"Introducing an emerging designer creating captivating leather fashions."
IKEMEN #24: LUKE ABBY
IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang
"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"
Name: LUKE ABBY
Luke Abby stands as one of the creative world's rising artists. Exploring fashion and art in his teenage years, Luke’s success lies within his photography, sculptures, and set designs. Among his successes include his first solo show titled Characters, which featured eighteen portraits of certain individuals he has met throughout his travels; he has been requested by stylists such a Marie Chaix to create limited edition sculptures for Sephora's Emerald campaign photographed by David Sims. He was requested to create one of his statement solid plastic dresses for Lady Gaga and is now putting together a self published zine named Polymath. Here we had the opportunity to speak to him about his work and personal life:
1. You’re very well known for your sculpture, costume design, and photography – where and how does your creativity differ with each medium? Where do they meet?
I occasionally combine all mediums together.
2. How closely do your portraits identify with each model’s personality?
It's important to me that there is truth to the photos. People have millions of layers, which is why I like to photograph a subject over and over again.
3. Your 3D and costume work carry a mask motif – is that seen in your photography?
I began making the costumes whilst in college. I was making them in the mirror in my bedroom; it made it easier just to use my own body as a mannequin. The mask element expressed was a way to express my emotions at the time. If I do that with someone I’m photographing, I’d prefer him or her to be a completely different character. It’s one or the other.
4. How does your photography inspiration differ from other medium’s inspiration?
I originally took photos so I could remember and reflect on the moments I belonged to and were a part of – places I lived, people I met or were intimate with. For my portraits, however, I look at a lot of old paintings. For my costumes, I’m more experimental.
5. How do you know when you’ve got a good shot?
You just feel it and have confidence that your happy with. If I’m shooting a portrait, it’s important that the subject also likes it, so I always want to know what they think. Sometimes if I love it I’ll ignore them.
6. How does it feel to exhibit your work for the first time in such a big city?
The exhibit was really an amazing experience. I didn't think half the people we invited would show up, and I came back after getting changed and the space was full. One guy loved the image “Gilbo and the Poster,” he asked who that woman was, I told him a little about her, and he bought it. He related to her, which was really interesting considering he had never met her.
7. Your exhibition is titled Characters – how did you determine your subjects?
Characters was a mix mash of some of my favorite photos I had taken over the years leading up to it. There was no retouching – The subjects were friends, some of whom I'd recently met. I get excited about taking an image of someone who isn't familiar with having their photo taken, they have a naivety, or they portray their fantasy.
8. How did you feel after your first opening and what did the exhibition mean to you?
It felt great for people to see my work in person. The world is so fast paced that some things aren’t recognized as you’d like them to. People consume images so differently and so instantly – a scroll, a double tap – and it’s forgotten about.
9. Do you see your masks, headpieces, and garments as fashion or art?
It’s all what people perceive it as. Perhaps both.
10. What is the most memorable sculpture you’ve created?
Probably the first one I ever made. It was a hat made from train tickets that I had collected and saved over two years from going back and forth to London every day from Kent while I was studying. It has all of the different dates on it. It got left in the sunlight for a while and all of the information faded away.
11. How has working with higher-up companies, celebrities, and designers influenced your work?
It hasn't. I still work the way I did when I was working in the mirror.
12. When things get crazy in the workplace, how do you relieve yourself?
I try to tidy up.
13. What is your perfect Saturday?
None of it feels like work so Saturday is like Sunday, which is just like Monday.
14. What is your muse?
All of the important people in my life who I like to photograph again and again.
15. Do you have any life-essential tips for our readers?
Don’t feel pressured into studying at a university. Get out into the world and learn it firsthand.
WRITTEN & INTERVIEWED BY: EMILIA LIU
PHOTOGRAPHY: LUKE ABBY