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Art

1.21.2019

Artist of The Week: Luke Edward Hall

We first came across Luke Edward Hall’s work via Instagram; reminiscent of your favorite AP art history textbook and sweet summer dreams, we can confidently say the man has taste. A jack of many trades, Hall has dabbled in graphic design, fashion communication, and studied menswear at Central Saint Martins. Now based in London, he works out of his Highbury/Holloway studio, where he spends his days illustrating, collaborating with brands like Burberry, designing the accessories we wish we had in our room, and conjuring up his dream hotel in the English countryside. Milk inquired further into his life of knickknacks, drawings, and incredible design; read below for our full interview accompanied by Lauren Maccabee’s photos shot in his space.

Before going to Central Saint Martins to study menswear, what factors went into choosing this university?

I only ever wanted to go to Central Saint Martins. I’m not sure where I first learned about the place—perhaps it was in a magazine, but I knew it had the reputation of being one of the best, if not the best art school in England. I also really wanted to be in London, so I applied only to Saint Martins, to do a foundation course, a one year program which is a kind of pre-degree. I actually originally wanted to study graphic design, but when I moved to London I started interning with Nicola Formichetti who was at the time the Creative Director of Dazed and Confused. The world of fashion kind of opened up to me, and I decided to apply to study fashion communication (styling, editorial and so on) at Saint Martins after my foundation course. I spent a few months doing this, then interned for a while with J.W. Anderson and ended up switching to menswear design. So I had a kind of funny route in I suppose, particularly when you consider I ended up working for an interior designer after graduating!

In a 2009 interview with Ira Glass, he speaks about the idea of having good taste, and furthermore the idea that when you first enter a creative line of work, you’ve got to keep creating and creating (no matter how terrible your work may be) to finally let your taste and talent shine through; at the beginning of your experience as an artist, did you relate to this?

I absolutely relate to this. When people ask me for advice on how to set up a creative business, I say that you need to work. Like, really work. You’ve got to put a lot of stuff out into the world—not endless rubbish, but you’ve got to try things out and make mistakes. You just need to do it! When I was a teenager, before I moved to London, I produced a fanzine every couple of monthsmy friends would contribute articles and stories, I’d include all the things I was interested in, lay it all out and paste it together, then my Dad would photocopy it as his office. Looking back at these zines now, obviously I’ve moved on from that aesthetic stage in my life, but there are elements that I see in my current work—the DIY approach for example, and the liberal use of color. Those zines really helped me when I was applying to Saint Martins, and they helped me in a myriad of other ways too—the only way to figure out your taste and aesthetic is to make things, then make more things and more things. It is difficult when you are young and finding your way—you have to find it in yourself to believe in what you are doing. You have to have a point of view.

As an artist with many outlets, do you ever feel you’d benefit from sticking to one?

I used to think that. I still think that sometimes it’d be nice to be able to focus on one project at a time—for example, I’m working at the moment on drawings for an exhibition which will open this spring, but I have a hundred other things to think about—collaborations and commissions mostly. I love however having lots of things on and working on many different types of projects. It’s exciting, and it’s what I always wanted to do. The people I look up to from the past worked in this way—artists and designers such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel. I really enjoy being able to apply my aesthetic to a variety of objects, from fabrics and ceramics to slippers and swim shorts.

What efforts went into opening your own studio in 2015?

I was working full-time for an interior designer in 2015. I could only set my studio up when I had enough commissions, and to get these commissions I had to have enough work to convey my aesthetic—so I was working in the evenings and on weekends, designing fabrics and showing my drawings online. Eventually one large commission (to illustrate a book for a hotel in Palm Springs), meant that I could set myself up properly and focus on my own work.

What advice would you give to other artists in their 20s?

Put work out into the world and do not worry that it might not be perfect. Have the confidence to try. Listen to others, but mostly just listen to your own heart.

Choosing an all-time favorite is nearly impossible, so what do you love right now, this week?

    • Movie: The Favourite
    • Piece of writing: Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts
    • Color: Cobalt blue
    • Painting: those by Patrick Procktor  
    • Street in London: Parkway in Camden—it’s close to where I live and it’s where I go on a Sunday with my boyfriend Duncan to get coffee and bread and newspapers and to shop for vegetables to make a good lunch with…
    • Pattern: I keep looking at photographs of patterned marble floors that I took when I was in Rome last summer…
    • Interior design: of Emilio Terry.
    • Book: Adrian Clark’s Queer Saint: The Cultured Life of Peter Watson
    • Favorite member of the Bloomsbury Group: Duncan Grant

You mentioned in an interview with GQ that your dream job would be to design a restaurant or hotel—do you have any locations in mind?

I love the English countryside, so I think perhaps it’d have to be by the sea in the west of England somewhere—Somerset, Dorset, Devon or Cornwall. I love the idea of finding a building—a Regency villa or Georgian house for example, and turning it into a small, perfectly formed hotel, with beautiful interiors and excellent food. I love a good hotel. There are some nice ones in the countryside here, but I believe there is room for something with a bit more personality and panache.

Images courtesy of Lauren Maccabee

Stay tuned to Milk for more rising creatives we love. 

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