Artist Interview: Luke Ramsey

July 01 2016

Today, we get a peek inside the head of Canadian artist, Luke Ramsey.

Cooper: You grew-up in the countryside of England, lived in Taiwan, and currently reside on Pender Island, British Columbia - but where is that place you call home?

Ramsey: Home is in my heart with friends and family close by. I consider Victoria, B.C, Canada as my hometown.

Whether personal, public or commercial, your work makes way for orcas, dinosaurs and other characters. Is there a through line to what you’ve referred to as the “organized chaos” that is your art?

My ideas are like an oxymoron who walks into a bar and orders a punchline. As far as drawing goes, it’s like riding a wave- a line in time.

Does all of your work start with illustration? Do you consider yourself a graphic artist, fine artist, or?

I consider myself as an image maker, drawer, thought provoker, pot stirrer, bird watcher.

When did you decide to pursue art as a profession? What were you doing before? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

About 6 years ago I went full-time. My last day job was working in a gas station renting out videos and dvds before retail rentals went bust. I’d love to know what I’d do if I wasn’t making art. I guess I’m too hooked. Maybe it would be cool to not make art for a year and see what happens.

Paper, wall or video? What are the limitations of the other two mediums?

Paper is always my first pick- so direct, accessible and intuitive. Walls are fun, but aren’t always smooth, well lit, easy to access etc. Video requires memory, uncreative patience and finickiness.

If your home was on fire, what three things would you save?

If I saved anything it would just be a reminder of all the other things I lost, so I guess I would let it all burn and stop collecting stuff. Go someplace warm and live naked.

Process or end result?

As the ol words say - the journey is the destination.

Are you particular about the conditions of your surroundings when you are creating?

Sorta. It all depends on what I’m working on. I like working in solitary and I like working in the public with people asking me random questions.

What is your relationship with music?

I probably could enjoy silence more, but I am a music maniac. I love all genres, and everyday discover something new. Lately I’ve been really into rap battles and freestyles.

You have said that you are not a street artist. Where do you find cultural inspiration?

The web of life - online and off.

You co-founded Islands Fold with your wife Angela as an artists’ residency and zine publishing platform. Who are you currently collaborating with and on what?

Islands Fold has been on hold since we had Angel Chen here in the summer of 2012. The most recent collaboration I’m fond of, was with Qavavau Manumie.

Congrats on your last show Off Lines, it really felt like a proclamation. Do you feel a responsibility with your work and what might we expect to see from you next?

Thank you. I think creative expression is a beautiful thing, but it’s not an entitlement, so maybe that’s where responsibility comes in for me. I think Mother Nature is making the most incredible art I’ve ever known. In her company, I often ask myself, what’s the point of making art? I’m trying to see bigger pictures, which is kinda funny considering my work is narrowed-in on little details. As for next year, I’m finishing up a sci-fi illustrated story called IS? I’d like to put it out soon. After that, it’s all blowing in the wind.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013