On Our Walls: Stay Gold by Lucas Young

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Studio67 is excited to host the very first solo show from Toronto’s Lucas Young.

Notable illustrator and designer by trade, Lucas makes art for clients like Nike and Red Bull while sustaining a vibrant personal practice on the side inspired by music and mantra. Do not miss his work at Studio67 now through the holidays, and join us to welcome Lucas for his opening reception this Thursday night, 8pm - 11pm.

Interview with the Artist:

Tell me about yourself...

I grew up in the countryside outside of Guelph, but always aspired to the big city. I was the prototypical "artsy kid" who divided his time between skateparks and canvases. I decided to pursue design at York via Sheridan, offering a happy medium between art and practicality that appeased my parents. Since graduating I've worked as a full time graphic designer at a boutique agency while pursuing my side hustle in illustration and art. I love biking, burritos, and beer.


Can you tell me about how you first came to art?

I've loved art for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was taking adult classes in portraiture and painting at the Guelph School of Art. Canvasses and unfinished projects are cluttering my parents house to this day. I had planned on going to OCAD for illustration, but I when they time came I was not accepted so I decided to attend York for design instead. I think that rejection from OCAD drove me harder towards  illustration. Anyway, I've been a practicing artist for about 10 years but my focus changed dramatically over time as I grow.

What other creative forms or mediums do you practice in or have you tried? Why has illustration become your main medium of expression?

I guess you can say that I evolved into illustration. I began as an artist, became a designer and came to illustration as I was introduced to a much more digital workflow. Most of my work is made on iPads and computer screens, not a canvas. I like thing because it allows me to create, undo, and remix things in ways I could never do on paper. But having started in drawing and painting I'm always looking for a tactile approach so I still paint with acrylics, aerosol cans, draw on paper, and hand draw lettering and calligraphy all the time. Even if I create work on a computer I like to see it brought to life in a very tactile manner through screen printing and other physical mediums.


What would you say is the signature character of your art?

My work is rooted in music, pop-culture, and humour but I think there is an undercurrent that’s much darker and emotive. I've always loved portraiture and the human form so that motif comes up a lot along with typography and storytelling. I try to kind of blend these elements; human figures and phrases that reinforce one another.

What inspires you?

People, places, things. Old comics, instagram, people watching, I think ideas come from everywhere especially your environment. I think experiences definitely shape a lot of my ideas and often my work is a response to an emotion or an experience I've had.

What aspects of life inform your art?

I think art is heavily driven by internal reflection. Creating something new requires drawing from something and often the easiest thing to draw from is yourself. Be it personal goals, struggles or just simply asking questions, the internal reflection proves to be a constant pool of thoughts and ideas that can be visualized in ways that connect with others.

Describe your art to someone in a couple of sentences...

Lowbrow poster art for confused millennials.

Can you tell me about this particular installation?

"Stay Gold" is a mantra I repeat to myself over and over again; it’s elemental, positive, and consistent. The collection explores themes of duality, death, curiosity, and expression through the lens of adolescence. It's an experiment in texture, typography, portraiture, and palette that works to tie together messaging and visuals surrounding emotive darkness but the glimmer of gold that stays true no matter what.

What piece of your work do you love the most and why?

I think the girl hiding in the flowers is my favourite piece, I've always been drawn to flowers and female figures as visual muses, and this combines them both in a somewhat surreal way that still emits this feeling of camouflage and introversion that I very much relate to.