My name is Luke Palmer and I am an artist and arts educator from Bristol. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed drawing and painting pictures, the bigger the better – making large drawings of trains on rolls of wallpaper as a child, painting graffiti and huge wall paintings as a teenager and more recently in gallery shows and at events and festivals. Making art that is visible and accessible for others to see remains a key theme in my work.I love working with people. I have worked in youth education as a youth worker, mentor and lecturer in both community and mainstream settings, and have always used my passion for creativity as a way to engage and connect with people.
I am currently working with a group of young people with special educational needs and disabilities at Street Library in Somerset to develop a new artwork for public display. The project has got off to a great start and brought a new energy to the space as we work in the middle of the Library on tables surrounded by books! Each of the young people taking part in the creative workshops are also undertaking work experience placements at Glastonbury and Street Libraries, so we will be drawing on their experiences to inform the works we create – watch this space for the final piece!
I am inspired by people who feel the fear and do it anyway. When people step outside their comfort zones and challenge themselves, I admire their bravery and celebrate their achievement. If we all aspired to inspire one another, it would be a wonderful thing!
Theaster Gates’ ‘Sanctum’ project in Temple Church, Bristol (2015) was perhaps the greatest piece of art I think I have ever witnessed. An amazing intimate space created from reclaimed materials from demolition sites around Bristol and built in the ruins of 12th century Temple Church. Sanctum played host to a continuous sequence of live sound performances from local artists, 24 hours a day for 24 days. I was lucky enough to perform twice at Sanctum and was awestruck by how one artist was able to bring together and connect so many people through one piece of architectural art. It was a magical experience and I was truly sad to see it go!
What’s been your biggest professional, personal or creative achievement to date?
In May 2016 I curated Tunisian Collaborative Painting in the UK at Kingsweston House for 20 professional artists from different disciplines to collaborate in groups of four for 3 hours, in complete silence, to produce five unique and unplanned artworks. The success of the event led to further Tunisian Collaborative Painting sessions with artists at the Royal West of England Academy and UPfest.I have recently set up Collaborative Painting UK, an arts organisation facilitating creative arts events and training that build new networks between participants, help develop communication skills, celebrate shared experience and create unimaginable, unique works of art.
Watch a video on the process here: Tunisian Collaborative Painting in the UK
As well as the Street Library project and painting commissions, I am also currently working towards a major Collaborative Painting UK exhibition in early 2019 which is a really exciting opportunity – so a lot of energy is being spent on making that something you won’t want to miss! I am feeling very positive about the future of the arts in the South West and want to play a part in bringing people together through creativity.
I don’t think that I would offer any advice – I’d be far more interested in hearing about their ideas!
Photo by: Luke Palmer - Collaborative wall painting with Graham Dews (Frome 2018)