Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Artist Profile: Luke Kislak

Black and white illustration is the bedrock of art in the subculture. Forgetting the superstructure of art itself, at its very root is an artist with a vision in their hand and a simple instrument to visually realize that vision. When done right, a black and white illustration is one of the most special types of art. It is stripped down and evocative. It doesn't give you time to think about subtext and symbolism so much as it is drives its imagery directly into your mind. Perhaps this is why b/w illustration has become such a celebrated subculture: for its blitzkrieg expressiveness. With roots in the Renaissance work of Gustav Dore, the subculture has seen amazing b/w illustrators come along such as 1980s New York's L.W. Harvey and Japan's Sugi and Kazuhiro. Most recently, Pittsburgh's Luke Kislak has begun to make a name for himself with his chaotic and nuanced style of b/w illustration. Make no mistake, he is a rising star in the subculture's art world.

Usually, we fit the artist's answers to our questions into a biography write-up, but Luke's answers were just so verbose that we thought it would be criminal to not let him tell his story in his own words. Take it away, Luke:

I'm originally from Homer City, Pennsylvania. It's a small town beside the college party town of Indiana, PA, about an hour away from Pittsburgh. These days I currently reside in the area known as Lawrenceville, the mecca of what is "hip" in Pittsburgh these days.

I play bass guitar in EEL and vocals in Decapitators. Those are the only two bands active at the moment. Every now and then, Psycho Baits return to existence and I sing for that group. Ammunition (vocals) is taking a break for a while or maybe it's forever, it's still unclear. Past bands: Liebestod (PA) (noise guitar), Drug Lust (vocals), Thrak (vocals), Casual Male (noise), Free Clinic (drums), Holy Life (drums), and Varney's War (lead guitar). Starting a new band soon with some local freaks that will hopefully sound like United Mutation. I might also be playing noise guitar for "A Hell On Earth".

I've been making art since I was probably 3 years old. I've always loved to draw, paint, etc. But it wasn't until the past couple of years were I took it a little bit more seriously and taking time on projects. The main thing that has inspired me when it comes to making flyers and posters is shitty, pixelated, half-assed, photoshopped flyers for shows with sick line ups. I think that the flyer is a big part of an event and should be held up with the rest of the aesthetic of what makes the gig. So instead of bitching about shitty flyers, I decided to start making flyers that I thought would look "sick as fuck".

My major influences are from the works of Pushead, Morbid Mark, Kazuhiro Imai, Akihiko Sugimoto, Toyo, Skinner, and Pettibon. Nods to Amphetamine Reptile records, Japanese Hardcore, 80's punk & metal flyers, Nazi propaganda, communist propaganda, Mountain Dew Baja Blast, obscure black metal demo tapes, motorcycle culture, weed smoke, and more..

So far I've done artwork for Blood Pressure, Ammunition, No Time, Concealed Blade, The Brass, EEL, Decapitators, and soon to be Prison Moan and Fuck You Pay Me. Looking forward for more killer bands hitting me up for artwork in the future.

Luke is available for commission and can be contacted at teenagemutilator@gmail.com


  1. Hi
    Maybe your 200.000 hits are meaning : @"good work, guy !"
    By the way, thank you.