Sam Luna is probably most known as one half of the acoustic duo FEATherWOLF, but the Arizona native creates as many paintings as songs. FEATherWOLF fans may notice differences between Luna’s music and visual art.
“I think my visual art is a lot more chaotic than the music,” Luna says. “I try to simplify the music as much as possible. But with my visual art, I put as much into it as possible, layers and layers.”
Luna often paints on discarded objects like old doors and windows to show the hidden value of items deemed as “junk.” A common subject of Luna’s work is vibrantly colored, abstract human faces.
“It might be the same face or look like the same face, but hopefully it’s ambiguous enough so that everybody can come to their own conclusions,” he says.
In response to cuts in arts education funding, last year Luna and Krueger founded Hopes and Dreams Foundation of Wisconsin, an agency that connects local artists with youth worldwide to promote creativity, foster collaboration and build leadership skills. The duo has worked with young artists in Costa Rica and Nicaragua where they painted murals and raised money for art supplies. Soon they will add a school in Uganda to their growing list of partners.
“When you tell a kid that art’s not necessary, you are teaching them not to believe in themselves,” Luna says. “It’s about showing kids at a young age that they can make a difference.”
Spreading the love at home is just as important to Luna, who last month relocated from Appleton to downtown Ripon where he will open a community music and arts space. Here he hopes to host events that showcase the local community while utilizing his connections within the Fox Cities arts scene. He says the move is just the next step in his ongoing quest to grow as an artist and musician.
“I’m just trying to learn,” he says. “Hopefully at some point I’ll get good at it.”
See artwork by Sam Luna, who will also perform with special musical guest Billy Bronsted, at Art On the Town on June 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the College Avenue Parklet Place next to Copper Rock Coffee Co.