Luke Penry builds mesmerising but totally fake artworks inspired by the natural world

Luke Penry builds mesmerising but totally fake artworks inspired by the natural world

The first thing you should know about Luke Penry’s artworks is that they are not real. We repeat: they are not real. Despite their realism, pristine textures and (in some cases) believable structures, the fungi, florals and alien-looking plants are completely made up.

“All of my ideas I try to ground in science and evolution and I put my own spin on it,” Luke tells It’s Nice That. “I try very hard to never cross over into magical territory, and I think this keeps my work naturally consistent in its themes.” By treading this line between fantasy and reality, Luke is able to flit between scientific documentation and his own imagination. This is why, oftentimes, you’ll see a near-recognisable mushroom but, in signature Luke style, it’s been decorated in unfathomable colours and blobs. The idea to work this way arose around the age of 11, when he attended art class and learned how to oil paint. He was instantly drawn to nature as an art source and inspiration point, and resultantly produced two paintings – one of a bird feeding its baby, the other a forest lake scene.

Meanwhile, having grown up watching David Attenborough documentaries, playing video games and watching sci-fi, Luke developed an interest in the otherworldly – the incomprehensible and far-reaching. Speaking of why he focuses on the natural world specifically, he says: “I’m not exactly sure, because I’m not as outdoorsy as one would expect of a nature artist. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy getting in and amongst it, I’ll take any opportunity to go camping or for a walk.”

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