Luke Cornish is known in the urban art world by his moniker, ELK. Born in Canberra, based in Sydney, Luke incorporates his background in urban contemporary art as he traverses the expansiveness of the street environment, effortlessly adapting his practice to more artistically controlled materials such as canvas, aluminium, board and glass.
Each of his artworks are constructed from up to 1,000 sheets of acetate stencils and up to 243 different colours of layered aerosol paint with each a representation of either a first hand experience or part of a broader narrative intent on capturing the human spirit.
Luke has won many awards including the coveted Holding Redlich People's Choice Award at the Salon des Refusés in 2017, the Churchill fellowship in 2013 and was a finalist in the Sulman prize in the same year. in 2008 he won the most popular stencil at Melbourne Stencil Festival; in 2011 he was a finalist in the Metro Art Prize, and the Australian Stencil Art prize in 2012. In 2012 his short film, ‘Me- We’, which documented the process and construction of his portrait of Father Bob Maguire for entry into the 2012 Archibald Prize, was shortlisted the prestigious Tropfest Film Festival. Luke is known for his documentary and activist artworks and his portrait works.
In 2012 his portrait of Father Bob Maguire being selected as a finalist in the Archibald Prize. The first stencil artist to do so in the Prize’s history. This work went on to set a new auction record for a work by an Australian stencil artist, selling for AU$34,160 during the Bonhams Australia Important Australian Art Auction in late 2013. Over the last ten years Luke has made multiple visits to Syria, Lebanon and more recently, Iran.
Luke sees his practice as having given so much back to him, that he is strongly driven to giving back to both local communities and the communities to which his subjects belong. In early 2017 he co-founded the 'For Syrias Children' Charity organisation, which works in conjunction with Non-Government Organisations on the ground in Syria, raising much needed funds for Syrian children affected by conflict.
Luke’s work is held in important public and private collections, both in Australia and Internationally. He has exhibited in both capital and regional cities in Australia, and in major international cultural centres – Paris, London, Rome, Los Angeles and Amsterdam.
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