Interview with Rodrigo Luff for Upcoming Exhibition “Nemeta”

interview with Luff

Coming to Thinkspace Gallery’s project room February 27th is new work from artist Rodrigo Luff in his latest exhibition, Nemeta. Luff works with color pencil, pastel, graphite, oil, and acrylic, and has honed his illustrative skills alongside his facility with painting media. His works are both linear and painterly, realistic and expressionistic. He explores a feeling of the otherworldly by capturing his subjects in trance-like dream states, suspended mysteriously in fairytale atmospheres. His nudes are often surrounded by kindly owls or other iridescent woodland creatures, and staged in forests or haunted woods.

Sour Harvest’s interview with Rodrigo Luff covers the inspiration behind “Nemeta”, a day in the studio, and who he’d invite to a dinner party among other fun questions.

Could you tell us about the inspiration behind the upcoming exhibition? How long have you be preparing for the show?
I’m interested in the way we have always sought a connection to the natural world, and how that liminal, mysterious and wild realm reflects those uncharted dimensions within our psyche.
I’ve been working on this show on and off since mid 2014, so it’s been a long journey.

Who are your artistic influences and a few artists you think people should know about?
My biggest influences are Alphonse Mucha, John W. Waterhouse, John S. Sargent, Moebius, Luis Falero, Hayao Miyazaki and Herbert Draper.
I recommend folks check out Luis Falero and Herbert Draper for a beautiful blend of realism and mythological fantasy. I also *highly* recommend “Cannabis Works” by Tatsuyuki Tanaka.

Guardian Rodrigo Luff

You really experiment with pigment mediums and layering to create a desired effect in your work, can you elaborate on a time an experiment failed and another when it was successful?
Yeah this one time I was layering acrylic washes and pencil rendering and it just got too heavy and dark, and the more I tried to lighten it, the more the paper got ruined and completely messed up.

A few years ago, I experimented with blending water, GAC 100 medium, acrylic, iridescent media and crushed oil pastel. I slowly and carefully built up the colour layers and I was surprised at how well it all came together, despite never having tried such a combination or knowing what the hell I was doing!

How did you develop your own artistic voice and visual style, when did it click?
I developed my visual style through blending all the different styles of art I like together, along with my own experiences and ideas. It really clicked one night when I was listening intently to music and realising that all these different sounds and instruments can be harmonised through a song structure. I tried to implement the same concept in my art through the drawing “Owl Song” in ‘12 by working hard to harmonise all my influences, colours, mediums, imagery and style together into one cohesive picture.

Nemetona Rodrigo Luff

Most artists showed or have expressed creativity throughout their life, but committing to the path of a professional artist is a different story; when did you decide you wanted to be an artist and what does being an artist mean to you?
After I finished High School in ‘05, I graduated in the top 0.6% of the state with near perfect final marks. However, I had also won a full-time scholarship to go to the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney earlier that year. I knew I couldn’t do both, so I decided to really commit myself to the artist’s path, despite the pressure to go the academic route through University. To me personally, being an artist means making this commitment every day, to seek learning and improvement and to justify that choice I made after High School.

What does a day in the studio look like?
I get up at around 6-7 am, and get the train to the studio. I’ll check emails and respond on the train so I can paint as soon as I arrive at around 8 am. Strong coffee fires up my neural synapses and I try to get my most concentrated work done in the morning, despite usually posting social media updates and seeing what’s happening in the world.
I usually take a short break for lunch, and then paint as much as possible until around 9 pm. On the way home, I read a book on the train, and think about how many mistakes I made painting, feeling determined to do better the next day. I usually get home around 10-11 pm and finish any emails.

Neon Grove Rodrigo Luff

Your work is steeped in a fantasy ethereal world and could easily be the backdrop to a video game; if you were to create your own video game based on your art what would be the backstory of the protagonist and what’s their mission?
It would be a mix of Miyazaki, Avatar, Greek Mythology and dark European Fairytales. An explorer gets lost in the forest, follows mysterious green lights into a liminal realm full of neon owls that possess some kind of alien intelligence, guided by a beautiful oracle. On the other side of the portal, in the underworld, the explorer communes with the soul of the forest, an ancient tree that has been poisoned by those mining resources of the woods for profit. The explorer must undergo several trials and tribulations to find a way to save the dying forest without succumbing to the same dubious morals as those who poisoned the sacred realm.

Best advice you’ve ever received as an artist? What advice would you give someone who looked up to you?
To work hard, long hours and always try to learn and do better with each artwork. I’d pass that on to anyone who asked, it’s simple but true.

Radiant Rodrigo Luff

Your last show with us was 3 years ago, what changes have you and your work experienced?
I’ve tried to keep the same surreal blend of realism and fantasy with owls, but enrich the vision with more detailed backgrounds, more ambitious compositional choices and fresh colour schemes.

