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Luke Happ
Visual Artist

Artist Portfolio

Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement
“I received my BFA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY Purchase in 2015. At the moment I am currently trying to build my portfolio to eventually apply to residencies. My overall goal as an artist is to eventually receive my MFA and teach at the college level.

My artwork deals with how environment affects our cognitive perception. Different environments seem to be easily defined as separate. But it is when you try to specifically define where one space transitions into another, that one realizes that dichotomies of space are constructs of perception. I have an interest in space and distance and how these constructs are relative to one’s fixed position both physically and psychologically.

One of the main concerns that I have with my artwork at the moment is that my work does not feel very cohesive as my interest in certain subjects fade very quickly. I find it difficult to find a common thread between my various works of art. Stylistically I sometimes feel that I do not have enough variety in my mark making and that my finished pieces can sometimes feel over/under worked.”

3 responses on "Painting & Drawing Portfolio Art Critique: Luke Happ"

  1. Luke, I have some of the same concerns as you do, where I just want to have a cohesive body of work already! But I also agree with Professor Lieu that this is going to take a lot of time, and it’s okay if it’s not like that right now. I think it’s [pleasantly] clear that you are studying many different artists as you make these paintings. Have you read any books on the science and/or philosophy of looking? Some of my favorite authors on the subject are Oliver Sacks and Wittgenstein. Also, take this with a grain of salt as I am biased, but I think you would really benefit from using different marker sizes. The color is well developed, but the drawings suffer from looking really tight and contained compared to your paintings because you have to fill so much space with a tiny tip. Also, using different marker sizes especially the fattest markers feels a lot more like painting. Keep it up, I love what you do!

  2. The final two pieces, the interior and the abstract landscape withe the turquoise figure, are wonderful. I think those show the most successful culmination of the style you’re working to discover, and they show me a world that is exciting, new, and one I want to see more of! The marker portraits have some nice application qualities of the medium but they do seem different in the direction you’re going for – they seem more like studies in comparison to your other work. I think it’s the vibrancy of color: in your most successful pieces, your complex and otherworldly color palette really plays well together – you know when to incorporate subtlety and when to let certain colors really pop! But for the marker, it doesn’t have the same level of complexity. Perhaps working on colored paper could give you the cohesive look between mediums you’re looking for.
    I’d love to see you explore figures within a space, interior and exterior both, going forward. With your statement about environment and perception, that seems to be a great next step and would produce work that would connect your portfolio more cohesively!

  3. I agree with Professor Lieu that your landscape paintings are very accomplished, striking and complex… I wouldn’t discourage you from continuing to pursue those interior scenes, though, as they have a bizarre, uncanny quality to them – from the vibrant colors, to the hyper-rendering of the furniture, to the blending of linear perspectives – that I find really compelling. My favorite pieces in this portfolio are the ones that really overtly blend the two spaces, and it’s obvious that that is where your interest lies; not only from your artist statement but from your meticulous attention to detail. The fact that that interest can be read and shared by the viewer, before they even look at your write-up, makes it clear to me that this is something worth pursuing!

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