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hl next level 2018: artist and designer al luke

Trevor Stuurman


One half of the husband-and-wife artist-and-design duo Mrs + Mr Luke, Al Luke says his intention is ‘to create and expose a new African style [that] challenges the definitive global views and opinions of the continent’, which he currently does through the artistic medium of paper collage. Together with his wife Faatimah  and Ash Ceramics, Al is working on a new project at the moment.

how did you get started?

I got my break in the creative industry working alongside Bennie Smal at a small studio called Dialogue 9. Even though we were a small agency we created some really great work.

did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?

I always knew I wanted to do something creative but only made the choice to study graphic design towards the end of high school.

do you have particular any favourites in your own portfolio of work?

I think the works that I created for the Fiercepop Womxn Exhibition in Amsterdam will always be special to me because they were created for three powerful women in my life, namely my mother, my wife and my mother-in-law.

what’s been your defining career moment to date?

As a designer I’ve had a few career highs but as an artist the moment I will never forget was my first big exhibition, which ran alongside my wife Faatimah’s work at the Daville Bailie Gallery  in Johannesburg earlier this year.

who are the creatives on your radar right now?

Aweh Migo, Fersyndicate, Mo Hassan, Richard Horne, Russell Abrahams, Ashraf Majiet, Kaylin Car, Index Finger 88, Rizqah Dollie, Keith Vlahakis, Matthew Wareley, Andre Bird, Thom James Norton Heap, Dav Andrew, Tiisetso Molobi, Gareth Campbell, Vumile Mavumengwana, Daniel Ting Chong, Catherine Ash, The Ninevites, Lesiba Mabitsela, Neo Jasmine Mokgosi and Nicholas Mudskipper.

and the artists you look up to?

Andrezj Urbanski, Dr Zvlv, Wesley van Eeden, Alex Yanes, Boeta Phyf, Futura, Steve Harrington, Kustaa Saksi, Do Ho Suh, Paul Senyol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sindiso Nyoni and Atang Tshikare.

where do you find your inspiration?

Mostly from personal memories and interactions within society and then trying to figure out how to translate that visually.

which single place would you recommend everyone try to visit, and why?

Centre Pompidou in Paris for two reasons: the building itself is a spectacle (pictures don’t do it justice) and it has an amazing collection of art.

what’s the most memorable piece of interior design you’ve ever seen?

I would have to say a tie between Porky Hefer’s Fiona Blackfish, which is a giant killer-whale hanging chair, and brass figure lights created by Atang Tshikare.

what is the next project that you are working on?

I’m hoping to do another exhibition this year and create a few more collaborations with Mrs Luke and Ash Ceramics.

Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018  issue.