wanted to live in LA since I was a kid. I think that came from the bands that I liked growing up, movies, and being into skateboarding. I just seemed like a creative paradise to me. In a lot of ways, it sort of is. I mainly moved here for the art scene. LA has a bunch of killer galleries that show artists I like.
What has been the biggest inspiration for your art?
I pull a lot of ideas from just living day to day, but my trips to the flea market have always been a place where I draw a lot of inspiration. I like the people, the old advertising, and just antiques in general.
Describe your creative process.
It's all over the place. I'm constantly switching between mediums, but most days I'm working on music, graphics, paintings, sketches, or just jotting down Ideas for future projects.
You said you are inspired by mid-century advertising, what about the aesthetic is so attractive to you?
I love the way they used to spot color print everything. Back before everything was printed with CMYK. They'd always limit the color pallets because of printing limitations. That stuff has had a huge impact on the way I put together my color pallets. I also love the bold fonts and use of text in advertising.
What are you listening to these days?
I've been listening to the new Kanye record a lot, Colter Wall, The Hold Steady, Billy Joel, and Willie Nelson.
You play music; describe your relationship with your art and the music you make.
I've written songs since I learned how to play. So I'm always writing and working on something. A lot of the time, I work on songs while I'm waiting for paint to dry. I use a lot of the lyrics in my paintings when they fit. They've just always been connected to me.
Where can we listen to your music?
What past projects has been your favorite to work on? What is your dream project?
I did a solo exhibition a while back where I built out rooms and designed a bar. That was definitely my favorite project, but it was only a temporary thing. My dream project is to design a full bar some day from top to bottom. I'd love to do all the branding, design the drink stirrers, paint the walls, design the furniture, all of it.
How did this collaboration with Dew Tour come about? How do you approach a project like this?
I was actually painting a mural at the last Dew Tour and I met Scott Seiver who was painting next to me. I was telling him how much I liked the creative for the event and how I'd like to work on an event of that scale some day. It turns out that he was the creative director for Dew Tour. A few months passed and he hit me up to do it. I've been lucky that Scott is super organized and knows what he needs as far as all the art and assets go. It's been a lot of back and forth and phone calls to get it done. Heaps of sketches. It's been a lot of fun.
How would you define success in collaboration, like this one with Dew Tour.
I think it'll be successful if the event is fun and looks good. We're still wrapping things up, and it's hard to tell how things will turn out until you're at the actual event, but I think it'll be a good one for sure!
Where did the inspiration for the skating gator and skeleton come from?
I've been drawing the skeleton in a Hawaiian shirt for a while now. It's a "rest when I'm dead" type thing. I've been into alligators for a long time. They're my favorite animals. So they end up in my work a lot.
What are the similarities between skateboarding and art?
They're both creative endeavors for sure. I think the overlap between art and skating is especially strong out here in California. A lot of skaters are artists as well, or end up being artists. I think skating just attracts creative people.
You'll be doing a mural at Dew Tour in the lagoon area. What do you have in store for that?
I'm actually not sure yet. I'm still working on the sketches for it. So It'll be a surprise!
What other shows do you have coming up this year? What galleries are you currently showing at and what's next for you in 2018?
I was just in the group show at Superchief Gallery in LA. And I'll be showing with Antonio Colombo Gallery at an art fair in Miami in December for Art Basel. So most of my energy will go into making work for that.