Interview and Images by Adarsha Benjamin
“At some point I started to work with more abstract
ideas of visual form and color and that was when I recognized
that I was finally doing the work that I was built for.”
— Luckey Remington
Luckey Remington is a Los Angeles based artist and musician from Eugene, Oregon. His artwork has been displayed at the Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco and at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles. As a musician he has played with Devendra Banhart, Tahiti Pehrson, Pete Newsom and The Pleased. View his artwork and listen to his music here.
Adarsha Benjamin is a Los Angeles based artistic visionaire, curatorial director, and film maker. Born in Seattle, she lived in San Francisco, New Orleans, and Paris before moving to New York City, and then Los Angeles at the age of 17. She studied acting at HB Studios in New York City, and the Beverly Hills Playhouse and directed the short film, Kurt in 2012. View her photos and films here.
The Merry Pranksters were a community of people formed around author Ken Kesey in 1964. The group openly used and promoted the use psychedelic drugs. The group lived communally in Ken Kesey’s homes in California and Oregon and are noted for their early escapades many of which were chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Franceso Lo Savio
Francesco Lo Savio (1935-1963) was an Italian pre-minimalist painter and sculptor. Lo Savio studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and was heavily influenced by Walter Gropius, The Bauhaus and De Stijl, and Piet Mondrian. His work dealt with dynamic properties of light and space.
Robert Mangold is an American minimalist artist from North Tonawanda, NY. Mangold studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1956-1959 and then at Yale University. His work combines the classic elements of composition, shape, line and colour, to create abstract architectural paintings and drawings.
Agnes Martin (1912-2004) was a Canadian-American abstract painter. Martin considered herself an abstract expressionist although often referred to as a minimalist. She is known for her work in monochrome and hard-edge painting.
Ellsworth Kelly is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker known for his work with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and the minimalist school. His work often employs bright colours and demonstrates techniques which emphasise simplicity of form.
Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculptor and video artist known for his work with large scale assemblies of sheet metal and his involvement in the Process Art Movement.
John McCracken (1934 – 2011) was a contemporary artist from Berkeley California whose work brought a new openness to minimalist sculpture. His body of work consisted of bright, glossy slabs, blocks and columns as well as a series of paintings and is associated with the Minimalist movement, as well as the Light and Space Artists.
James Turell is an American artist from Pasadena California. His work is primarily concerned with light and space and he is best known for his work in progress, Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Josef Albers (1888 – 1976) was a German-American artist and educator, and a significant figure and innovator of such styles as Colour Field painting and Op art. His work in both Europe and the United States formed the foundation of some of the most influential art education programs of the 20th century.
I first met Luckey under the space needle in Seattle, Wa. At the time he was playing bass with Devendra Banhart, one of his many incarnations since I have known him. Over the years we became good friends. I remember the house him and Devendra shared in Silverlake, and how serene and aesthetically aligned his room was. All white, stark, clean. One day the whole place was filled with watercolors, beautiful splashes of color on tiny sheets of paper. I always kept those images in my mind, something about them resonated with me. I hadn’t seen his work since then, until a recent visit to his studio that was out in Lincoln Heights but has since moved to the art district in downtown LA ( where these photo’s were taken ) . I was completely amazed at the sheer volume of work he has created, and the dedication to it. He has followed a feeling, and its led to a massive collection of perfectly beautiful and palatable work. It feels like a cross-pollination between a Joseph Albers color theory exercise and a James Turrel light exhibit, or a kindergarten lesson and a hungarian waltz. It soothing, serene, and exactly what I wish more artists would dedicate there time to. It has a feeling, an emotion that its running on, and it still feels comforting, yet simple. Here is a glimpse into the life and color of Luckey Remington.
Adarsha Benjamin: Where are you from?
Luckey Remington: Springfield, OR.
AB: When did you start focusing on visual art?
LR: I studied film when I was younger in college but quickly fell out with it and left that behind. While living in Paris in 2007 I bought my first set of watercolor paints. I was living with a girl who at the time was studying figure drawing and I was really captivated by her progress and seeing how meditative and enjoyable the process was for her. So as hackneyed and trite as it seems now, this is when I started experimenting and focusing on my own ideas and keeping a sketchbook with the sense of documenting my own progress.
AB: Who influenced you growing up and who influences you today?
“I’ve always been fascinated with multidimensional personas, people who can
balance producing visual art, music, have
a business sense and also keep somewhat
normal social lives. ” — Luckey Remington
LR: Growing up I wasn’t surrounded by too many artists and was really only aware of certain groups like the Merry Pranksters and their brand of social experimentation and counter culture attitude. But as I grew older and my tastes matured I found myself drawn to people like Franceso Lo Savio, Robert Mangold, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, John McCracken to name a few.
