InPrint Interviews Luba Lukova

InPrint: Luba Lukova is a great illustrator with a unique style, who thinks that
one of the most important thing in her art is to convey a message, express
an idea and trigger an emotion. Her artworks are simple , colorful and graphic.
Lets have a chat with her!

InPrint: Tell us a little bit about yourself

I've lived and worked in New York since 1991. I was born in
Bulgaria and came to the the US by invitation of the Colorado International
Invitational Poster exhibition. The organizers had seen my work and wanted me to participate
in their show. After visiting Fort Collins, CO I went to New York and immediately found job as an
editorial illustrator for the New York Times. I've lived in the Big Apple ever since working and
exhibiting internationally.

InPrint: There are different elements that you incorporate in your art, How do you blend all these styles in a harmonious way?

In my work I never think about style. For me the most important thing is to convey a message, to express an idea, to trigger an emotion. Form and style are secondary, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about the artistic craft. Without technique even the greatest idea is worth noting. Still, I feel uncomfortable when a client asks me to work in a style of mine they've already seen. Usually I turn down such projects by telling that I would do my best to create a powerful image but I don't know yet what style I would use. The work would dictate the style.

InPrint: Did you study graphic design in school or are you a self-taught artist? And in your opinion what are the pro's and con's of each?

>Yes, I studied art and I think I got a very good art education. I graduated from the National Academy of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria. Back then, in the late 1980's, it was very difficult to be accepted to study at the Academy. Not only because it was very competitive, but because art was an important part of the Communist ideology that was ruling at the time. The accepted students needed to be approved by the Party and have their background checked. My family was blacklisted by the regime and I suffered the consequences. I had to apply for 3 consecutive years before I finally was admitted to study. This was such a waste of time but without the diploma from the Academy we were not allowed to practice art, so I had to go through all this if I wanted to be an artist. In my family my grandmother was an artist and I grew up with her. She was an amazing talent and is still my greatest influence. To answer your question about going to design school or being self-thought, my answer is that it is important to learn every day of your life. You don't have to have a graduate degree, but you have to keep learning and striving to get better in your work. It is important to meet a couple of good teachers in the beginning but the education of an artist continues through your entire career, at least for me.

InPrint: How do you define yourself as an artist and tell us a strong point every artist should have?you explain your art process?

That's a difficult question. I guess you have to feel that motivation in yourself even if the entire world is against you. You have to have a strong character but also to be compassionate. I guess that's what makes people respond to the art we create.

InPrint: Do you have a favorite color or palette?

My favourite colour is yellow. Don't ask why. Always remember loving the vibrance and feel of this colour. I did once say to someone that asked; "Yellow is the colour of the sun, and the sun gives life, what other reason than this to love that colour."

InPrint: Your Social Justice series ( ) has some amazing colors so can you please walk us through how you created it and what is the meaning behind the design?

Color brings emotion to the work. I have that theory that if I want to express a clever concept I can do this in only black and white, but if I want to stir the feelings deeper, I need color. I usually use a limited color palette for my posters. I think this helps the visibility and accessibility of the work. Every color contributes to the final impact of the piece. For example, in the Peace poster the innocent blue color emphasizes the irony of the image.

InPrint: If you could tell yourself one bit of advice concerning your own art what would you say and why?

I've always said "If it comes from the heart, it goes to the heart". I guess this means that if we have integrity in our work, people will respond to it.

InPrint: I see you like to incorporate typography to your designs, What would you say is your favorite style to work in and why?you use models/source pictures or do you draw from your memory/imagination?

We all know how important typography is in design. Bad typography can spoil even the most beautiful image. In my work, I approach type as an inseparable part of the image. I often hand letter the type to organically connect it with my drawings. I enjoy inventing different letter forms for each poster I create. I really have a very deep respect for typography and am fascinated to look at calligraphy from different cultures.

InPrint: Who would you say are your "design inspiration," meaning artists that you look up to; and also tell us why you feel this way about them, what makes them special?

I could say a load of flippant things here; coffee, and loud music! However, I am one of the fortunate people who rarely get stuck for inspiration. As I teach creative thinking, I express the need to look around you and find a theme, story or even a simple spark with any given object. Fantasy is not an omni-present reality form, it is a creation of the brain. Therefore, you take something and make a story.There comes the idea.

InPrint: What book do you remember from when you were young?

I mentioned my grandmother. Apart from her, there are so many people that have inspired me. One such person in New York is the founder of La MaMa theatre, Ellen Stewart, for whom I've designed posters for the past 10 years. If you read the story of this woman…just amazing. Then, I’m honestly always more moved by art and writing than finding my “heroes” in design. If I have to mention some examples I’d say that the writing of Chekhov or Shakespeare have affected me decisively. What inspires me in their work is that they search the answers to the major questions in life. I think design, the way it is practiced now, often scratches only the surface of things and that's not interesting to me.

InPrint: Any final thoughts for our readers? you could illustrate any writer's new work, who would it be?

Oh, I said so many things already. I'd repeat: put your heart in everything you do.

InPrint: Where can we find out more about you?

Luba Lukova Studio
3105 Crescent Street
Suite A
Long Island City, NY 11106
Tel (718) 956 1045

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