It’s not difficult to fall prey to the allure of first impressions, to catch a glimpse of a flattering profile and let the mind wander into dark corners. The illusion of a flattering image is often times a game of smoke and mirrors, one that can play with the psyche and skew the true nature of someone. Painter and designer Luke Mack tuned in to the temptations of first impressions and their diversion from the truth in his series of oil paintings, which address the influence of vices.
Describing his collection of 10 oil-paint portraits,The Departure from Purity, the artist hopes to communicate a message that reflects the true nature of feeling weak-minded in the face of spurious temptations. He says, “I wanted to create a body of work that acted as a visual representation of hindrances/vices that I feel can be easily fallen into like envy, desire, etic., and that I have experiences in some form or another.”
The artist shares that he begins each paintings as a preliminary sketch. To derive the general human image, the artist would select one of his friends as a model. Mack says, “Aesthetically I wanted each one to be bold and visually attractive, just like how vices can be attractive at first, then upon closer inspection each one has an element that is slightly unsettling enough to hint at the vice.”
In a second series of paintings, still in progress, the artist embraces a digital-meets-analog process. Mack first develops these separate oil abstracts in Photoshop and then overlays them with photographs of models. He explains, "I wanted them to feel more positive and playful; exploring more formal elements such as bold lines and abstract shapes, contrasted with realistic faces. The intention was to make the colors and shapes feel like the subject's wardrobe or accessories, surrounding and passing through each of faces while visually emphasizing movement.”