Don Luper was born in 1967 in Sedalia, Missouri. He married Tina in 1988 and they have two children. His formal art education began at State Fair Community College shortly after he was married. He then transferred to the Kansas City Art Institute graduating in 1993 with a BFA. He received a fellowship at the University of Missouri—Columbia and completed his MFA in 1996. From there, he returned to State Fair Community College as an art instructor, which is where he continues to teach today.
Where to start an artist statement is always an adventure. It’s the moment in which I’m supposed to enlighten the reader on why my work has relevance. Well, let’s venture down the path of relevance. Imagine that an artist’s career is one long road trip. Every gas station, rest stop, and roadside park is an element of the trip—some more important than others. On my artistic road trip, every elemental stop has included two constant themes: surface and scale.
Until approximately 2005 my work was based primarily in the 3-deminisional realm, working in steel and clay. Commissions have dominated my work for the past several years limiting my time in the studio. Most of my energy was spent on job sites dealing with owners, contractors, building inspectors, and countless others whose collaborative input comes into play with these type of projects. It was my desire to get back into the studio that lead me to abandon pursuit of private commissions.
Once I got back in the studio, I felt lost. There were no guidelines or codes to help direct me. It was at this point I rediscovered my passion for drawing. No other subject offers the versatility and challenges as the female form does. The palette is endless—from the classical shape to pin-ups, nude to naked, adornments, hair styles, body shapes, fashion, skin tones—and the list goes on an on. Artists such as Kent Bellows, Robert Graham, Mel Ramos, or Hilo Chen have shown us endless arrangements of the female form. These influences spark intrigue and desire to explore the simple complexity of the female line.
I can’t say there is an underlying theme to my work as a whole. Every model brings new and interesting elements to the table. What is consistent with my pieces is the scale of the original work itself. I believe the closer to life-size the image I create is, the more engaging my female becomes to the viewer. It’s also important to me that she allows you into her space so she simply doesn’t just become an object to view.
It’s not my job to give you a map on how to interpret the artwork I do. Hopefully, you’ll see the beauty each of these young women has shared with me and experience my interpretation as being honest and true. I hope you enjoy the work.