Kingston art student snapped up by Charles Saatchi
Photography student is ecstatic after one of his latest projects was chosen for display in London’s prestigious Saatchi Gallery.
A Kingston University photography student is ecstatic after one of his latest projects was chosen for display in London’s prestigious Saatchi Gallery.
Luke Evans, who is in his final year of a graphic design and photography degree course at Kingston, was left speechless when he received a phone call from the world-famous gallery asking him to showcase photographs from his latest project as part of a forthcoming exhibition. The eye-catching series, named Forge, portrays grand landscapes deceptively created from small items in Luke's kitchen.
The 22 year old from Hereford said he was contacted by the gallery after they stumbled across the collection of six images on the internet. His portfolio was then shown to gallery owner Charles Saatchi after which he was told his work would appear in the New Order: British Art Today III exhibition, expected to launch later in the year. “I never imagined my work would generate so much interest and to have this project go on display at the Saatchi Gallery is a dream come true,” Luke said. “My time at Kingston University has allowed me to explore the many different avenues photography has to offer and I’ve been encouraged to push the boundaries of what can be achieved. My lecturers have really opened my eyes to all the possibilities in front of me.”
The third year student admitted the idea for Forge had popped into his head while he was baking bread, after he accidentally knocked flour on to his worktop and was struck by how much it resembled an alien landscape. “I often see other things in objects such as faces or animals, and I’ve always wanted to explore this concept so when I spotted this Mars-like scene, I quickly snapped some photos on my phone and it all really started from there,” he explained. “Turning the images in my head into reality, however, was very tricky because the camera needed to be at a very specific angle. If it wasn’t in quite the right place my fingers, hand or even face could appear in the pictures which would totally distort the image.”
The objects photographed for Luke’s collection were created using common household products such as self-raising flour, paint, fragments of brick and glycerine throat medication. They measured just a few inches across so to achieve the grand sense of scale, Luke used a popular photographic technique called tilt-shift.
Most of the images in Luke’s collection would look at home in a science fiction film – including one picture featuring a vivid pink landscape and another portraying what appears to be a giant outcrop of rock. “This one was actually made from a miniature fragment of brick while another image of a wave crashing against a different rock was formed using salt, a brick and shaving foam,” he explained.
The pink landscape scene is Luke’s favourite but he said that although each picture had presented its own challenges, the sea spray photo had proven to be the most difficult image to capture. “I was holding a cup of salt in my right hand to throw at the rock and, at the same time, waving fog over the set with my left hand so it was very difficult to do both and press the camera shutter all in sync,” he said. “It took weeks to get it just right and I must have taken 600 frames but I am delighted with the result because it is always fools people. The kitchen was an absolute mess by the time I finished which admittedly didn’t impress my housemates but not only did I clean up after myself, I actually blitzed the whole kitchen as well – so they couldn’t complain too much.”
The Forge collection is not Luke’s only contribution to the forthcoming exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. A photography experiment he took part in with fellow Kingston student Josh Lake in 2012, which saw the pair swallow photographic film and then frame the results, will also be put on display at the gallery in the Duke of York's headquarters in Sloane Square.
Senior lecturer in photography Paul Jenkins described Luke as a special talent who would be one to watch. “Luke brings a passion and sensitivity to the creative process and I’m sure he will be a future force to be reckoned with in the world of photography,” he said. “Throughout his time at Kingston, he has set himself challenging goals which he has always reached by producing wonderfully imaginative pieces of work that communicate on so many levels. His photography sparks debate and encourages the observer to view the world in a different light.”
All Kingston’s final year graphic design and photography students will be exhibiting their work as part of the University’s Art, Design and Architecture Undergraduate Degree Show 2014 which is being held at the Knights Park campus in Grange Road, Kingston, KT1 2QJ from Saturday May 31 to Friday June 6.