Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Conversation With Loki

"I'll just get my stuff" {Octo girl} 2010

Loki, an artist from Ireland, creates artwork that examines personal narratives through the use of acrylics, spray paint, water colors and other mediums with interwoven elements from graffiti and street art.

There is something beautifully potent about Loki's lovely ladies; perhaps it is their stylish ensembles, maybe it's the way they seem to be challenging the audience to a wordless dual or perhaps it's the way they look out at us with wise, sightless eyes. Loki took time out of her schedule to speak with ArtSeen about her artwork.

Can you tell us a little about your artwork and your artistic process?

Within my own personal work the human, semi human and non human forms that I create are drawn from the margins of society, some with obscured identities, others with fully formed identities that reappear from time to time. At times they are the freaks, some with visible deformities, others with emotional deformities.

I see them as a tragic little family, a traveling side show. There is a personal narrative that underlies the imagery, it is ambiguous and deliberate, an emotional commentary wrapped in shrouds of romanticism, mystery and misery. I guess it is a kind of cathartic escapism.

In terms of my process, it really differs from piece to piece. I tend to work mostly throughout the night, and like to keep the TV on in the background as company but also as a distraction so i don't get over consumed by the work and don’t over work it. Everything starts off in my sketch book or on whatever scrap of paper is to hand. Sometimes I might draw a quick sketch/scribble, or write down an idea, a word, a sentence, a story for a character, with plans to develop it further at a later stage. Other times I just sit down with a blank piece of paper in front of me and not think about it at all, completely tune out the world around me and just let my hand scribble away.

Then there is what I refer to as my "day job", illustrations for children's school books, which I do in collaboration with the artist Splink, even though I work on it throughout the night, I am trying to rectify this and am getting better at drawing during the day time. This joint venture of working together kicked off at the beginning of the year when we did a book together called "The Little Flower Bulb", a book that aims to help children who have been bereaved by suicide, a subject that is very close to my heart.

There is also my street art stuff; it can be something as simple as a photocopied wheat pasted poster to a 40 foot wall painted with household paint and rollers.

What types of artistic materials do you like to use?

A little bit of everything really, I use acrylic within my painting and street art practice, water colours in my illustrations. I like spray paint, I enjoy wheat pasting, I can only abide 2b pencils and I appear to be going through a glitter glue phase right now!

"The Three Graces" 2010

What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

It’s hard to say really, to pin point specific things. Everything inspires me, good things, bad things, close friends, strangers, memories, dreams, anxieties, fears, nightmares... 

In regards to why: it’s an urge, a compulsion; I get twitchy if I don’t.

Other than creating art, what other things/hobbies interest you?

Now that I think about it, everything I do kind of revolves around art, and artistic pursuits. It is a little bit all consuming. I guess I don’t really allow myself the time as I am always working away on something. Whenever I have a bit [of] time off from working I may get out and about postering or painting a wall. But now in answering this question I see everything I do is very art oriented. I should probably get a hobby! I did a course in makeup artistry last year and would really like to spend more time pursuing that in the hopes to evolve it into my work at some stage.

I do however spend too much time listening to Tool and NIN and I like to watch a lot of documentaries and films, reading etc, but I’m not too sure if they classify as hobbies.

"The Fallen Series" 2011

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?

Everything comes from a very personal place, and putting it into words can be hard for me sometimes. My mother is a graphic designer so I have always been encouraged to create; I have been drawing since before I could walk. But when my father died when I was seven years old, I started creating worlds to immerse myself in, creating characters; friends with a shared loneliness, in order to deal with but also distract myself from what was happening in reality and I guess that is still what I do within the work I create now, dealing with death and loss through an adult's perspective.  

"Liza & Eliza"

Which do you find more important, the subject of the painting or the process? And why?

Personally for me it has to be 50/50 balance between the two. No one thing should overshadow the other between the subject matter, the process and the finished piece. Every element has equal importance. The reason I have come to this conclusion I believe is due to the environment in which I studied; it was very conceptually driven within its teaching practices and also demanded an output of art that would fit into a very specific fine art style. A place where the term "aesthetically pleasing" was a dirty word. A huge emphasis was placed on the meaning of work, explaining before it even had a chance to be made. The piece of work almost became irrelevant, unseen. When you need the viewer to read an essay to grasp the work I feel you lose an important connection with the viewer and the piece of art can be rendered useless. I think ever since college I have been fighting against this process of doing things within the practice of my own work, therefore for me personally, I like for there to be a balance between subject and process.

I also think sometimes that it doesn't really matter at all because what one person sees and feels from a piece of work may differ dramatically from the next person or what the intentions of the artist were for the piece of work in the first place. As long as they feel something from looking at the work, good or bad, that's all that matters.

"Lady in Waiting"  from the Kings Of Concrete festival {photo by Rosco photography} 2011

Are there any artists that inspire you ? If so who would they be and why?

There are many, many of which I don’t remember the names of, I’m afraid I’m terrible with remembering names. My mind always seems to go blank when I am asked this question, there are just so many artists whose work I adore, I just never know where to start really. But i will give it a shot.

Alphonse Mucha, Egon Schiele, Zack Smith, Elizabeth Peyton, James Jean, Yoshitomo Nara, Os GĂȘmeos, to name but a few...

I guess I’m a little obsessed with portraiture. Also my friends within the Nom Nom Collective inspire me every day with every insult uttered.

"The Birds and the Bees got wise to the lies" {Bee Fingers} 2010

Where would you like to be in 10 years?

Hopefully still drawing every day.

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?

I don’t know with my Emily Dickinson-like existence if I’m allowed to answer with this... but I hear "networking" is a good start, even though the word alone brings me out in a cold sweat. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this question. I am not a very big fan of self promoting oneself, but it has to be done, I guess.

But to those artists out there who may be like me {horrifically shy!} show your work online, whether it be a blog, website or Facebook page, you never know who might see your work and where it could lead. I would say just get out there on the street and stick it on a wall, but I don't want to be the cause of anyone's arrest, so be very careful and respectful of people’s property, historical buildings and other street artists and graffiti writers’ work. But most importantly just keep on drawing. Make work for yourself, work that is true to your heart, from your heart. 

"The Fallen Series" 2011
For more information about Loki and her artwork visit her Facebook page and Flickr page for more details.

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