This week’s November 5, 2021 cover art, “The Kiss,” comes from a unique series of paintings by Christopher Lucore. Born in the Midwest and graduating from New York’s Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2020, Lucore is now the proud owner of hot, new Montauk gallery The Lucore Art. Here, he talks about the pandemic-era creation of “The Kiss,” where he draws artistic inspiration, opening up his impressive gallery and more.
What is the story behind “The Kiss” and the art series it hails from?
“The Kiss” is part of a six-part series called The Dance. I did this series in August of 2020. It seemed we were going to be in quarantine all summer and for who even knew how long. I was feeling lonely. No reason my paintings should be lonely, so I created The Dance. It is an abstract representation of people dancing. I wanted to keep the abstractions bold and simplistic while delivering the message as clearly as possible. My color choices were an ode to Mondrian, a legend.
How was this series created? Walk us through your process.
My process for The Dance series started with a number of digital sketches. I knew that I wanted to use those particular pictorial elements to represent people — so the challenge was just how to configure those elements. Sketching digitally allows me to test and scrap a lot of ideas to find what works. In some cases, I loaded in pictures of people dancing to sketch over, just to get a sense of their flow. After the outline is sketched on canvas, texture is added. Molding paste is applied in thick layers and shaped with varying brush sizes to reinforce the flow of each shape. Once the paste is dry, each section is painted and outlined. In the end, the piece should be a symphony of powerful, heavily contrasting elements that deliver a clear message.
What makes this artwork such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?
I think this work is an ideal fit for a Dan’s cover because it can remind people that we can make something beautiful happen when we work together. I’m not trying to say we need to go around kissing everybody, of course, but a dance involves people working together to make something beautiful happen. Sometimes it feels like the world is pitting us all against each other, but we can always accomplish more when we work together.
Where on the East End are you based, and does the area influence your work in some way?
I am based in Montauk and I think that is a major influence in my art. I opened a gallery in Montauk in May that also houses my studio. The people I meet in the gallery help me reflect on my work and offer me new perspectives. Long Island has a rich community of artists to learn from and be inspired by, and having only been in business six months, I know I’m only scratching the surface.
How would you describe your art style, and how did you develop it?
My style is largely non-objective and my work is process driven. When I approach a canvas, I first consider how I can divide the space. Once the space is divided, I start thinking about what forces are inherent in each shape. Is it moving? What direction? Is there something holding it back? The answers to these questions and the forces present help me decide what textures to use. Next is color, and then I often add a gloss layer. Small alterations in the process lead to different results. Different days call for different processes. Today’s process wouldn’t be here without yesterday’s, and who knows where I’ll find myself down the road?
What are some recent sources of artistic inspiration for you?
Some major sources of inspiration for me are: my friend and mentor artist Anne Raymond, who has been extremely encouraging and instructive; Dan Christensen, an East End colorfield artist whose work I have always found compelling; and The Lucore Art and all the amazing artists and people I’ve met while working here.
What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the work I have been able to do as a curator at The Lucore Art. It is an honor that other artists are willing to let me display their work and that they trust I will make their artwork shine in my space! It’s amazing standing in a gallery with blank walls, all the paintings leaning up against the walls. The whole room is your composition, everything has a place. Our grand opening exhibition in May with all my works on the wall was a pretty amazing moment.
What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?
I think the thing that is most rewarding about being an artist is that I don’t always know what is going to happen next — and that’s OK, exciting even. I don’t have to know what’s going to happen next with my art. I can go into the studio and try something different. I can go into the studio and try to do the same thing that I did yesterday and it might end up different. Somebody might end up really connecting with what I made today. Uncertainty can tear us apart with anxiety if we let it. I think it can be a driving force in art, too! How can you expect to surprise anyone if they are ready for everything you throw at them? Sometimes you have to leave room to surprise yourself.
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?
Online, my work can be found on Instagram @thelucoreart and on my website. If you are interested in seeing my work up close, I encourage you to stop by The Lucore Art at 87 South Euclid Avenue in Montauk. I will be holding regular hours all off-season and have an exciting holiday show coming up this November.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts?
Don’t let anyone put you in a box — and don’t put yourself in a box. So what if you’ve been painting/living the same way for 20 years — if you want to try something different today, then do it. It could change how you see tomorrow.
For more information, visit Lucore’s website at thelucoreart.com.