Luke Norton uses public art to promote positivity
I am an artist. I make art to try and uplift people. I print and paint in ink, out of my home studio in Walthamstow.
The heavy black, single-line artwork I do is influenced by Japanese calligraphy. Last month I created my largest, public piece of art to date – 750 posters across London, with black ink on fluorescent pink paper. Each poster simply said “love”.
I wanted to create something positive to mark the end of lockdown. Throughout an incredibly challenging year, love has helped see me through. I wanted to extend that love to other people. I like the idea that as people are gradually emerging from their homes, they are greeted on the streets with love. We need to remember to love people and love each other. Love is also contagious.
During the pandemic I have been leaving little works of art in public. On trees, benches and in tube carriages. Not knowing who will find my art, or how they will react to it, is exciting to me. I have even watched as people approach the art with caution, before smiling, picking it up and looking
around to see if it’s okay for them to take it.
I was keen to create that feeling on a bigger scale, so I switched hand-inked drawings for printed fly-posters, using fluorescent pink paper as a positive pop of colour to brighten the city’s wintry streets. And pop, they did!
The posters were pasted up as single sheets, in pairs, as columns, rows and grids of four or five – and even big blocks of twelve. They were exhibited in public, on walls across the city, at locations including Walworth Road, Camberwell Road, Peckham High Street, Notting Hill Gate, King’s Road, Great Portland Street, Mortimer Street, Oxford Street, Brick Lane, Old Street and more.
Making this work was a risk for me. I didn’t know how my art would translate at this large scale, I didn’t know how people would respond, and I didn’t know if they would take it with the positive, open-hearted sentiment that I intended.
The risk was worth it. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of positivity that has come from this piece. It has confirmed my faith in the power of love; to heal us and to connect us. Having seen the work city-wide I am now working on a more localised piece, promoting love for Waltham Forest. If
you make one resolution for 2021, let it be love.
See more of Luke’s work: