You have talked before about growing up as a 'Queensland pool-rat' and spending long summers at the local pool. Could you talk a bit about how that nostalgia has surfaced in your work?
Ahhh the Queensland pool-rat scene, yes, I know it too well. Just thinking about it stings my eyes and brings forth wafts of chlorine. Nostalgia for my poolside childhood has surfaced (pun intended) in very obvious and less obvious ways. One of the first sculptures I was proud of was a tiny pool built into the top of a plinth. A brass knob on the side of the plinth controlled miniature pool noodles floating in the water—when you turned it, they danced. All done with magnets of course. I went through (still lingering in) a magnet obsession a while back. Lots of my kinetic sculptures contain magnets and interactive elements. I guess it all links back to fun and play, which was the essence of the pool-rat scene. I had planned on doing an overtly pool themed exhibition a little while ago, but ended up pairing it back (which I'm glad I did). When playing with materials for the show, I found that old pool towels and the like made great canvases. The textural quality of the material paired really well with spray-paint. Tagging and graffiti were pretty popular on the pool-rat scene, so it seemed a marriage made in heaven. I'd say a less obvious link to this nostalgia is my colours and form. There's generally a lot of movement going on alongside a palette that could be interpreted as fun or Summery.
Your process tends to be guided by play and curiosity. Has this always been the case?
When I first started out, my girlfriend forced me to get a studio just to put the weird things in that I tinkered with around the house. I wasn't painting at the time, but rather just playing with things that interested me. There wasn't really an end point in sight back then, it was very much just a place of curiosity—a safe space for childhood regression. Some of those early days in the studio were potentially my favourites. I really was just there to play. There was absolutely zero pressure to actually create. These days I'm slightly more productive in terms of finished works, however I've kept the focus on the process and not the end point. For me that's really important.
You recently created some new paintings for Sunday Salon, but before that had been focusing on working with spray paint. Could you talk about what it has been like to get back to painting, and how working with different mediums affects your practice?
When creating the works for Sunday Salon I was a little concerned that going from spray cans and larger scale works back to acrylics and brushes might be jarring. It took a slight adjustment, but the transition was pretty smooth. I'd actually say the stint with cans and less traditional canvases has informed my more traditional painting. I think it's freed me up a bit. That's one of the things I love about spray cans—you can move colour around so quickly, covering large spaces with ease. It's a really fast working process which fits well with me. I try not to think too much when painting and when it's so fast paced it doesn't really give me a chance! I'm definitely not done with experimenting, but for the time being, I'm enjoying being back on the brushes. I also really enjoy making frames, and these more traditional paintings lend themselves well to that.
Your work ‘The Chase’ was created using spray paint and a bathmat. What inspired you to use a bath mat as your canvas for this work?
During my material exploration for the pool themed show, I discovered bath mats were an interesting painting surface on account of their varying textures, patterns and sizes. Apart from the material aspect, I really like the connection people have to towels and bathmats. Nearly all of us have had a daily relationship with them since we were kids. Switching up the context we'd usually encounter them in is something that really interests me.
What are your top picks from the selection of works currently on Sunday Salon?
Oooh, that's tricky! There's so much good stuff, but if I'm forced to pick a few I really love The Bleak House Frog by Ben Jones, Slug Tracks by Nell Pearson, Untitled 2020 by Aubrey Tjangala, Vacuuming With Ancient Vase by Nick Modrzewski and Summer Down for Rather Dreams by Giorgia Bel.
View Lucas's work here.