Luke Chueh: More childhood trauma?

Beautifully painted, utterly uneasy, often disturbing works. I have declared before that I am a great admirer of the work of Kendrick Mar. There are many other artists that try the same trick: “I’ll paint a beheaded teddy bear and make my parents worry about my emotional state.” More often than not: this only leads for very immature and shallow works (granted: it does usually make me wonder about the emotional state of the maker…) Not so for the works of Luke Chueh (pronounced Luke ‘Chu’). This wonderful artist manages to paint sceneries that have all the aforementioned qualities, but add that extra layer that separates the men from the traumatised boys.

Over the last couple of years Luke Chueh’s become a very popular artist. His works are very accessible to look at, without seeming to want to be pleasing. Chueh says his work is ‘character driven’ which helps in this age where you can stick a Disney or Looney Tune sticker on just about anything imaginable; we’re used to this sort of iconography. (Much like those cartoons; Chueh’s characters make for very good toys indeed.) However, in contrast to the overly commercial happy cartoon animals, Chueh’s work seems to carry a message (even though his paintings are enjoyable without seeing it).Take his work ‘reach‘ for example, where an obese bunny can’t bend over to pick up a carrot. This can easily be seen as a comment on our consumption society and fat-addiction.

Unlike a lot of paintings depicting ocean sceneries and mountain views, this sort of work is generally very personal, even though in this case I would not go so far as to label it: unprocessed childhood trauma. Chueh’s work is clever, wonderfully executed but personally I prefer the work of artists like Kendrick Mar that use a lot of the same iconography. Chueh graduated from the California Polytechnic State Uni with a BS in graphic design. Since he had a hard time finding employment after employment (any companies that turned him down should feel very stupid indeed) he resorted to painting stuff to keep busy. That background is still very visible in his work. They’re not so much paintings as they are painted designs on a painted background. Which is not criticizing his work by any means, but merely my personal preference.

Should the non-US readers of this site/blog want to see some of the works of Luke Chueh in real-life, as I can imagine, he has working relations with galleries all over that states from NYC, to Detroit to LA. Have a look at his site for some cool works and info on expositions.

2 thoughts on “Luke Chueh: More childhood trauma?

  1. I agree … Luke (and Kendrick) tackle their subjects with a maturity that other artists seem to fail at miserably.

    Glad to see that both artists are making a name for themselves.

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