This week, we’ll be interviewing the artists who will be participating in our coming show, Islands in LA on February 27th. Today, please say hello to our friend Luke Ramsey– artists and co-founder of Islands Fold.
Islands Fold is an independent publisher and artist residency created by Luke Ramsey and Angela Conley. Islands Fold was established in the Spring of 2006 and is located on Pender Island B.C., Canada. They are about inviting artists into their home, supporting creative identity, collaborating, and promoting health and well being while producing unique art.
Where did you get the idea for Islands Fold and how did it begin? Where did you grow up and how did you guys end up on Pender Island?
Islands Fold was inspired by a residency I had at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. It was about fusing our interests in art and food. We ended up on Pender because our in-laws live here. We both grew up on Vancouver Island. Ange and I have traveled to many parts of the world and we can’t think of a better place to live than here. It’s remote, but it’s just a ferry boat ride away from two cities.
What does it look like over there and how are the surroundings?
It’s surrounded by snow capped mountains, forests, islands, beaches and oceans. A bounty of nature surrounds us and the community is solid. There’s a good amount of young people living here, and there’s room for more. It’s a nice mix with young families, retirees, blue collar workers, artisans, hippies and rockers.
How do you choose the artists you invite to the residency? Is there a formal submission process?
We invite artists we like and think are accessible. We also consider informal inquiries but we can’t accommodate all inquiries.
Art and health are the obvious focuses of your residency. What is the relationship you see in both areas? How do they affect one another?
We all know that if you eat well you’ll feel well. As an artist I need to be reminded that art isn’t everything. Of course art is important to me, but there are other elements in life that are equally if not more so important. Food being one of those things. We all have to eat, so why not make it of high value?
Were there ever times when you didn’t pay much mind to the things you ate?
There have been times when I was so focused on an art project that I would just eat something quick and easy to fill the hunger and move on. It takes time to prepare quality food, but Ange has inspired me to care more about what fuels our bodies. Our residency affords artists the time to work on art, but still get the proper nutrients for a tasty meal. We hope artists leave here with some inspiration [about art and health] and we also get ideas from residents as well.
Processed foods have become so ubiquitous in our culture today. What are your thoughts on that?
Unfortunately we’ve been taught to consume fast food. Whether it’s pointing at a picture and ordering a number, buying a sandwich wrapped in plastic or something in a box that you can stick in another box and heat up with buttons–this way of eating is causing a lot of disease and mental illness in the world.
What does a typical day look like at the residency? Give me a good run down from morning to night!
Eat, play disc golf, eat, make art, go for a forest hike or beach walk, drink tea, make art, eat, play scrabble, make more art, read books, listen to music or watch a movie then end the day with a deep sleep.
Where do you find inspiration? Is there a certain place, person,or thing that you find yourself coming back to from time to time for inspiration?
Inspiration comes from the environment and the people in our lives. Most importantly it comes from an appreciation of life itself.
Collaboration is a big part of your work. How do pieces usually get started? Is work done at the same time or do pieces get bounced back and forth?
Pieces usually get started with a conversation about what’s being created, then it just goes from there, back and forth or working on the same page at the same time.
Do you have a specific collaboration you did with an artist, or a story that comes to mind regarding ‘collaboration?’
I made a comic with Andrew Neyer called “Discourse.” It was a wonderful challenge because Andrew really pushed ideas and angles. There were times where I wanted to be lazy with my lay-outs and Andrew would always consider different possibilities until the best one came up.
That’s really cool. What is the most rewarding thing that that came out of that collaboration?
I think that’s the best thing that can come out of collaborating is when you learn a different perspective. He [Andrew] really taught me a lot. The comic ended up being one of my favorite collaborations because aside from the obvious, it turned into something I would never have done myself.
Among the many wonderful and tasty meals Angela makes, what has been a residency favorite over the years?
Many to mention, but here’s some: Smoked yam quesadilla with chipotle and papitas, pumpkin muffins, spelt crust pesto pizza, wild salmon with cilantro ginger sauce, pecan nut burgers, black bean quinoa salad and the thai veggie wraps with peanut sauce that Ange will be making for the artists at the Islands in LA event.
You have invited some great LA artists to join you in making work for Islands in LA. What is your relationship with them? Have you done work with them before? What do you look forward to in hanging out with them on the 27th?
Marco was a resident in our first year, Joel came up to do an article for Anthem magazine, Derek has invited me to do shows with him, Travis mailed us a postcard and has been in contact on cyber space and James was invited by Poketo. Everyone collaborated on a tee design prior to this event.
What do you look forward to at “Islands in LA?” And what lasting impression do you want attendees of Islands in LA to leave with?
Islands Fold has always been about creating an experience, so we want Islands in LA to be just that. A time for like minded people to share in something, whether it’s as an observer or participant.
Thanks for your time Luke! We’re looking forward to working with you soon.
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Poketo and Islands Fold Pop Up Art Show, “Islands in LA”
Beginning at 3 PM, all are invited to grab a drink, hang out with the artists, and witness new pieces being created from start to finish to be showcased later that evening. At 6 PM the official party will begin with a release of a special edition Poketo tee shirt featuring a collaborative design by the artists. The spontaneous nature of the show will allow the public to purchase all original art right off the walls to be taken home that evening.
Friday, February 27th
3 PM – 6 PM: Open studio with artists
6 PM – 9 PM: Official Artshow/ Party