Studio Visit 1

Luke Painter, Interdisciplinary

Luke Painter is an artist and assistant professor at OCAD University. His work includes drawing, painting, print, animation and installation. He’s represented by LE Gallery in Toronto, Canada and Bonneau-Samames Art Contemporain in Marseille, France. Publications featuring his art include Canadian Art, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Now Magazine, Mix Magazine and Carte Blanche Vol. 2.

When we bought the house, it was our first priority to get the studios going. My wife, Faith, has a studio upstairs in the master bedroom and I’m in the garage.  It was a concrete cinderblock garage and we spent a bunch of money to get a really nice heater/air conditioner unit, spray foam installation, drywall and a skylight. It’s nice. I really enjoy being out there. I used to have a studio that was a mile away from here and it’s great to get a cup of tea, walk outside and go into the studio.

Maybe ten years ago, I used to make paintings that were on steel and etched–they were so complicated in terms of materials. Now my materials are really spare. It’s just, brush, ink and paper. I think my studio reflects that. There’s not a lot of stuff that I need to get my work done.

In the summer, I want to do a stained glass project. Winne Truong worked with me as a studio assistant on a larger installation of a house with all these stained glass windows. She cut the glass for it. Hundreds of pieces of glass. I want to do another project like that. I feel so comfortable drawing and I’m a fan of, in a really arbitrary way, picking up another medium and working with it. I did that during my master’s with animation. I’ll still be drawing in my studio, but I’m also going to transform it into a space that can accomodate working with stained glass.

I’m not a person who will be like, ‘I’m going to go out to the studio today.’ I’m the sort of person who’s like, ‘Shit! I gotta go and work.’ When I have a show or drawings to make, I’ll have ten hour days of drawing. I get freaked out and have marathon runs at drawing.






I like the challenge of being able to make a drawing in two days. It doesn’t always happen. In 14 days, I did a large drawing that I didn’t think I could do but I powered through and did it.

First, I put the colours down and then I put black marks on top. I’m really interested in the relationship between the colours, but the black is literally me going, ‘uh, uh, uh, uh.’ It’s repetition and variance. A lot of people talk about the practise that way, there’s a consistant thing you’re doing and once in awhile, you change it. I’m obviously thinking about the whole image but I’m also thinking really formally about how close a line is to another line as I’m working.

I listen to the CBC a lot while I draw. It’s a simple set up. I just stand and draw and listen to the CBC. The programming’s the best in the morning. The programming in the afternoon is terrible. It’s like, ‘Ontario Today.’ I’m fine with late night but the afternoon is really bad. I teach at OCAD and I’m thinking about doing admin in the afternoons–scheduling everything around the CBC. I also listen to This American Life. I’ve heard every episode from 1996 until now.

This cat’s name is Barnabas. As I stand here drawing, he’ll just lie there. He’s great.


–Luke Painter, as told to Studio Beat

Photos & GIF by Courtney Vokey


Visit Luke Painter’s website here.

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