Toronto artist Eunice Luk is currently exhibiting her work at Narwhal as part of the group show, Roll Up That Tender Air and the Plant Dies, the Colour Fades. We visited Eunice’s studio space where she shared insight on her inspirations, process, and upcoming projects.

Plants are featured heavily throughout the show. There is a sense that nature has overtaken the environment; however, all the plants have a manicured air as to suggest they’ve been raised and kept in domestic spaces – a tension between the natural world and our ongoing attempt to tame it. Why do you think we are compelled to bring nature indoors?

Many of my ceramic pieces in the show have succulents or tropical plants potted in them. I enjoy including plants in my work because it adds liveliness to the piece and space it is in. I think we are compelled to bring nature indoors because in an attempt to adorn our homes, living, lush plants are the most pleasing, mentally soothing and beautiful way. Growing up my parents had lots of indoor plants and I was encouraged to take care of them instead of watching TV. There is an incredibly rewarding feeling to taking care of plants, propagating them and watching them grow.

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There have been theories about plants having intuitive feelings or reactions to their environments and just as sunlight and water affect them, theoretically music or conversation could perhaps play a role in their well being. What do you do to stay connected to your plants? Do you have any special care tips to share?

For the last two years, I have grown a big collection of plants out of my bedroom. These plants get the most attention when I am at home. Whenever they begin to have brown edges on their leaves, I know I have neglected them and immediately care for them. Sometimes people worry about how many plants I have in my room because of the carbon dioxide they release at night. But it’s only a myth! They give off as much carbon dioxide as a human respirating at night. The benefit of having them in my room is huge however, I wake up very happy everyday to have lush foliage next to me.

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.. The non-preciousness of the paper lets me draw with no hesitation. After a collection of drawings are made, I select the ones I truly connect with and discard the rest.

What environment were you working in when you created the pieces for our show? How did that affect the direction?

I work out of my studio for all the ceramic pieces, sometimes I let the limit of my kiln dictate the work’s physicality. For example, my Max Width series are all built to 16 inches wide because that is the widest my kiln can fire. Their shape however, like other smaller works are sometimes planned in drawings, and sometimes spontaneously built. For my ink drawings however, I draw wherever I feel like it. I have a clipboard that I bring with me in my bag everywhere with a stack of letter sized computer paper. The non-preciousness of the paper lets me draw with no hesitation. After a collection of drawings are made, I select the ones I truly connect with and discard the rest.

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What’s your studio time like? Do you have a routine or schedule?

For almost two years, I have been working full-time as a textile designer going to work from 9am – 5pm, eating dinner then going to the studio from 8pm – 2am. I always intended to make time for my work, so I found it motivating to come to the studio. I really love working out of my studio, Punchclock. It is primarily a screen print studio and many of my buds print there. When we moved from a smaller unit upstairs to our current unit in 2013, I brought in a kiln and claimed my corner to work in ceramics. It brings me so much joy to share a space with my favourite people.

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What’s your favourite studio snack?

I love beef jerky, but sometimes a hot rod will do.

Can you share a recent studio playlist, track or video?

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Can you share a photo from a favourite interior environment?

Constantin Brancusi, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris

Constantin Brancusi, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris

Is there a place in Toronto that inspires you?

I love Humber Bay. It’s one of my favourite places to cycle out and have bonfires with my friends. There are small bike paths that take you out to secret nooks that overlook the city but is far away from the hustle and bustle. Humber Bay is also one of my favourite places to fish in the city.

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Can you tell us about what’s next / upcoming projects?

To start, I just moved to Japan for a year long residency in Yokohama. I’m excited to be here, to meet new friends, make new work and learn about myself in a completely new environment. I’m looking forward to experiencing new things and seeing how my practice will transform here.

Aside from that I am very pleased to be launching two new editions through my press, Slow Editions this month. I had the pleasure to work with Vanessa Maltese on her new artist book, ‘Several Observations’. The book is made out of thick binder board and is very much an art object when closed. The book features screen printed iterations of a folded and flattened piece of photocopied paper.

Another edition to be released is ‘παρρησία’ by Sophy Naess. Naess was inspired by Mexican soaps that have a specific magical function. In her artist multiple, she created an edition of beautifully hand casted soap using ingredients that encourage the ability to speak courageously and truthfully.

Look out for the new editions at Art Basel (June), New York Art Book Fair (September), Tokyo Art Book Fair (September) as well as several print expo, zine fairs this summer in Toronto.

Studio Visit with Eunice Luk

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