I really love Mike Mills, he seems to be able to traverse the world of commercial art and fine art and still leave his own distinct mark on what he does, jumping between graphic design to feature films and music videos. I’ve always been fascinated with multidimensional personas, people who can balance producing visual art, music, have a business sense and also keep somewhat normal social lives. The music of Erik Satie and Luciano Cilio help me keep my bearings as well.
AB: How would you describe your style?
LR: My sensibilities come from a relationship to a clearly defined space and how one negotiates that space while also trying to find some perspective in the current moment, turning absent to present. I tend to work with ideas in a series of patterns with repetition while trying to maintain the discipline to make the same thing over and over and over until it qualifies to be presented publicly, the idea that your next one is always better than the last one. Ideally trying not to hide behind sarcasm and detachment.
AB: How and when did you decide that this is what you were going to do?
LR: I prefer the solitary nature that can be found in creating, so its tough to say if I made the conscious decision or if I was predisposed to being alone in a studio for hours on end listening to Boléro by Ravel. I come from a background of music and have for the better part of my adult life been putting forth that medium in the form of a band and being a member of a band. After a decade of performing and recording and being apart of what was ultimately a group effort, I found myself reticent and looking for other ways to define who I was, and what my relationship to my work was. Music had also become anything but a meditative practice and something that I enjoyed, it was actually painful and torturous. Being locked away in a cell with just a loud brain that you can’t listen to for one more second is what creating music began to feel like to me. But with visual art I was able to feel comfortable with being alone again.
“I prefer the solitary nature that can be
found in creating, so its tough to say if I made the conscious decision or if I was predisposed to being alone in a studio for hours on end listening to Boléro by Ravel” — Luckey Remington
AB: What’s the story behind getting started creatively?
LR: I started out at first working with figurative drawing and landscape narratives because I thought that was just what you did, but then at some point I started to work with more abstract ideas of visual form and color and that was when I recognized that I was finally doing the work that I was built for. It was at this time that I found a process that really worked for me, and I have just continued to build from that system, getting better at it and refining and hopefully elevating it with every new series.
Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). The piece premiered in 1928 and is Ravel’s most famous musical composition.
Mike Mills is and American film and music video director, graphic designer and artist. Mills was grew up in Berkely California and moved to New York City to study at Cooper Union. He has created music videos for artists such as Moby and Yoko Ono, worked as a graphc designer for bands such as Beastie Boys as well as brands such as Marc Jacobs. Mills is currently producing and designing his own line of posters and fabrics called Humans by Mike Mills.
Erik Satie ( 1866 – 1925) was a French composer and pianist and a significant figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. His work served as a precursor to artistic movements such as minimalism, Theatre of the Absurd, and Repetitive Music and represents the first definite break with 19th-century French Romanticism.
Luciano Cilio (1950 – 1983) was an italian musician and composer from Naples. Cilio released Daloghi del present, an album of minimalist music in 1977 and died by his own hand 6 years later. An expanded version of the album entitled Dell’Universo Assente was released in 2004.
AB: What’s your favorite album / book / artist / film …. right now?
LR: My favorite album at the moment is by Perhaps by Harold Budd but I’d also like to include the new Damon Albarn album, The book I’m currently reading right now is The Razors Edge by Somerset Maugham, My favorite artist right now is Lee Ufan, My favorite film at the moment is HER from Spike Jonze.
AB: What are your interests and passions outside of your practice?
LR: I have a small herbal tea business that I maintain and try to grow when I have the time and it provides an outlet for the entrepreneur in me. Also travel, architecture, and the Lakers.
AB: How do you feel about the rising creative scene in LA?
LR: Well it’s hard for me to really get a grasp on it as I tend to be a bit of an insular shithead. I do know that I see friends all around me creating some of the best works they’ve ever done and growing immensely as artists and I do get a sense that there are contemporaneous efforts from both artist and curator towards some sort of common goal. But that goal doesn’t really inform my work.
“My only hope is that someday long after I’m gone and forgotten, somewhere in a dark basement someone will stumble upon a graveyard of flat files filled with my work and they will think to themselves, “what the hell was this guy up to?” So I’m working towards that. ” — Luckey Remington
AB: What’s next?
LR: My only hope is that someday long after I’m gone and forgotten, somewhere in a dark basement someone will stumble upon a graveyard of flat files filled with my work and they will think to themselves, “what the hell was this guy up to?” So I’m working towards that.