Mr. Luck today completes the bulk of the work himself with the help of additional artists who are employed in peak work periods. A limited number of commissions are offered each year and booking well in advance is recommended. Pine Street's principle geographic working areas are Philadelphia and New York, but projects have been completed in almost every major city in the United States.
Pine Street Studios' president Hugh Luck received a BA in music from the University of Virginia in 1976, where he also studied art and architectural history, drawing, design, and theatrical painting. Continuing education followed at the then-named Philadelphia College of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art with courses in color development, sign painting, and design. Faux finish training was taken at the Finishing School, formerly of Great Neck, NY, under the original master Ina Brousseau Marx. Hugh completed almost every course offered there in the 1990s. Other seminars included the Day Studio Workshop from San Francisco and The Pierre Finkelstein Institute in New York.
Influences in Hugh's work come from a variety of sources. Early on, there were American illustrators such as Maxfield Parrish, Joseph Leyendecker, and N.C. Wyeth. A Philadelphia Museum of Art show featuring "Masters of 17th Century Dutch Landscape Painting" was an inspiration. Faux and mural painters whose books, methodology, and talent he admires and refers to daily include Ina Marx, Graham Rust, Pierre Finklestein, and Yannick Guegan. He has worked with local Philadelphia artists John and Tish Allbright, the late Eric Potts, Joseph Mingari, Lorraine Sporer, and David Flett. Of course, working with Peter Freudenberg has been an undeniable influence.
Recently, all things early American primitive or country, including the work of 19th century itinerant painters (notably Rufus Porter) and furnishings of the period, have gained his interest. Hugh will again this year be teaching a couple of seminars at the Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton, Maine. He looks back to all the jobs he has seen and the work of anonymous painters from the past whose work he has encountered, and endeavours to decipher their skills and, failing that, to simply enjoy viewing their talents.
Hugh sees the faux finish/mural industry as having changed greatly over the past 30 years. When he started, faux finish was not a common term. There was no cable, cell phones or HGTV. There were no books or schools in the United States on the subject that he knew of except for The Isabel O'Neil Studio in New York. He knew of only two or three other contractors in the field in his local area. Today, many, many artists have joined the ranks. Books and schools abound.
The fad is ending...the real work and a new era of painting has just begun.
It seems today, at the turn of the century, the fashion may be beginning to turn once again for some to a less-cluttered, simpler decorative style, as it had done at the turn of the 19th century. That period had followed a blossoming of a more decorative era as well.
My own leaning in faux finishing is conservative. I consider myself first a talented craftsman and second a fine artist. I can be very creative when need be — even far out, if pushed — but always detail-oriented throughout. I look forward to another 30 years of painting...regardless of changing fashion.