If you were to throw a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive; who would be on the guest list, what’s on the menu, and what would be the icebreaker question?
David Bowie, Hunter S. Thompson, Caravaggio, George R. R. Martin, Jimi Hendrix, Salvador Dali and Terence McKenna. I’d say a big southern BBQ style menu would be amazing, with lots of booze. Who needs an icebreaker with Hunter to get the party started?!!

Nemeta II Rodrigo Luff

The opening reception for “Nemeta” is Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm and the show is on view till March 19th. For additional information on the exhibit please visit Thinkspace Gallery’s website; if you’d like to receive a preview of the show make sure to sign up for the Thinkspace Gallery mailing list.

Next up in our Project Room – “Nemeta” featuring new works by Rodrigo Luff

Rod Luff_ Nemeta

Thinkspace is pleased to present Nemeta, featuring new works by Rodrigo Luff in the project room. Originally born in San Salvador, El Salvador and now based in Sydney, Australia, Luff creates ethereal figurative works of women and nudes in beautiful dreamlike settings. Inspired by Art Nouveau and turn of the century illustration, his works are ornate and lush, replete with elaborate references to the natural world.

Working in color pencil, pastel, graphite, oil, and acrylic, Luff has honed his illustrative skills alongside his facility with painting media. His works are both linear and painterly, realistic and expressionistic. He explores a feeling of the otherworldly by capturing his subjects in trance-like dream states, suspended mysteriously in fairytale atmospheres. His nudes are often surrounded by kindly owls or other iridescent woodland creatures, and staged in forests or haunted woods.

Luff’s palette is vibrant and his sense of light luminous. At times, his greens and yellows border on neon to exaggerate and deepen visual intensities. The contrasts in Luff’s work are dramatic and theatrical, and recall some aesthetic conventions of the Romantic period. Using chiaroscuro effects, and traditional figurative techniques, Luff creates a world that is simultaneously technical and surreal.

Opening Reception with the Artist(s):
Saturday, February 27, 2016
6:00 – 9:00pm

Opening Night of Christine Wu’s “Sleepless” & Linnea Strid’s “Love Me When I’m Gone”

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

New York-based artist Christine Wu and Swedish painter Linnea Strid packed Thinkspace Gallery on opening night, January 23, for their exhibitions “Sleepless” and “Love Me When I’m Gone”.  The gallery’s main room showing Christine Wu exhibits new work and includes a hanging installation of broken dishes; symbolic of the frustration, satisfaction, and swift remorse gained from such a spontaneous action.

Linnea Strid’s new body of work in Thinkspace Gallery’s project room is a collection of artists who sent in their images submerged or drenched in water for Linnea to paint. A collaborative effort as Linnea did not direct the artists in how to take their photo, many of the artist she worked with on the pieces showed up for the opening. You can read more about her inspiration for the show in our interview with the artist.

Both exhibitions will be on view till February 20th, please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website for additional details.

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Opening Reception Linnea Strid

Opening Reception Linnea Strid

Opening Reception Linnea Strid

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

Christine Wu and Linnea Strid Opening Reception

 

Aaron Nagel in Thinkspace Office

Aaron Nagel’s work is concurrently on view in the Thinkspace office. He was surprised to have come to the show for Linnea and Christine, and find he had his own mini-exhibit in our office. You can view additional photos from the night on our Flickr account and Facebook page.

PRESS + Additional Photos

Arrested Motion: Linnea Strid – “Love Me When I’m Gone”

Linnea Strid’s “Love Me When I’m Gone” exhibition coming to Thinkspace Gallery’s Project Room

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Love Me When I’m Gone, featuring new works by Swedish painter Linnea Strid. Known for her emotive, hyperrealistic paintings, Strid captures minute details with surreal precision, creating a world that feels uncannily amplified.

In this new series of works, Strid continues to explore imagery with water. Expert at capturing its reflective movement and depth, her paintings are filled with refracted light and distortions. Her subjects are presented in varying states of submersion and vulnerability, as her watery portraits take on a meditative dimension. Suspended somewhere between an unsettling and eerie calm and a foreboding anticipation, Strid arrests time.

In this series, Strid celebrates, and sensitively portrays, the artist’s struggle with anonymity, under-recognition and self-exposure, and the passion that nullifies the rational avoidance of this price, in a tribute to friends and artist peers. Recognizing that the work of many artists evades validation and economic success in their lifetime, the exhibition title expresses the delayed validation and expected sacrifice that comes with dedicating one’s life to art.

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Work in progress from Linnea Strid’s exhibition “Love Me When I’m Gone” 

Coming to Thinkspace Gallery’s Project Room in January, Linnea Strid “Love Me When I’m Gone”

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Swedish artist Linnea Strid’s new solo exhibition ‘Love Me When I’m Gone’ opens January 23 in Thinkspace Gallery’s project room.  Here are few work in progress shots of the pieces that will be on view. Please join us at the opening reception, January 23 from 6 – 9pm.

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone

Linnea Strid Love Me When I'm Gone