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Luke Feldman, creator of Skaffs, is not just your average bloke from Downunder.
This Aussie creative is spreading his Skaffs illustrations, animations and music in real style. His work is highly sought after all around the world, having been displayed and reviewed in places such as Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, UK and USA. His work has been described as “beautiful”, “elegant” and as “possessing an amazing sense of color and design”, by some of the leading professionals in the art and animation industry.
When did you first decide to become a graphic designer/ illustrator? Was there a pivotal moment?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I was always encouraged by my mother to be creative. If you were to ask my friends whether there was a “pivotal moment” they would joke that my artistic predisposition almost certainly stemmed from a ‘head injury’ I sustained as a child. I sport a nice big scar on my forehead as a reminder of this tragic day. Ever since this day I have had an obsessive desire to create weird and wonderful characters, so there might be some truth to it?!?!
One thing led to another and today this work is collectively known as Skaffs.
Who or what inspires you?
I have always been a big fan of surrealism and artists such as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst and MC Escher. Tim Burton's dark and unique characters as well as his narrative style are always inspiring. I have always been fascinated by Dr Suess' quirky illustrations and story telling. I’m also a massive fan of asian art and culture. More recently, my trip to Japan has had a profound influence on my work; being a huge fan of their design and culture.
The idea of creating something from nothing still fascinates me, whether it is in the creating of an illustration or writing some music. My creativity is a result of life experiences and the bizarre little things that happen.
To be able to illustrate and then animate my characters, whether it be in 2D or 3D animation, has been really satisfying.
Where does your training come from? Self-taught? College/Art School?
I studied Visual Arts and completed a Multimedia course in Australia. This gave me a better understanding of the fundamentals of design and animation. Since then I have spent countless hours experimenting with different mediums. Working in the design field you are constantly learning and developing your skills.
How do you keep "fresh" within your industry?
Having the ability to experiment with different mediums has certainly kept my work “fresh”. I enjoy the challenge of adapting my particular art style to different forms ie skatedecks, vinyl adhesives, sneakers, customs, t-shirts, animation etc.
An idea usually starts off as a mere glimpse, an interpretation of an experience, or from re-developing a concept that I have done in the past. I carry a sketch pad with me at all times so that I can capture the moment right there and then even if it is at a ridiculous hour. This is what keeps my ideas “fresh”.
What are some of your current projects?
I am currently developing a number of animation concepts for television and web (www.skaffs.com under the “concepts” section)
Coca-Cola 2007 Advertising Campaign
Skatedeck and Vinyl Adhesive line with Pop Cling (www.popcling.com)
Vespa decal line with PimpMyScoota (www.pimpmyscoota.com)
Developing a Vinyl Toy line with Wheaty Wheat Studios (www.wheatywheat.com)
Donated a custom skatedeck to the Anti-Cancer Council of Australia (www.acrosstheboardart.com)
Donated a limited edition signed giclee print to the Pink Art Show! in support of the Breast Cancer Foundation (www.the3day.org)
Submitted custom K-Swiss sneakers to the Sneaker Pimp Asia Tour (www.sneakerpimps.net)
Current Art Exhibition at Artist Xchange in San Francisco
Recently launched a Skaffs designed CD slick for Beehive (www.myspace.com/beehive)
And a never ending list of illustrations for other upcoming projects…..
Stay tuned to www.skaffs.com for updated information.
Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?
I am always happy to submit work to good causes such as the Anti-Cancer Council and breast cancer foundation.
One of my biggest personal projects that I am proud of would be that of my whole portfolio. I believe that every piece of work that I complete, whether it be an illustration, animation or composed music, has my heart and soul in it. Being my toughest critique, I know that everything has been done to best ability which means that looking back at my older stuff I can still be proud. I believe I have been true to my style and beliefs and worked hard to make Skaffs what it is today.
Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
I predominately work in digital format, web, interactive media or print. I would love to have the opportunity to paint a mural in some amazingly exotic location and I am always up for new challenges!
And in terms of Skaffs, I hope to see my characters in animation on television one day soon.
Any advice to the novice designer/ illustrator?
Getting to a position where you can support yourself as an illustrator can be very difficult and even then it may not last. Therefore, make sure you continue to develop your skills, be able to work in a multitude of platforms as this opens more job opportunities. Develop a style, believe in your style, and always remember that there are going to be people who love your work and people who don’t. In the end, it is the client that matters.
Always be professional, efficient and have great communication skills as this will bring clients back and help with word-of-mouth.
What makes a designed piece or illustration successful?
To me, a successful piece is one that “says a thousand words”; one that stimulates thought and emotion. I think success is also having people recognize my work as a Luke Feldman or Skaffs piece.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
I thrive on the every day challenges of the art world. New illustrations, animations, music etc all motivate me. I thrive on the satisfaction of finishing a new piece. I can spend hours and hours a day on a piece and never want to leave it. I guess that is the nature of the job. So when I am in between jobs, I like to play the guitar, read and travel. I’m also a black belt Taekwondo which helps me through a mental freeze.
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