Barry Luger - Featured Artist for August 2009

Which artistic media do you prefer to work in and why?

I work in photography.  For me, the art is in finding an object that can turn a photograph into an object itself—not a photograph of an object. It’s painting with my camera not with a brush.

With which past or contemporary artists or artworks do you, as an artist, feel a connection? What is it that draws you to them?

I discovered a photographer—Aaron Susskind—who was a photo-artist aligned with the abstract impressionist movement in New York around the 50s and 60s; his work and writings helped me understand the tradition I was working in.  On my trips to New York, I always visit the Jackson Pollock paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in a corridor not far from this painting there are a few Chinese ink paintings that I also feel are truly magnificent.  What draws me to them?   The feeling of falling in.  These paintings are like black holes--all your energy and feelings get drawn in and you disappear.

Which particular processes or techniques of art-making interest you now?

I am interested in combining painting and photography.

What particular technical challenges in art-making do you face at this time?

Controlling—and not overusing—the colour-enhancing capacities of Photoshop.

What in your artistic training do you value most in your work at this time?

I have no formal artistic training. However, recently I’ve joined a small photo group and we review and critique each other's work every two weeks. The discussions we've had reviewing each other's work has really helped me to clarify my strengths and weaknesses.

How much of a role do accident and control play in your work? Do you have the imagery unified in your mind before you start out, or do you discover it as you go?

There are four categories that I think all photo-artists work in: finding, making, accident, and design. For me, when I am working on an image all four categories are happening simultaneously.

What are some of your artistic challenges at present?

Not repeating myself.

Can you share 3 things you’ve learned as an artist through your own art?


  • Mistakes are opportunities. Don't hit the send button; wait a few days. Stop thinking, just do.
  • When you need inspiration, how to do get it?
  • Reading philosophy.


When you need to learn more as an artist, how do you do it?

I pay for private lessons from artists that I think can give me the tools I am looking for.

What is it about this artwork (self-selected work shown) that led you to choose it for this feature? What were the specific challenges you faced (and resolved) in making this artwork?

I chose this image because it speaks to my continued goal to make abstract paintings out of photographed objects.

Thank you.