Art Plugged - Artist LUAP Gives A Rare Insight Into The Meaning Of His Pink Bear In An Intimate Q&A

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On October 5th, 2022, join Contemporary British artist Paul Robinson aka LUAP, and curator Vestalia Chilton in conversation at The Exhibitionist Hotel, surrounded by LUAP’s alluring large-scale paintings from the Hotel’s exhibition.  

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In this intimate conversation, LUAP and Chilton will be delving into the man behind the Pink Bear, the prominent focal point throughout his work, ranging from large-scale canvases and street murals to billboards. LUAP will give insight into the meaning of the bear, what it means to him, and the process behind his painting—as well as speaking about his experiences during his September trip to Mongolia, where he travelled on horseback in below-zero temperatures to raise awareness for mental health and take a stand against environmental pollution.

In 2015, the British artist Paul Robinson (better known by his moniker LUAP) climbed the four highest peaks of the Atlas mountains for the National Autistic Society charity, the first of the challenges that the artist set himself while overcoming a period of darkness. Venturing out of his comfort zone went from an unconscious therapy to a conscious one – and one which would dictate the direction of his career from that point forward and unlock his artistic potential.

Why The Pink Bear?

The Bear has long been seen as a sign of great strength and power, representing nature and the wilderness. This powerful and noble creature is a prominent symbol throughout history in art, literature, folklore and mythology. Yet, for LUAP, the bears have a deeper and more symbolic meaning evolving in the protagonist of his artistic practice.

During an earlier period of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, he turned to a long-forgotten childhood memory for comfort: a family photograph of LUAP with his parents, brother, and a large pink bear. The picture now hangs in Robinson’s home, while The Pink Bear has evolved into the protagonist of LUAP’s artistic practice. The Pink Bear symbolises the artist’s childhood hopes and adult dilemmas.

LUAP – Nature and Nurture

Protecting the planet from the harmful effects of Western consumption is another important focus of LUAP’s practice. That’s why this year, the artist is teamed up with Le Good Society to take a stand against plastic pollution. The decision to travel by horseback was made because the journey will have no carbon footprint other than what’s needed to feed the horses.

LUAP residency at The Exhibitionist Hotel

The current exhibition of the meticulously hand-painted canvases depicts LUAP’s journey around the world, filled with his ionic bear in forests next to fires and high up on the glacier, he continues to challenge our understanding of mental health. Some of the paintings are larger than 2 meters in width. The exhibition is titled ‘What A Wonderful World’, based on the song made famous by Louis Armstrong, is exhibited throughout the hotel, and artworks are for sale, until the 6th of October.

For the 5th Edition of Kensington and Chelsea Art Week (KCAW), LUAP revealed an immersive installation on the first-floor Art Corridor of the hotel – a first for the artist. It is an experience – completely free and open to the public 24/7, and tours will be conducted during the event. The Hotel’s curator, Vestalia Chilton, has been working with artists to use the hotel’s walls as a blank canvas since 2015. There are four art corridors that are changed every year by wild creative interventions. As a result, the Exhibitionist Hotel is a constantly evolving artwork.