Briefly describe the work you do.
My work responds to mythological and iconographic traditions from antiquity. Inspired by the works of Carl Jung and the art historian Aby Warburg, my artistic practice explores concepts of the collective unconscious and cultural afterlife. Through sculpture making I examine how remnants of archaic thought and extinct cultures survive to influence contemporary frameworks. Using appropriated objects and conventional building mediums, I make representational forms that are inspired by ancient and contemporary motifs, highlighting relationships between them that enlighten contemporary cultural identities.
At what point I your life did you want to become an artist?
It wasn’t until later in my life that I took art seriously. From my childhood to high school I drew cartoons inspired by anything from Disney to classical mythology. After quitting college a third time, realizing that I was not the classical scholar I had always wanted to be, I began making art centered around themes that I had unknowingly already been fascinated with.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I grew up on a farm, so animals have always held an important place in my creative and practical life. That, along with my lifelong conversations with my grandfather, an armchair theologian, really gave me the conceptual fodder for what I do now. However, my focus on global myth comes from my experiences traveling through Asia and Europe, finding parallels and exchanges between ancient cultures that, for all I know, wouldn’t have had any communication with one another.
What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?
Comparative mythology and art history are the foundation of my concept. I realized that I couldn’t really find any satisfaction in traditional scholarship, so I thought of using them in the creation of art. Yet, the crux of my work isn’t so much the examination of these things as it is the relationships between them and the current world in which we live. There is a reason why we have the mores we do, why we believe what we believe and why we still fundamentally search for the same thing that the ancients did. That is what I want to look at.
We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?
There can’t really be any work unless there is inspiration to work I think. Be it inspiration from this world or something that you are looking at from a meta like stance. But personally I feel like my practice is driven by my desire to make things. It is about having fun with a plethora of mediums – exploring their conceptual and physical potential. The concept is something that reigns it all in and keeps it going in a solid direction.
Ed Keinholtz, David Altmedj, Huma Bhaba, Paolo Ucello, Robert Rauschenberg, Banks Violette
When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?
I have five cats and a dog so I spend a lot of time picking fleas off of them. Professionally I like to piecemeal a lifestyle, from scrapping copper to scrap carpentry to being a coffee barista. Landscaping is another hobby of mine and I do hope to get back into archery.
Luke Knox was born in Iowa City, IA in 1987 and relocated to Northwest Arkansas as a child. Since then, he has spent the majority of his time exploring the
Ozark Mountains and working on his mother’s horse and cattle ranch. His upbringing around natural landscapes and on the farm formed his fascination with animals, ecology and the pastoral. These experiences influence his paintings and sculpture, which focus on the relationship between society and nature by examining parallels and reoccurring motifs in mythology, ritual and cultural iconography.
In 2012 he graduated with a BFA in Drawing from the University of Arkansas’ Fulbright College of the Arts and Sciences. He lives and works in Fayetteville, Ar. and there he maintains his personal practice while collaborating with other artists to convert his barn into a communal artistic workspace.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.