Can an artist be provocative and avant garde without being overtly obnoxious?
Absolutely. Just ask Luke Dick.
The Cogar, Okla., native-turned-New York City resident is a multimedia artist that extends himself beyond his music, delving into narrative art, video and fictional storytelling that is as thought-provoking as it is subtly abrasive.
Take his video covering the Lady Gaga song, “Paparazzi,” in which he gives the song a dose of his Southern gothic folk flair and flips it around on the superstar, digging deeper into the song’s voyeuristic concept with a psychological trip.
“I don’t find much need for censorship where storytelling is concerned. In life, there are so many stories to be told – even though some stories might push the lines of edginess, I don’t think that it should hinder you from creating them so long as you have a reason that compels you to do it. I believe in telling a story for a purpose,” Dick says.
It was during his formative years in rural Oklahoma, where his mother moved to escape a rough-and-tumble city life, when he perhaps first began to develop an affinity for folk storytelling with darker undertones.
Through both song and visuals on music videos such as, “Heaven Knows” and “Crazy for You,” those tones are prominent and consistent with his style.
From a rough, red dirt country upbringing to the realms of higher education, Dick earned both a philosophy degree from Oklahoma City University and a graduate degree in the same from Oklahoma State University.
A professor of aesthetics and art, he utilizes his affinity for both to fuse and balance philosophy’s concepts with the art of craft.
“I really enjoy thinking of ideas and possibilities. Philosophy is a discipline that’s heightened my awareness of the world. It gives me concepts to work with and around and wonder about,” he explains.
Aspiring to make not one, but three, albums this year, Dick is currently working on the first entitled, The Red Dog, named after the Oklahoma City club where his mother once worked when he was very young.
“It’s a throwback to ‘70s-style rock and stories that she and other people have told me,” he says.
“What I find most compelling about it all is that my mother got out of the Red Dog scene without dying. Sometimes you have to turn over some nasty rocks to find good organisms to feed your storytelling and art.”