Carl Lucas (a current student at Petroc, Branhams Campus) was interviewed by the President of the Petroc Student Union Jum Fernandez about educational institutions and the arts, the artist’s journey and enrichment.
Jum Fernandez: What course are you studying at Petroc?
Carl Lucas: Well, at this current moment in my life I’m studying in Fine Art year 2 or an FDA.
What do you think the role of educational institutions (like Petroc) are in the making of an artist?
I think places like Petroc are the eyes and leadership we need at that very beginning, it’s easy to say “I’m an artist” but it’s difficult if the knowledge isn’t there. Petroc allows me to be challenged physically and mentally. They push you to your best and support you on your decisions, yeah, they may refer you to other things and tweak a few ideas but that’s only an option to allow the opening of your mind. If I didn’t have Peter Newell as my tutor I think it would’ve been more stress filled, but Pete has that master of art feel and also shows you when you are actually ok. I.e you have an idea but don’t know where to go, but you already have all the answers, you just don’t know it yet. Art is a journey, it’s a difficult one, but if you don’t fight through everything then art is not going to be for you. Places like Petroc are a connection point to other industries like the plough for example, or the the white moose. Without places like Petroc art business would surely crumble.
That is very true and very poetic! Could you tell us a little about your own work and artistic journey?
When I first began stepping onto the path of art I was frustrated with life in general. My relationship had fallen apart, I had lost myself and had no idea who “Carl Lucas” was anymore. My identity, in a way, was deleted or lost in the winds. So I continued the art and design course to create something for myself, though it was a distraction from life in a sense. After a few months I began attacking the sketchbook and with reds and yellows to represent a fire that laid within my heart at the time. It was when I spoke to the Colin Wright that I realised I could do something in the arts, there was a path I was accepted on. Over the cause of the course I began using music to inspire me and to translate how a story of mark making could express my emotions at that current time. But I was still frustrated and this time because of my own lack of skills in art. Then one morning, after a night of wanting to know how to paint, I woke with the urge to draw and paint as if it were the same need to eat, drink or love someone or something. Grabbing any pieces of paper and just thinking “screw it! If I mess up…. Who cares!” After painting for hours and hours from day time to night skies, I looked at the results and felt confused on how I was able to create these things. But I felt amazing and more importantly, felt like it was mine. In 2014, (when I finished my course) I experimented with tones of vibrant colours or Fauvism. My works consisted of musically driven portraits, eventually leading to the idea of light to dark and how certain details identified a certain individual. In 2015 I was trying to convey memories rather than a persons personality. This was because I felt art was more personal for me now, so I wanted to show that in such paintings as “Bridge” “The stairway to Dad” and “The drive”. These paintings depicted a moment in my childhood and how they still held a dearness to me. During the 1st year of the FDA 14-15, I felt curious in the limited amount of tools and ways of working as it seemed to force me into new ways of figuring out techniques. This was when the “Marker Pen” drawings came to light. Using the pen alone to create a silhouette or an inviting space of Freddie Mercury or Michael Jackson. Then came along Mr Wassily Kandinsky with his lines and abstracted shapes. Immediately I shouted “Yes! This is what I want to display!” So I got to work and searched and studied everything I could find on Kandinsky’s works. Since then I have translated my inner emotions and have used my memories as a way to craft something illustrative onto canvas. But it is music that surely holds the title here, as without it I couldn’t of orchestrated and understood the things I wanted to convey. E.M.M, Emotions, Memories and Music. That is my art work.
It’s incredible that art played such a large role in the rediscovering of your identity. How do you think having an extracurricular focus on the arts and creativity would benefit all the students of Petroc?
I think it would benefit the students massively. There’s so much of a build up of the arts lately in Devon, I think having those new skills and knowledge and also a collection of contacts would help you artist get into the business better. And the benefit of having past artists study there improves the likely hood of other students to feel encouraged and optimistic about their future I think. I spoke to Peter Newell about how artists actually struggle with self doubt and how I would love to find a way to put that into the lessons in the future.
Carl’s work will be exhibited at the Goodwin Gallery, Branhams Campus in their Metamorphosis end of year exhibition from the 6th of June.