As an art student, one is naturally exposed to the work of many, many different creative professionals. If you are fortunate, you are even given the opportunity to listen to (and meet with) guest speakers in your field who you look up to.
This month's Spotlight is on such an artist I had the pleasure of meeting in March of 2008 at the State University of New York at New Paltz, graphic designer and all-around artist Luba Lukova.
While working on my thesis project "The Backdrop for Our Work," I noted the following in my project blog:
"Last week I had a personal crit with the visiting graphic designer and illustrator Luba Lukova, whose work I admire greatly. She had some very constructive things to say and was particularly excited about this thesis project. I told her I would send her a copy when I was done. I take it as some kind of sign that she, a graphic designer/illustrator who works in such an incredible, minimalist fashion, happened to come in at this point in time, while I'm working on this book. I'm very grateful for it, and to the students who brought her here."
Although by most classifications she is a "graphic designer," she is inclined to call herself an "artist," and I can understand why. It's socially-aware, fluid, and feels organic--almost as if each piece is some part of an early symbolical writing. She makes the stuff look easy. But there's a reason she's found success--it isn't. Like the astute designers who come up with the most relied-on bits of signage we see each day, her work can be taken for granted because it appears so simple one might tend to overlook its inherent insight and beauty. Take another look. What you see is heavily researched and composed.
As a designer I'm amazed at her ability to be consistently inventive, distinctive, and maybe most significantly, direct. Luba's work is frequently defined by what people in-the-know refer to as "economy of line," applying stark black and/or white iconic images to flat color. As a poster designer, this gives the work a natural power and urgency.
Inspired by peoples' will to make a difference, she applies her freedom of expression (something she lacked in communist Bulgaria) to create and distribute her artwork, meant to speak to an international audience. Luba hopes her visual metaphors will serve as catalysts for action.
Luba's work has been exhibited around the world, and she has received commissions from many well-known organizations such as Harvard University, Adobe Systems and The New York Times.
Luba has her own site at www.lukova.net, but it's important to note that it has been "Coming soon!" for quite some time, so I will also link to her work here.
Indeed I still owe her a book. All the more reason to kick myself in the butt and return to my project.