The Layers Are Indispensable

“at the moment it’s not about making a living out of it, but about living in it.“these are words by young copenhagen-based artist luca karottki, who is on his way to establish himself in the world by the name of karoshi karottki or k.k.

and living in it he always did. raised in a home full of art and expression, where there was plenty of room for curiosity and contemplation, he continuously had a pencil or brush in his hand. from wanting to become a drawer for walt disney as a child, to a growing curiosity for graffiti before studying fine arts in the classical art school, luca has educated himself and his art for many years. and now in his mid-twenties, the form has been refined.

“i want my art to be far more intense than reality. everything is for free interpretation, that’s my mantra - but the history of the piece must always be great and enlarged. although art is often provocative, i want to show that you can work with bleak motives in positive surroundings. that art can be catchy without getting too gloomy” says luca.

that’s what he put on display. for sure. in his studio, the vibe is fluent and full of colors, forms, and shapes. canvases everywhere – from top to bottom. it almost has a sort of recklessness to it. but at the same time, it feels calm as a sanctuary. and that is no coincidence.

“there is no fixed form for my work. that’s not what art is about for me. every work is a process. i enjoy giving symbols edge. layer on the layer i strive to give a motif life. but when do i know when a work is done then? all i can say is that when i experience the work is level and has this nerve of calm to it, it is complete. there is no definitive form.”

walking into his studio you are welcomed by a samurai. not alive in our world of course but truly alive on the canvas. behind the magnificent samurai, there are layers upon layers of acrylic paint that create depth and a play of colors and shades. the layers are as important as the visible surface, luca says:

“layers are essential to my style. there are the physical layers of paint that show the journey from the clean canvas to the finished work. and then there are the layers that give the paint depth and life to it. the layers show the journey i as an artist has been on while the piece has been created. it’s about the circle of creating, destroying and creating again. like life. all good works come from a broken heart - this applies to all art including music. it’s the layers that create the particular nerve that makes it stand out. therefore, they are indispensable.”

“the layers show the journey i as an artist has been on while the piece has been created. it’s about the circle of creating, destroying and creating again. like life. all good works come from a broken heart”

the inspiration for the samurai comes not surprisingly from japan, and the empire of the rising sun is the source of many of the latest works. as well as his artist name; karoshi, which in japanese means “death from overwork”.

and even though it sounds both morbid and fatalistic, lucas’s interpretation is far more uplifting. he sees it as a complete dedication to what one loves. “die for and by what you love to do - it is the most excellent declaration of love you can come up with.”

it’s all about staying loyal to yourself. and in a hectic world filled with noisy people on social media, luca finds his focus amongst friends or by himself in nature. it can be out in the wildlife for sure, but a park amidst the vibrant chaos of the big city can do the job too.

“parks after dark” was the name of an exhibition that k.k showcased last year which involves tales of friendships, young love, and humor, as well as somber and troubling notions.

“the park is an isolated part of the city that we visit to be surrounded by nature and get away from the noise of the city. a place where many meet or break apart. where friends go for a chat away from the crowd and where a city tour can start or end. the park can be an adventurous place as well as a horror story. a nice evening out, or in other cases a terrible assault.”

karoshi karottki incorporates these parallels so that the viewer can form their associations and stories.

“parks after dark” maybe even has a deeper understanding of it. nature and art are indeed important on another level to luca, both as an artist and as a man. his mother who sadly passed away about three years ago is still one of his greatest inspirations. she was the one that taught him about art and the value of nature in any form.

“nature or green surroundings create a space where i can think and reflect on life, art, broken relationships, hangovers from the night before or whatever i’m in the middle of at the moment. it’s just a place where i thrive. a bit like when i stand in front of the canvas; total freedom of expression.”

so, when luca creates, he feels connected to his great mother on a higher level and sometimes he even senses a communication with her through the brushstrokes. like she’s is still trying to encourage him to move forward and reach his full potential. it’s within the nuances of sorrow and joy, darkness and light, past and present that luca connects with his art and the world. layers upon layers.