This week, The Artling had the opportunity to interview Lukas Griffin, one of the newest artists on our platform. Born in the UK, the talented photographer is now based in California, and has been capturing sights and scenes all over the United States. His photography and taste for adventure have also taken him to Italy, Australia, and Switzerland. Lukas' keen eye for photography allows him to capture nature and urban environments with a touch of minimalism.
In this interview, Lukas shares more on his journey as a photographer, his creative process, and his inspiration for photographs.
What inspires you?
Throughout history, humans and wildlife have had an intimate relationship with their natural surroundings. I'm drawn and inspired by the way we enjoy moments in time, doing the things we love. I take inspiration from the diversity of the earth, the mountains, the ocean, the wildlife, and the changing light.
I feel at my happiest when capturing the true essence of being free. Humans and animals interacting with our Earth's landscape, and the feeling of being free, is ultimately what my artwork represents. We live in a beautiful world and I love being able to capture and share these moments with my camera.
Photography became a passion for me back in 2009, I had a surf school back then, in South Wales, one day I noticed how happy people were, so much fun and happiness, with the ocean and the elements, I went out that evening surfing bought a small waterproof camera, and the next day I took it with me to the beach, I remember the first few photos I took and decided at the point that I would follow photography and make it work and passion.
Since that moment, that feeling never left me, I heard many doubts from people at that point, about my idea of deciding I wanted to be a professional photographer, but I just knew it was something I wanted to do, so I followed it with everything I had.
Tell us more about your creative process.
My creative process usually begins with the visualization of a location, but before I can decide where to head for a shoot, I like to cast my mind to that place and decide whether it could be somewhere that I’d take inspiration from before shooting. If the answer is yes, I spend time thinking about what I’m really trying to capture within my photographs. I like to be able to really feel what I’m shooting.
Once I have decided on a location, Madeleine, my assistant, looks into the locations, the best times of day to shoot, the best angles to shoot from, and the directions of the sun. With these plans pre-prepared; I have a good idea of how to approach a shoot. Once the shoot is planned, it’s time for me to hit the road and go shoot.
When it comes to adventure photography, you have to be out in the world in order to capture a shot. You are part of the moment, even if you're nowhere to be found inside the frame. Whether you’re standing at the edge of the ocean, or the peak of a mountain, you have to be there to capture it. That's the thing that excites me about my photography, I am able to explore the endless beauty our planet has.
With adventure comes freedom and to me, freedom means everything. This is exactly what my photography represents. To me, the act of photography is about capturing a specific feeling and I want to express those feelings within the images I take. Subsequently, I want people to feel something in what they see. I hope to inspire myself and others not only to spend more time outdoors, but to also care for our beautiful surroundings, to live life, and connect with nature.
I’d consider both my lifestyle and creative mindset to be rather minimalist, as I don't like things to be too complicated. This is reflected in much of my artwork. I find myself drawn to negative spaces and compelled to capture the natural beauty of simplicity. My current inspiration has taken me to Lake Tahoe, but I actually have a few shoots planned for the remainder of this year. A trip to Yosemite National Park, New York City, and San Francisco are in my upcoming plans.
What are 3 words that best describe your work?
Freedom, Adventure, Minimalist.
Who are some artists and/or photographers that have influenced your work?
I take inspiration from all forms of art. From the writing of Rumi, Kahlil Gibran, and Epictetus to artists such as Peter Lik, Jun Cha, Banksy, Max Wanger, Rodney Smith, Paul Nash, Frank Stella, and Sol LeWitt. I am also inspired by the art of musicians, such as Jules Ahoi, Arcade fire, Kygo, The Police, Max Manie, The Tallest Man on Earth, M83, Van Morrison, and many others. I take inspiration from artists all around me, but music is an art form that really helps me to feel and connect to the environment. I always listen to music when I photograph.
What is the most important tool when creating your work?
The most important tools for the creation of my artwork are the Earth, people, wildlife, my camera, a creative mindset, and music. Ultimately, many factors play a part in order for art to flow, but subconsciously, I think we are all inspired by one thing or another, in our lives that shine differently throughout our individual artistic expressions.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
My Grandfather once said, “If they can do it, you can do it”. His words have stayed with me throughout the years. So, whenever I want to create something but I’m not quite sure where to begin, I remember his words, and I know I’ll be able to achieve what I’ve set out to do. Albert Einstein once said 'Imagination is everything, it is the preview of life's coming attractions'. This lives with me in everything I do.
Another piece of advice that stuck with me came from a friend of mine, who once said something to me when we were shooting together in Hawaii. We were in the midst of capturing some cliff jumping shots and I asked, “How do you want me to capture you?” He said, “shoot from your heart” and ever since that moment, I've learned what it means to really feel an image as opposed to photographing with my mind alone. I’m always learning and evolving, there is no beginning or end to my artwork.
In the past, I used to think too much about whether something was right or wrong, but ultimately, I came to realize, that with art there really is no right or wrong and what may be beautiful to one person will not necessarily be to another, but that’s ok. Now, I just think about my art from my own perspective. If it looks and feels right to me, I'm happy.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Before this year’s events, I used to take the time out to visit a variety of art galleries, I love the galleries in New York and LA. I love to look at the way different artists interpret what they see and the evolving compositions they choose for their artwork(s). I try to connect to their reasoning for selecting certain colors and positions. I then take away new techniques and styles to try out within my own art. I believe originality can come from re-interpretation, it's a beautiful thing, to be inspired and to re-create. So, I'm always looking for inspiration.
I also like to brush up on my knowledge of other artists through reading books. I do like to get out and see things for myself, so I am hoping that I will be able to join the gallery scene once more in the months to come. But for now, I’m finding inspiration in smaller corners. It’s giving me a new perspective that I wouldn’t have necessarily had before.
No matter the form, one thing I have learned within my years of practicing fine art photography, is that art is transferable, ultimately each of us conveys similar or identical characteristics throughout different art forms. Whether we are writing, painting, photographing, or just being with another human. It's ultimately the same art and expression.
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