Luke Pelletier’s music and visual art combinations make for a massive success. So, his show at Mortal Machine Gallery in New Orleans is right up their alley.
With reflections on bad behavior, Luke’s art inflates stories of romance, crime, and violence. His art celebrates and makes fun of the American anti-hero.
We’re strolling through Luke’s story as an emerging artist and examining the body of work for his latest collection.
The Story of Luke Pelletier
Luke Pelletier was born in Florida in 1993 but grew up in Brevard, North Carolina. A big part of his childhood included skateboarding, drawing, and playing in a punk band. The aesthetics of these activities mesh well and certainly helped develop his creativity.
Pelletier started making art for his band while still in high school. This was the time he began to take art seriously.
In 2015, he graduated from the School of Fine Art with a BFA. During that time, he traveled to Los Angeles for a series of shows.
After his time in Chicago, the artist returned to his hometown and started creating. Pelletier held his first solo exhibition held at New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles.
By his early 20s, Luke was already a painter, printmaker, and musician. His portfolio includes paintings, large murals, and even a pinball machine.
What Inspires Luke Pelletier?
For much of his life, Pelletier has been heavily influenced by living in a tourist town. His art speaks to the seasonal economies and the varied relationships between tourists and locals.
Much of Luke’s art blurs the lines between celebrating and condemning tourist town culture, agreeing to be taken advantage of while equally taking advantage of others.
He fills his work with personal stories and dark humor that show the dualities and contradictions of a decaying paradise. Mid-century graphic design and advertising also influence his creations.
Most of what Luke makes reflects what’s happening in his life. He hopes the viewers and listeners of his work can relate to it or find some beauty.
What Mediums Does Luke Work With?
Pelletier enjoys working in various mediums.
He primarily uses acrylic paint, typically done on canvas and wood panels. But guitars are also a favorite surface.
Other mediums include photography, sculpture, and computers for his graphic design and writing. Luke is also a promising musician and has even tried blacksmithing. In the future, Pelletier would like to try animation.
He works with these mediums to explore his moral dilemmas of romance, addiction, tourist culture, masculinity, and Americana. Using irony and satire in music and visual art, Luke explores the paradoxes of the consumerist culture and service-oriented economics.
What is Luke Pelletier’s New Solo Show?
Luke’s new solo show is American Stories & Sentiments. It’s the first time the artist has combined music and visual art in a gallery setting.
The show is all new work and includes Pelletier’s latest full-length album by the same name. Additional works include paintings, short stories, photographs, songs, and painted guitars.
The pieces are filled with narratives that celebrate, document, and poke fun at the American anti-hero. The songs reminisce on bad behavior, while the paintings inflate stories of crime, violence, and romance. Tales from his past inform his short stories, and the painted guitars are windows into future stories.
The show is at the Mortal Machine Gallery, which produces powerful exhibitions in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. The gallery focuses on multiple contemporary genres, including folk and outsider art. You can find it at 940 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA. It’s open daily, and there’s no fee to enter. Mortal Machine also appears at various art fairs around the country.
What Are Some of Luke Pelletier’s Other Art Pieces?
As an active artist since his early twenties, Pelletier has created a large body of artwork. His music and visual art explore the paradoxes of the consumerist culture, and there’s a lot to discover. Let’s take a look at a couple of his other art pieces.
Escape to Joshua Tree
This collaborative painting with Kristen Liu-Wong is one of Luke’s favorites. It’s based on a birthday of Luke’s that he and Kristen spent in Joshua Tree a few years back.
Created in 2021, it’s a giclee print created using archival pigments on cotton rag.
The painting depicts a cutaway of a colorful RV surrounded by desert landscapes and animals. The happy couple lounges on the bed, gazing at the flowering cacti. The clouds show various acts of, um, we’ll say, love-making.
The first edition consists of 50 signed prints.
Coulda Been A Country Song
Luke created Coulda Been a Country Song as a set of three hand-pulled serigraphs.
Printed on Coventry rag and mounted onto cradled birch panels, Luke uses ten colors. The paintings are scenes of romance, action, and commercialism, with the cowboy as the common element. They encourage the collectors to rearrange the fragmented narrative to tell different stories.
Luke was inspired by country music, particularly by the songs of Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson, and Charley Crocket. The titles of the prints are references to songs by those artists and convey a sense of danger and adventure.
The 2021 first edition was limited to 60 signed and numbered prints.
Has Luke Pelletier Written Any Music?
Pelletier has released three albums that you can find on most platforms, including Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music.
Not only is every album different musically, but he also releases each under a new band name. His musical style is best described as Americana with a country sensibility.
Pelletier’s latest release is titled Bad Idea After Bad Idea. He recorded the album in his garage with an echoplex, a handful of old guitars, one microphone, and apparently a lot of weed. A take-off of western swing music, the songs are about art, alligators, drinking, drugs, perversion, and Los Angeles.
He recorded his two previous albums in 2021 and wrote the songs in 2018, what the artist describes as the most raucous time of his life.
A series of manic episodes landed Luke in jail before an involuntary stay at a mental institution. Many of these songs dive deep into personal anecdotes.
Stories include when Pelletier missed his solo show because he was in jail for doing donuts on the lawn of the Griffith Observatory. The same night he was pepper sprayed by a security guard for spray painting the Hollywood sign.
Keep an Eye on This Multi-Talented Artist
It’s been fascinating to delve into the world of Luke Pelletier. Working in many mediums gives the artist more ways to bring us into his world. And his solo show at Mortal Machine Gallery is an excellent example of this work.
While his experiences are a cautionary tale, he gives his audience an exciting glimpse into a world of decadence inspired by his personal dilemmas. This is Luke Pelletier’s Americana.
What do you think of Pelletier’s works?
Outside Folk Gallery
You can explore folk, street, and outsider art in our personal collection at Outside Folk Art. We’re celebrating these creatives and giving voice to rising black, Native, immigrant, and working mother artisans.
We’ll also be offering pop-up shows and collaborations with small museums, so be sure to follow us to discover the where and when!