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A World of his Own

Text by John Lampard

Imagine a place where giant dragonfly-like creatures crisscross the sky, two-legged emu elephant hybrids roam the gnarled trees of darkened forests, and squid like creatures, with ominously sharp fangs, populate the oceans.

So where are we? On an alien planet? Watching re-runs of Star Trek? No, not quite. Actually we are somewhere in the recesses of Luke Feldman’s very active imagination.

Welcome to skaffs, a place where Luke fuses illustration with animation to produce a surreal world that is somehow reminiscent of Jurassic Park meets The day of the Triffids, with a touch of Alice in Wonderland included for good measure.

Such references are more than likely lost on Luke though, who at times is at a loss to explain where exactly his ideas come from, other than to refer to a scar on his forehead. Friends have often joked that this “head injury” is responsible for his creative style.

Artwork by Luke Feldman

And they may be onto something according to Luke.

“Bizarrely enough, whilst surfing the net one day, I came across a study put forward by some neurology researchers that linked a head injury to an abnormal collection of bizarre ideas!”

Where ever his ideas come from, the phenomenon is nothing new for the expatriate Victorian, now residing in San Francisco. Dabbling in art as a child, he started to evolve his signature style while growing up in Geelong.

“I studied Visual Arts and completed a Multimedia course in Australia. This gave me a good grounding in the fundamentals of design and animation. From there I have continued to experiment with different colours and mediums to develop my own style,” he says.

Artwork by Luke Feldman

And while Luke may have no shortage of ideas, his abundance of inspiration doesn’t speed up the production process, and he often spends hour after hour perfecting designs and artworks.

“It starts off as an ink sketch in my trusty notebook I take everywhere, and is then brought to life in Illustrator. I can definitely visualise the ‘finished’ piece from the early stages and then my body works overtime, ‘trance-like’ to reproduce what is in my mind.”

Luke’s work is not only limited to illustration or animation though, and he has also been able to experiment with a variety of mediums, which has seen him produce skatedecks, vinyl adhesives, and sculpture.

“I enjoy turning an idea in my head into a finished piece of work. I get great personal satisfaction seeing the end product and hearing that others get enjoyment out of viewing my work.”

Artwork by Luke Feldman

Despite being based in the US for the duration, Luke is planning an exhibition of his work to be held in Australia in the new year. Perhaps seeing some of his design first hand will offer a few insights into where his ideas come from.

But where ever these creative impulses originate, they’re certainly keeping Luke busy.

“I am currently working on numerous international projects such as exhibitions, animations, on-line and mobile Flash content and magazine illustrative content. I have just recently launched a vinyl adhesive art and skatedeck line with Pop Cling, and I am also working on my own animation series concept.”

In addition Luke has also been named a finalist in the San Francisco section of this year’s Cut and Paste digital design competition.