Urban Road

Artist Spotlight: Luke Chiswell ‘Straight Face’

Canberra-based artist Luke Chiswell has been gaining a cult following locally and internationally for his T-shirt designs. And this year, he launched his own art exhibition featuring his abstract ‘Straight Face’ character. Keen to discover more about this emerging abstract artist, we recently caught up with Luke…

Related article: The bold and the beautiful: A chat with artist Samantha Hobbelen
Related article: Discover the delicate and detailed graphite illustrations of Emily Wright, AHKI.

Luke Chiswell straight face

Tell us a bit about your journey so far and how you became an artist.

“Growing up in the Australian bush, I spent my childhood build cubby houses, make things and collect bones.

I starting skateboarding at a young age and was consumed by it. I wanted to make, paint and create clothes for that.

“Learning how to do that I then developed my own work.”

Luke, there is something about your ‘Straight Face’ bestubbled man that we find so captivating, where did the inspiration for him come from?

“I conceived him from a daydream in 2006 and really liked the design when I first drew it. I knew there must have been a reason for that, so I decided I would continue with it,” says Luke.

“I’ve kept him unchanged in an attempt to surpass regret and doubt that can come with time.”

Luke Chiswell Canberra artist
'Straight Face' exhibition at Nishi Gallery
‘Straight Face’ exhibition at Nishi Gallery

We’ve seen your art appear on plywood to hamburgers, what is your favourite material to work from?

“I’ve nearly finished a new body of work where I am drawing on bodies and will feature these in an exhibition soon.

“I find it really interesting drawing on people. That would be my favourite medium so far.”

Several artists we’ve spoken with recently have collaborated with brands from furniture stores to rug companies. Do you have your eye on any collaborations or who would you love to work with one day?

“At the moment I’m in the early stages of a project with Hotel Hotel [now Ovolo Hotel].

“They approached me with a rough idea and we are currently working it out.

“I love their style and what they have done with Nishi and the new Monster restaurant so I’m excited about working with them.”

Luke Chiswell Straight Face artist
Luke Chiswell. Photography by Charlie White

Tell us from where you get your inspiration.

“Nature, travel, my new city studio and Wil Fry.”

What goals have you set yourself in the next 1-3 years?

“I don’t really set goals,” says Luke.

I get caught by an idea, build that idea and just have to create it.

Given the exciting work Luke has already created this year, we look forward to seeing what ideas catch his imagination next!

If you would like to get your hands on any of Luke’s bold and spontaneous artworks, check out his website or you can connect with him on Instagram. We can see Luke’s work being right at home in a modern apartment, office or, as we discovered having lunch the other week — in a café too!

More artist stories

Straight Face lining the walls of Canberra cafes
Straight Face lining the walls of Canberra cafes
Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

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