Vibrant, dynamic and wildly intriguing – the land of Skaffs is an inspirational oasis from the mind of Australian artist Luke Feldman. From his vast collection of artwork and products to his equally innovative Asian-influenced artistic style, Feldman has carved a cutting edge niche all his own. On the eve of the debut of his childrenâ€™sâ€™ book, â€œChaff n Skaffs: Mai and the Lost Moskivvy,â€ Luke Feldman illustrates his fascinating artistic voyage, and gives us a glimpse of whatâ€™s on the horizon.
â€œI think that because I can adapt my style to various mediums that I have been able to attract different jobs. I also think that the vibrant colors and fun environments and characters are appealing to both males and females of all ages.â€
Format: Skaffs is “a magical world made up of beautiful and bizarre creatures.” Tell us more about this world. What inspired you to create it, and what is its significance?
Luke: SKAFFS is the name of the collection of artwork and products (original artwork, giclee prints, collector toys, skate decks, vinyl adhesives, books) that I have put together over the last few years. I had been working on all these ideas since high school and had thousands of sketchbooks and computer files that I decided one day to put it out there to share with everyone. It is a running project of my lifeâ€™s long work.
Format: What does “SKAFFS” mean?
Luke: SKAFFS was a made up word that came to me early one morning. For me it is a play on the word â€˜scaffoldingâ€™ that represents the building blocks for the world I have created. Funny enough, I have since met many people from the long family line of Skaffs through the Internet.
Format: You have a new children’s book that’s about to hit the stands. At what point did you decide to create a children’s story and why?
Luke: My background was originally from childrenâ€™s education and animation. I have illustrated numerous international childrenâ€™s books. I had always wanted to illustrate and write my very own book and that dream came true through the San Francisco publishers, Immedium. Each page is a finished piece of art with Australian elements that will appeal to all ages.
Format: Is this your first book? If so, are you hoping to create a series from this point?
Luke: â€œChaff n Skaffs: Mai and the Lost Moskivvyâ€ is the first book of a series. The actual story is about Mai, a young girl who never ventured too far from her home. When a lost mosquito interrupts Maiâ€™s sleep, her friend Chaff suggests they escort Moskivvy back home to a faraway land. So begins a courageous girlâ€™s voyage into a fantastic world that will kindle readersâ€™ imaginations. Encountering whimsical creatures along the way, this trio must travel over land, sea, and sky.
Format: Your illustrative style appears to have a Japanese influence, so to speak. Has this always been your style, if not, how has it evolved?
Luke: My style is simply the use of intense colors with curvaceous and symmetrical characters and environments. Being brought up in Australia, I was very fortunate to have been exposed to many different cultures. I am particularly inspired by the Asian culture and having spent a fair amount of time in Japan has definitely influenced my work. My recent solo exhibition in Australia, â€˜Perpetual Kagemiâ€™ was inspired by a trip to Japan. Coothwoork, put together a documentary that will air on Australian TV this year. Check out the sample here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCIxpYWdluk .
Format: Describe your beginnings as an artist/designer, and your journey towards your present day success.
Luke: I have been drawing ever since I was a little kid. I studied Visual Arts and Multimedia design, worked in the gaming, education and animation industry. For me, it was great to get technical experience in a lot of different industries before branching out on my own a few years ago. Having the opportunity to design a 1-story booth at the MAC world conference in 2008 and being a finalist at the Comic Con International Independent Film Festival for my animation â€˜Who Saved the Moonâ€™ have definitely been highlights of my career.
Format: As a graphic designer, you’ve done work for some high profile companies. What do you think it is about your unique style that attracts such a wide range of clientele?
Luke: I think that because I can adapt my style to various mediums that I have been able to attract different jobs. I also think that the vibrant colors and fun environments and characters are appealing to both males and females of all ages.
Format: In addition to being a graphic designer, you’ve created animations, toys and now, a new book. What else is do you have in the works?
Luke: Things are always busy in the land of SKAFFS. I am finishing up my latest series of limited edition giclee prints for launch in the next few months. I have a couple of exhibitions that I am completing original artwork for. I have a few book launches and live paintings scheduled. I also have an animated series in the works that I am working on as well. And if all goes well, I will be expanding the SKAFFS product line. Iâ€™m always in for any cool collabs!