The rough and smooth of Rotherham life - Luke Walsh

The rough and smooth of Rotherham life - Luke Walsh

By Admin | 30/04/2021

The rough and smooth of Rotherham life - Luke Walsh


ARTIST Luke Walsh (37) documents Rotherham through photographs showing the rough and the smooth sides of life in the town. Also a talented fine artist, Luke talked us through how his passion took hold and the inspiration behind his atmospheric urban scenes.

ARTIST Luke Walsh (37) documents Rotherham through photographs showing the rough and the smooth sides of life in the town. Also a talented fine artist, Luke talked us through how his passion took hold and the inspiration behind his atmospheric urban scenes.

Q:  When did you realise you had a passion for art and photography? Have you always been creative?
A: It must have been in around 2012 when I started getting more seriously into the visual arts.
I wanted to capture the look and feel of our town with photography as I was interested in the industrial landscape, the people and its history. I simply started to go out and explore various places with a cheap camera in hand, some places more photogenic than others.
Eventually, I was learning the basics of composition and had a collection of images which I put into print.
I got the photography bug and I’m usually out most days looking for new ideas and themes.

Q: Can you tell us about how your interest developed through school, college and further training?
A: At school and college, I didn't really know about the fine arts.
It wasn't until I joined Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR) at Westgate Chambers in town, which I discovered while out and about taking pictures, that I considered the arts as a career path.
ROAR gave me the opportunities and facilities to learn new skills, meet fellow creatives and exhibit my work.
I have to give a shout-out to Matt, Sharon and Ken at ROAR who pushed me to study for a degree in fine art which has been an amazing, eye opening experience and has reinforced my passion within the arts.

Q: What is your preferred medium? Do you have a favourite piece or pieces you have produced?
A: The beauty about fine art is that you don't have to be limited to a particular medium or technique - everything is relevant.
Within my time of being a fine artist, I have experimented with many mediums and styles, including painting, digital art, print making, analogue photography, sculpture, found objects, light and more.
Often, these mediums and styles overlap with each other within particular pieces and ideas, some are stronger in various works than others.
My work is increasingly moving towards sculptural objects with a strong narrative towards childhood memory, immersion and object association, as well as taking into account colour theory, form and composition.
Favourite recent pieces include a couple of works which I submitted for my final assessment — a large portrait of my dad which was made from 4,000 bubble gum balls, and as an old sewing box which was made into a light box/lamp sculpture.

Q: You're a prolific poster on Instagram, and your photography work covers a wide range of subjects and techniques, from atmospheric urban and landscape shots to more experimental images. How important is it to you to spread your wings creatively?
A: Just like the experimentation with particular materials and mediums within a sculptural setting, this translates over to the camera, too - it's simply a need to push the boundaries of any technique to discover a new method or outcome. As we are always learning and discovering, it is very important to evolve artistically.

Q: How do you make use of digital technology and software?
A: Working between the analogue and digital is a very important process, things get lost or added when moving between the two and they can certainly complement one another.

Within my photography work, I tend to shoot digital mainly, same with the editing process, however a lot of experimentation can be done in the darkroom.

However, within my sculptural work there is more emphasis on real life objects and materials. Digital techniques are still used in the planning and research stages.


Q: Are there any pictures, artists, photographers or styles that have particularly inspired your work?
A: Locally, there are some fantastic artists, makers, designers and photographers - most of them I have met though ROAR.
More widely, a couple of photographers I want to mention are Todd Hido and the way he captures urban environments at night, as well as Hiroshi Sugimoto, a legendary photographer whose extremely long slow shutter speeds (sometimes hours at a time) are very influential and awe-inspiring. In particular, I love his theatre and seascape series. These are the two main artists that have influenced my photography practice.
When it comes to inspiration for fine art pieces, everything is an inspiration, from personal memory, architecture, found objects to the way light falls on a landscape.
A particular favourite art movement of mine is Arte Povera, which translates to poor art.

Artists tended to use non-traditional materials and unconventional techniques within their works.

It pushed the boundaries of what art could be at that time and is a concept that has stuck with me and found its way into my work.


Q: What challenges have you faced in developing and finding an audience?
A: Because of the situation we are in, with no way to put physical exhibitions on, Instagram has been the most useful platform to connect with people, especially further afield, and sometimes to even collaborate artistically through digital means.
When things get back to normal, ideas which have been realised for artwork and projects during lockdown can finally be exhibited.

Q: Can anyone be an artist or photographer? What would you say to those who might think they have no talent?
A: Of course! Everyone has talent, it’s just a matter of realising it. Anyone can learn and take wonderful shots or create fantastic artwork.
It's a case of getting out there and doing it.
If you want to collaborate, find me on Instagram @ILIVEINASQUARE.