Luke Ramsey Artist Feature

Landmark Presents exists to amplify artists whose work encourages inclusivity and stewardship of our public lands.

Luke Ramsey

is a painter whose career started in illustration and evolved into public art. He currently lives on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and new puppy. Check out the interview below to learn more!

What impact can public art have on a city?

Public art can be a good marker for people to meet and converse about art, and the art become a part of people’s daily lives and commutes. I made a mural in Calgary for The Alpha House, a resource and shelter for the homeless and people with addiction and mental health challenges. The shelter was getting a lot of negative attention from new condo owners in the area. The condos were built long after the shelter was there. The mural helped give the shelter a sense of place and pride. It was also nice for people to engage with the nature themed art and have a sense of ownership of the art.

Where do your bright colors come from?

I always see new things in nature and want people to see new things in my art too. I started introducing bright colours after spending so many years making mostly black and white drawings. Initially my colours were inspired by professional sports teams uniforms. Later on I started to see similarities with Ted Harrison’s colour palette, a renowned Canadian painted who lived in the Yukon.  

You've lived on a few islands in your day. What do you love about island-living, and how does it compare to living on the mainland?

Island living is nice because there’s a strong sense of community and conservation for the natural environment. Being surrounded by sea life and orcas is wonderful too. I currently live on the mainland, but is in an area surrounded by ocean and mountains and you can only get to it by ferry, so it has similarities to the island life I know. 

We've read that you went without a cell phone for many, many years. Do you own a cell phone now, and is it possible to live without one anymore?

I didn’t own a cellphone until 2014. I started to enjoy the convenience and connectivity with friends, family and art related contacts. I also quickly became sucked into the benefits of social media and sharing my art online. My last expensive smartphone of three years died on me recently, likely planned obsolescence. I took a month break from having a phone and it was a needed break. I was just given an older phone that is very small so it is discouraging to be on social media too much with it. I’m not against cellphones and social media, although theses tech devices do have a destructive environmental impact and strain on people’s mental health. The connectivity they provide is valuable. Phones now have amazing cameras. I love taking photos of nature, but when I didn’t have a smartphone for that month, I certainly looked at nature differently, savoured it more, thought about my finite life. How precious taking in natural beauty is without always wanting to document the moment. I feel fortunate that I lived a life before smartphones and social media, and sometimes I need to remind myself of what it was like before, or find a balance with what was, what is, and what is to be. 

Are you involved in any form of advocacy or giveback?

I often host collaborative drawing sessions with local youth, in person and online. I like to make illustrations for advocacy causes that catch my attention.

Special thank you to Luke for sharing his work with us!

Be sure to check out his Instagram and website!

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