THERE is an existence worth contemplating and it is the existence of an artist. No ordinary artist, Luke Human embodied that capricious spirit of outrage against a system that denied the most fundamental human right – the right not to give a damn about anything, except being yourself. Luke was more than anything in the world, himself. His art was second nature and for what it’s worth, I could not bring myself to simply mollify his journey into “figurative expressionism” since so many figurative expressionists fall into a psychiatric ward of self-examination and fail to return with the goods.
If there was a failing it was that Luke was more of an artist, than a producer of artwork. As such, it is worth assessing what being an artist like Luke Human must have been. For one there was no sign of pretension and braggadocio which marks so many art-school graduates these days. No attempt to render likeable, easily digestible, commodity fetishes. Absolutely nothing of the decorative or banal. No, what Luke possessed was an uncanny ability to render portraits of ones own inner turmoil, the strife and crisis of ego we experience on a daily basis.
After sitting for one such portrait on New Years Eve in 2002, in his studio above Wellington Fruit Growers, I was amazed to see my features extracted like some rare inner monologue, and redrawn to perfection in the nether regions of Luke Human-ness. Today I would love to know if anything came from these preliminary sketches, that were bound to wash-up at various galleries, and always marketed as the act of sheer and utter raving lunacy, the life of an artist whose portfolio of work must have included a fair amount of studies of young girls from Bishopscourt and Constantia.
I hate to sound trivial, but the very thing which gave Luke his stormy impulsive personality turned out to be his finally undoing. With no formal schooling he turned to a variety of distractions to compensate. Among these were his drug-taking and liberality, mixed with a volley of understatement and self-praise, that issued forth many incantations into the night. I dare say that he was eventually done in by one of the many skollies and criminal types that must have provided Luke with a daily pharmacological sustenance for this, his most artistic of folly’s.
Cape Town, 22-09-2005