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The Islands Fold Life: Interview with Luke Ramsey

Our friend Luke Ramsey, artist and co-founder of the artist residency Islands Fold collaborated with us on a super fun Poketo wallet. Here’s an interview we did with Luke when he came down to do a show with us earlier this year. Read on to know more about his work and his residency.

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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.

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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? 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.

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Art and health are the obvious focuses of Islands Fold. 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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thanks for your time Luke! We’re looking forward to working with you soon.

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