It’s a long way from a blue collar job in Canberra to the refugee camps of Lebanon, but that’s the abridged version of stencil artist Luke Cornish’s incredible journey. Louder Than Words is a new collection of artworks arising from a trip to the war-torn country by the artist also known as ELK, who got into art as a twenty-something frustrated by the mundane grind of his life. Things have certainly gotten more exciting for Luke, who had gunfire echoing in his ears surrounded by the displaced and desperate Lebanese people during the trip.
Cornish’s work is remarkable for the level of realism he is able to produce with a stencil technique. Seemingly endless layers of shadow and intricate camouflage patterns are a feature of the Louder Than Words portraits, populated by gun-toting masked militia men and sorrowful refugees. His works can use up to 85 layers of hand-cut acetate which are sprayed with aerosol paint to build up detail, and the absence of a background pull his subjects into sharp focus. The collection is on display at Stolenspace Gallery, London, until 31 August.