On Saturday, February 27th downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery will proudly premiere their next major solo show, entitled Intensive Purposes, from established Los Angeles art scene painter and illustrator Luke Chueh.
Employing minimal color schemes, simple animal characters, and a seemingly endless list of ill-fated situations, Chueh stylistically balances cute with brute, walking the fine line between comedy and tragedy. In their 2017 artist profile, Juxtapoz says, “With a carnal instinct…Luke Chueh creates work that stimulates our most primal constructs. His paintings favor compositions that are simple and direct, and usually feature a solitary anthropomorphic figure stuck in a self-reflective stupor within a frozen monochromatic void. A first look at one of his images evokes the warm and fuzzy, the stuffed teddy bear you cuddled as a child. But then a glimmer of despair emanates from the inertia, revealing something troubling within the tableau. Chueh’s work over the past decade has become widely popular and extensively imitated. His distinct style sets his work apart from the output by others of similar ilk. The prolific artist boasts a singular brand…”
Regarding his new show Intensive Purposes, Chueh shares: “The show’s title was inspired by the often misquoting of the phrase, ‘Intents and purposes.’ But the misconstrued idiom suits my work perfectly. This collection was inspired by ideas conceived throughout 2020. Paintings like ‘Let Fly,’ a masochistic take on escapism, to ‘Agoraphobia’ were inspired by the pandemic.”
He adds, “While ‘One Trick Pony,’ ‘Picking Up the Pieces,’ and ‘Over Extended’ are undeniably introspective paintings, ‘小熊包 (Xiao Xiong Bao)’ is a twisted take on one of my favorite foods ─ Chinese soup dumplings (Xiǎo lóng bāo) ─ and ‘The End of Luke Chueh’ pays homage to the poster art for the film, The End of Evangelion (Japanese: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン劇場版 Airエア/まごころを、君に). I’m also not above the shallowest of pop culture trends, the show’s diptych, titled ‘Pop,’ is based on one of my favorite internet memes, ‘Pop Cat.’ Looking at the show as whole, what I’ve realized is that I don’t like being pinned down by a style or a narrative. And though there isn’t an overarching theme, I hope you’ll agree that my paintings speak with intensive purpose.”
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Fresno, CA, Chinese painter/illustrator Luke Chueh (pronounced CHU) studied graphic design at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, earning a BS in Art & Design (Graphic Design concentration). Chueh would go onto become the in-house designer/illustrator for the world’s leading guitar manufacturer, Ernie Ball, where he created several award-winning designs and was featured in the design annuals of Communication Arts and Print Magazine. In addition, during this period, Chueh founded, created, and produced a zine, titled E.X.P, dedicated to the "Intelligent Dance Music (IDM)" genre.
In 2003, Chueh moved to Los Angeles to further pursue a career in design; however, a lack of employment opportunities left him resorting to painting (only a hobby at that point, he picked up in college) as a way to keep busy. Eventually, Los Angeles’ underground arts organization Cannibal Flower begin inviting Chueh to show at their monthly events, launching his career as a studio artist. Since then, Chueh has quickly worked his way up the ranks of the Los Angeles art scene, establishing himself as an artist not to be ignored. Employing minimal color schemes, simple animal characters, and a seemingly endless list of ill-fated situations, Chueh stylistically balances cute with brute, walking the fine line between comedy and tragedy.
Chueh's work has been featured in galleries around the world and profiled by the likes of Juxtapoz, Clutter, Entertainment Weekly, and LA Weekly; in addition to some of his paintings being reinterpreted into vinyl toys. In 2008, GRAMMY®-nominated rock band Fall Out Boy commissioned Chueh to design the artwork for their fourth studio album Folie à Deux. The band’s bassist, Pete Wentz, owns the original painting.