WORDS Cheri Morris
Luke Mateman is a Johannesburg-based digital lettering artist, illustrator and graphic designer who creates bold typography works tinged with deeper meaning.
As a child, a pen was never far from Luke’s ever-doodling hand. He always knew he wanted to be an artist. Venturing into graphic design as an adult, Luke balanced corporate-based design days with creatively-expressive design nights. His search for a more creative outlet saw him explore blank pages with ink and markers. While his passion for lettering, typography and an enigmatic way of mixing forms came easily, it was finding his voice, and having something to say, that became the real challenge.
Inspired by artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and designer Tadanori Yokoo, Luke found his voice in lettering. “What I like about lettering is that the words being illustrated take on two meanings: the way it is designed/illustrated and what the words actually say.” Vibrant, vivid and visually arresting, Luke describes his style as “often hiding a melancholy centre that is bitter-sweet”. Through the harmony of colour and texture, his works come alive with character and depth.
In his workspace, past works and sketches line the walls, offering inspiration whenever he turns his attention upward. One room houses digital tools, while the other is a creative’s smorgasbord of drawing utensils, paint, ink and brushes.