Luke Kisena is an artist, graphic designer, photographer and video editor in Sequim, Washington.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Luke Kisena: I was eight years old when my love for art started. There was an art contest that had to do with the Olympics, and I wanted to win it so badly. I’m a fan of Kung Fu, so I chose Taekwondo and created my piece. When I lost, a fire was lit because I didn’t believe the winner’s art was better than mine. I was a little mischievous, so I feel like my behavior might have cost me the contest. I now work with spray paint, acrylic, photography, graphic design and video/montage. I like to work with all possible mediums, but these are the ones I use the most and with which I am most comfortable.
Can you tell us about your artistic approach and how the different stages fit into it?
It depends on what I’m working on. If it’s a commission, I rely on clients’ visions and color palettes. I try to get information and feedback to help me create their vision, whether it’s a painting or a digital piece/logo. If it’s personal, there’s really no method to my madness. It usually starts with a sketch or a storyboard, sometimes both. I try to change projects often to keep my motivation. I have found that when I focus on a piece/project for too long, I tend to burn out quickly. Taking the time to let the art come to life is important and helps keep ideas fresh and allows for innovative ideas. If I ever hit a speed bump related to my artistic abilities, I integrate my graphic design skills and technology to help generate my visions.
Tell us where your inspiration for your art comes from.
I draw inspiration from so many different places. First of all, all the difficulties and joys that I have experienced in life. Art is like therapy; I tend to be more creative when working on things or during trials. It also works with happiness and joy, but I tend to really push myself in the face of hardship or unfair things that we all have to go through to be personally successful. Growing up as a graffiti artist, I have always been inspired by graffiti, street art and street artists. I appreciate all the arts, but the graffiti of the 80s influenced me a lot and made me the artist I am today. Hip Hop/Rap has a lot to do with my inspiration. On a different note, a lot of inspiration comes from my family, friends and students.
Do you have a specific “rhythm” that you prefer – nature, food, profiles, etc. ?
Graffiti and street art are the style that I like the most. I like to incorporate things of various styles that you might not see together. I love pop culture and cartoons from the 80s, so I often incorporate that and that era has a very strong influence on me. I try to be diverse and get out of my creative comfort zone. I love collecting retro toys and designer vinyls, so customization, 3D printing and resin creation are the next things for me.
Do you have a work of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
I have several, but the most recent one is a collaboration with my daughter. She’s such a talented artist, and working with her on this project means so much to me. It’s almost finished and I’m already in love with it. Hopefully this will lead to many more.
What experiences in your life have influenced your art the most?
It is so difficult to narrow down an answer to this question. I am grateful for all the experiences I have had. Whether good or bad, they constantly affect my art but have helped me grow as an artist. The love of my family and friends affects my art, and collaborating with other creative people helps me. Finally, all of the students I work with or have worked with over the past 13 years who are able to support and help young people reach their full potential have helped push my artistic abilities.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
You can find me on most social networks. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us!
What’s next for you? Something you’re working on right now that you’re really passionate about?
The next one is the 2022-2023 school year, so I will be hosting youth support groups. I focus on the other half of my career as a Student Assistant Professional. I will also take art commissions, but balance is essential to avoid overload and burnout. For 190 days a year, students come before art. What I’m working on right now is finishing the collaboration with my daughter. She’s really excited to sell it and get that money.
Finally, how do you drink your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
I haven’t had a cup of coffee in over a decade. Give me a zero Gatorade, La Croix (passion fruit) or some tea, please.
About ‘Artist of the Week’: Seattle may be known for its niche cafes and scenic waterways, but locals know it’s also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is full of artists that we love to feature every week on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at [email protected] And if you’re wondering what constitutes art, that’s the beauty of it; It’s yours! Find all our former Artists of the week in our dedicated section.