Art News From Hollywood North

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Who Says You Can’t Wear Checks With Argyle?

Only an artist could put these two together and make them sing. I lay witness to this upon espying the great Vancouver artist, Attila Richard Lukacs, perched atop a barstool at the Fourth Avenue bistro, Pastis.

I was there at the invite of artist Shannon Belkin, who had arranged a pre-Christmas get-together with Attila for dinner and a little conversation on the art scene mixed with some spicy talk of those at the helm of Vancouver’s galleries.

From the moment I lay eyes on the gentleman at the bar, any preconceived notions of intimidation for this enfant terrible of the International Art World were acquiesced.

I could see…”he was a man of distinction” – as the Cy Coleman song goes – “a real big spender, good looking, so refined”. This vision was in direct contrast to my previous look at Lukacs as he mashed around the bowels of the former BC Hydro building installing his works for 2003’s “The Basement Show”, that reunited five of Vancouver’s preeminent artists known collectively as, “The Young Romantics.” He was there that morning in full on butch fatigue-wear followed by the camera of documentary filmmaker David Vaisbord, whose “Drawing Out The Demons” – an in-depth look at Lukac’s mercurial talent with a focus on his bizarre departure from his New York studio-cum-den of inequity – would soon make the rounds of the Film Festival Circuit.

The Atlantic Film Festival has said of the film, “Drawing Out The Demons may be the most honest and substantial documentary ever made about a world-class artist.”

Attila addressed the documentary during our evenings many subject matters with equal parts self-deprecation and heart-felt honesty. Hey, we all have demons in our closets! Most of us don’t have the eyes of the world – in this case the art world – laying in wait to lap up our indiscretions. The gentleman sitting beside us has clearly met his demons head on and was able to not only laugh at himself, but also take full responsibility for diving so deeply into excess.

His excesses now appear to be concentrated on canvas. Always displaying social commentary, his most recent paintings offer a pointed look at the current war in Iraq. I had recently viewed some of these works at the Antisocial Gallery at 2425 Main Street. Also a skateboard shop, this cutting edge store lends a hint to where this cutting edge artist’s heart lies. By all indication, in youth, and it’s unconditional love for all things unconventional. He tellingly spoke to this by saying that “I take more pleasure from someone young admiring my work than any comment that a worldly patron of the arts could ever offer.”

A look at Lukac’s recent work titled, “Boards”, offer up skateboards that are truly amazing works of art. They also show an artist whose talents know no boundaries. This is an artist whose application to a wide variety of mediums can delight a wide variety of audiences.

He certainly was a delight to behold, and, in his Christmas red Argyle vest over red and white check dress shirt, proved definitely that, when it comes to taste, this master of the canvas et als, is a master of style il n’a pas son.

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