Lot 109 - Luap - Be Unique
Watercolour on paper
Signed on Verso
This auction is raising proceeds for St Wilfrid's Hospice Eastbourne
Paul Robinson, known by his artistic moniker 'LUAP,' is a British multimedia adventure artist born in 1982. His creative endeavours revolve around his iconic character, The Pink Bear. Originally from Grimsby, LUAP is now based in London and has showcased his work on a global scale. LUAP's artistic practice is characterised by his daring and often perilous adventures undertaken to capture his photographs. From sustaining broken ribs during a snowboarding shoot in 2022 to deep-diving into a plastic landfill, and most recently horseback riding through Mongolia in 2022 in conditions which fluctuated from +30C to -15C.
The Pink Bear serves as the perfect conduit for LUAP's artistic talent, seamlessly integrating into various mediums such as hyper-realistic oil paintings, live performances, sculptures, and photography. The Pink Bear, simultaneously strikingly surreal and reassuringly plush, unifies LUAP's portfolio and is skilfully translated into the artist's chosen medium. LUAP's work effortlessly encompassing abstract expressionism, Pop Art, and hyperrealism, setting LUAP apart with his confident and adept approach. His classical artistic skills, combined with his thirst for adventure and willingness to take risks, have cultivated a diverse body of work across multiple mediums, consistently keeping his audience captivated.
The Pink Bear, now an instantly recognizable symbol of LUAP's art worldwide, initially emerged in LUAP's creations following a cognitive behavioural therapy session where he delved deep into childhood memories and his cherished pink bear companion surfaced. Conceived by the artist as a representation of the breadth of human experience, the Pink Bear encapsulates our hopes and encounters, childhood fears and comforts, innocence and corruption, secrets and celebrations. It straddles the boundaries between the Surreal, the imagined, and the real, urging us to acknowledge our shared humanity. The universality of the Pink Bear resonates with individuals from diverse cultures and nations, expanding its popularity beyond geographical boundaries. LUAP's artwork has been exhibited and sold across the globe, including prominent locations like Dubai, Hong Kong, London, and New York. Collaborating with renowned artists and participating in charitable initiatives (such as a Pink Bear print auctioned at Christie's in 2021, fetching triple its listed price and benefiting the Terrence Higgins Trust), LUAP has garnered attention in TimeOut, Design Week, GQ, and other notable publications.
Degree - UCA
The Unconscious Therapy
New Bond Street - London
Rise Above Yourself
Lilford Gallery - Canterbury
The Pink Bear
Graffik Gallery - London
The Pink Bear at Home House
Home House - London
The Hero's Journey
Andipa Gallery - London
The Pop Up
Oxford Street - London
Piccadilly - London
Descending The Staircase
Exhibition Road - South Kensington - London
The House of St. Barnabas - Soho - London
Out Of The Ordinary
Jalouse - Mayfair - London
Loft Studios - London
The Skylounge - Spitalfields - London
HOK International - Fitzrovia - London
Statement about AOAP Submitted Artwork
In September 2022, LUAP travelled across Mongolia for 10 days on horseback through one of the world’s most remote landscapes in order to create new photographic artworks of The Pink Bear. The artist gave up alcohol and take-away meals for 3 months prior to the trip to get in shape and began horse-riding lessons in order to prepare for the challenge. This is an entirely new skill to him and particularly challenging given a life-long fear of horses.
The British survival expert Megan Hine (consultant to Bear Grylls) accompanied LUAP on the expedition, along with 20KG of artistic kit as they made their way through vast and empty Mongolia steppes. Each day required 8 hours horseback as well as hiking up mountains throughout the journey to find the perfect locations to photograph The Pink Bear.
The expedition was incredibly physically and mentally demanding - with all seasons often experienced in one day from +25°C bright sunshine all the way down to -15°C and snow storms. The nights were just as extreme with temperatures dropping well below freezing to -15°C on some nights. This meant the outside of the artist's sleeping bag would develop a thin skin of frost as he expelled moisture whilst sleeping in the tent, something he had never experienced before. For these trips the right survival gear is fundamental or it would be impossible to survive, yet alone create artwork in such extreme conditions.
The nomadic way of life is slowly dying out in Mongolia, as successive generations are drawn to life in the main city of Ulaanbaatar. As the ancient traditions fade away and a life lived sustainably from the land is replaced by the instant-gratification of globalised attitudes, it is more important than ever to shine a light on the traditional. A key focus of LUAP’s practise is the impact on the planet of Western attitudes to consumption. The decision to ride on horseback was made to have a minimal carbon footprint and follow in the footsteps of tradition rather than take the easy path of doing the whole trip in a 4X4. With the changing employment ecosystem worldwide, The Eagle Hunters may soon be relegated to legend, and the traditional way of living and hunting in Mongolia may soon vanish too. LUAP wanted to capture the precarious identity of Mongolia, before global warming and westernisation change the country irreparably with his final objective of the mission is to photograph The Pink Bear on horseback with the Golden Eagles in the isolated landscape of the Altai region. This expedition is a call for our collective return to care for the Earth.
LUAP is dedicated to liberating art from the confines of traditional gallery space and bringing it to broader audiences. The adventures he goes on with The Pink Bear do just that, and this Mongolia trip is no different. In the remote Mongolian landscape, The Pink Bear will also enable LUAP to rise to an aesthetic challenge, combining the quirks of Pop Art with the drama of Romantic landscape painting. Such dualities - both literal and conceptual - appear regularly in LUAP’s work: The Pink Bear represents both childhood comfort and adult anxiety, nostalgia in a modern setting and new commercialism in a natural landscape - hope and warning. In all that he does, LUAP advocates for finding balance between these pairings, and creating a world in which we can all live harmoniously. The relatable joy of LUAP’s work is that The Pink Bear is as much a part of his audience as it is of the artist, as much ‘us’ as ‘them’, a hero and an anti-hero.
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