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Having whetted your Aussie appetite with our Eamo interview last week, we thought we’d treat you with an insight into another of our favourite artists from the other side of the world, Luke Feldman. Known for his sexy ladies and smooth vector-splashed canvasses under the pseudonym of Skaffs, we chatted to him about skatedecks, sketching and his brand new book, Chaff n’ Skaffs.
Hello Luke, and finally welcome to TC, it’s been a long time coming! How are you doing today?
G’day! I’m doing well thanks.
For those out there who aren’t familiar with your stuff, could you sum up yourself in 3 easy-to-follow steps?
1. SKAFFS is the name of the collection of artwork that includes skatedecks, prints, original artwork, giant vinyl adhesives, toys, books and animations.
2. Probably best known for the vibrant colours and bizarre characters
3. Oh, and of course the sexy chicks…
An example of the Skaffs stylee
You recently visited our shores here in the UK, what did you think of London?
London is awesome! The people are great, the architecture is amazing and the culture is very interesting. I could definitely live in London!
What does a usual day-in-the-life of Skaffs consist of?
One thing that is great about the world of SKAFFS is that nothing is “usual”. I get to travel a lot to do artist signings, live paintings and exhibitions. And I tend to work on multiple projects at one time whether it is a commission, preparing for an exhibition, or working on the next SKAFFS project.
Luke at work
You’ve done quite a few skatedecks now. Do you actually see anyone using them as skateboards or, as I would, does everybody hang them up on the wall as a piece of art?
Most of the decks are purchased by collectors who want to hang them up on the wall. I’m a skateboarder as well so I tend to put them to use!
Almost all of your work focuses on female characters. Is there a particular reason for that?
It actually didn’t start out that way. My work is based on symmetry, curves and flow and it just so happened that I adapted my life drawing skills into this style and the curvaceous nature of the female form worked in really well. I found that I could utilize the SKAFFS females in digital art, original art, skate decks, toy etc. Before I knew it, it was the SKAFFS females that became popular amongst both the males and females. I do actually draw other characters and males here and there!
Of all the ladies you’ve drawn, which is your favourite?
I don’t believe in having favorites’ amongst my harem. It just wouldn’t be right. In terms of popularity, it would have to be the Mai character which the limited edition book and vinyl toy are based on, and the Ester skatedeck and print.
Luke’s girls come in all shapes and forms
Your new book, Chaff n’ Skaffs, is about to be released… is it a project you’ve been working on for a while? And was it in your contract for your name to be in the title of the book? ;)
The Chaff n’ Skaffs book series has been in the making for 2 years now. I developed the title, the concept, characters and story ideas. I’m really happy with how it has turned out. The San Francisco publishers Immedium have been great to work with in that they allowed me to have complete creative control. It’s a fun adventure story with Australian elements and lingo.
Was it difficult getting the book sorted, or was it all plain-sailing? (Excuse the pun)
In this business, nothing is plain-sailing. It takes time to get a book from concept to print, however, it often needs that time to be perfect. I wanted to make sure that every page was a finished piece of artwork where people would feel like they were actually a part of the whole adventure.
Chaff n’ Skaffs book cover
We’ve recently interviewed Eamo, a fellow Aussie. Do you feel that being from Australia has had a strong bearing on how you developed as an artist?
Yeah, I’m aware of Eamo, awesome artist! Speaking for myself, being an Australian has definitely exposed me to many amazing people, environments and cultures that have certainly influenced my work.
One of the things we’re asking people a lot at the moment is the importance of the old sketchbook and pen. Do you find yourself using your sketchbook more or less than you used to?
I have a trusty sketchbook that accompanies me 24 hours. I have one at my bedside whilst I sleep, just in case an idea comes to me at those crazy hours. Over the years, I have accumulated 100s of completed sketchbooks. They often are a source of inspiration if I ever get stuck.
What are the last couple of things you drew in your sketchbook?
I am currently preparing for a solo exhibition in New York so there are a lot of new ideas. Without giving too much away, I have been sketching a lot of interesting landscapes.
Luke hard at work sketching & one of his sketches
Of all the equipment in your studio, your sketchbooks, your pens, your brushes, what’s the best piece of kit that you’d recommend to other illustrators?
Other than my MAC computer, I would have to say the use of fade-resistant ink and paper for sketching, as there is nothing worse than doing sketches in normal ink/pencil and overtime the images smudging and fading.
Do you have anything exciting planned for 2009 that you can tell us about?
2009 is going to be another busy but awesome year! I will be doing a lot of artist signings and live paintings to launch the limited edition book “Chaff n’ Skaffs: Mai and the Lost Moskivvy”. Further details on the book can be found at www.skaffs.com and over on the Immedium site. In 2008 I completed a music band CD slick and there is talk of appearing live at one of their events (unfortunately I cannot disclose any further information at this time). I have numerous exhibitions in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. And most importantly, I continue to develop my SKAFFS product line through collaborations with other cool companies.
Finally, what’s the one thing everyone should do today?
Take time out to relax!
There’s a number of ways you can get an extra dose of Skaffs design goodness. There’s Luke’s portfolio site, the Skaffs main site and for something a bit different, there’s the Skaffs blog. And of course, if you want to grab yourself a copy of the awesome Chaff n’ Skaffs, then there’s no better place to go than the Immedium site. The book ships in February, but you can pre-order now and autographed copy now!
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