Challenging perspectives of conformity

It was an unusual preview art show opening. But then again, that’s exactly what Luke Stalker-Switzer planned

Airhead: Tappen-based artist Luke Stalker-Switzer adjusts his artwork before the start of his exhibition opening at Meikle Studios on Saturday

Airhead: Tappen-based artist Luke Stalker-Switzer adjusts his artwork before the start of his exhibition opening at Meikle Studios on Saturday

It was an unusual preview art show opening. But then again, that’s exactly what Luke Stalker-Switzer planned.

As a sculptor he likes to push the perception of reality to new heights.

“The body of work is a preview show. It’s ‘Esquaird: Conformity Observed.’ I observed in society how we conform to what society dictates. My character plays on the idea of a monkey,” he says as he motions an organ grinder playing. “And that turns into men in monkey suits.”

Stalker-Switzer uses hyper-realism and pop art. After working in the entertainment industry, he is emerging into the art world.

“I’m in a mask and a blazer, I’m allowing myself to become one of my artworks, it’s going to be pretty neat,” he says just a few hours before the preview show opening.

“It was very fortunate I was in the entertainment industry, I can incorporate that into my art.”

This show, he hopes, will go down in the art world as something entirely original, and he hopes it will be the catalyst to launch his work on the international stage. His relationship with his own art is also unique.

“I’m going to go incognito when I hit the international stage. I want my identity hidden, I want my artwork to speak for itself. It’s not about the person.”

Not surprisingly, his artwork at the preview show are all masks in varied colours and sizes. They start out as oil-based clay but every piece is molded in a cast in a variety of materials such as silicone and polyester resin.

In presenting his art show, Stalker-Switzer says he is truly following his dreams. He has done some exciting things while he was working in the prop/film industry such as designing masks for Donald Trump’s halloween party, and the alien that pops out at the end of a space ride in a theme park. Although he still has a business of doing character design which caters to his fascination with horror and science fiction art, the fine arts world is where he wants to be.

“I like to create art that people who don’t enjoy art can enjoy. Regardless of the meaning behind it, people can read into it and see a concept. It’s cool to look at. There’s something for everyone.”

Stalker-Switzer says art in general is going in a new realm and he wants to be at the forefront.

“Art is getting out of the confined box of museums and galleries and making it a business and mass producing it. (American artist) Jeff Koons has a whole line of champagne bottles with powerful imagery and that allows everyone to enjoy it, not just people who go to a gallery.”

He says the reactions to his mask and interactive sculpture were great. For his opening coming up, he will have more hyper-realistic pieces.

“One is rather surreal in a sense. Some pieces are very much bordering on pop art while others will change your perception of reality with their breathtaking realism. Some pieces you won’t even realize are sculptures. It’s a show everyone can enjoy, even those who don’t enjoy the art scene.”

Once Stalker-Switzer finishes his other pieces he plans to get a website and do a documentary.

“I hope a gallery will pick me up and I’m blindly hoping that someone will like what I do, and then start selling.”

Opening night is Sept. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Meikle Studios on Ross Street.