Luke Etherington works under the name ‘Vile Eight’ and practices the intricate traditional craft of wooden signwriting, but takes a more modern and intriguing approach with his subject matter.
We asked the artist…
I make statement pieces and rustic wooden artwork. It may not be everyone’s idea of beauty but there’s something about natural wood which makes the pieces interesting to look at.
I try and cover a wide range of subjects when making my pieces – it’s not always easy to describe what I do – but people can usually identify my work against others because of recognisable factors and style.
What inspires you?
There are three main things that are the inspiration behind the work;
Tattoo style artwork – flash sheets, Russian style and traditional tattoos. Some of the work are reproductions or references from local Portsmouth tattoo artists like Connor Tyler and Sam Lloyd.
Historic imagery – like the old medieval woodcuts and anatomical images. A lot of the pieces themselves hold some kind of historical reference.
Traditional signwriting – I love to use bold type faces and lettering and try to get that feeling of old style advertisements.
What materials do you generally use?
Recycled and reclaimed wood are the main materials within the work. Old wood has certain imperfections and a charm that’s difficult to reproduce with ageing methods. It’s also nice to give something that’s otherwise been discarded a second life.
In terms of colours, most of the colour comes from high pigment wood stains which are added either by hand or by airbrush.
What’s been your favourite project to work on so far?
My favourite pieces are generally the ones based on Russian criminal tattoos – like the ‘Russian Hand’ – where each tattoo relates to a meaning or identification within the old Russian criminal underworld.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a number of artworks that will be available as prints. They’re all based on the ‘Tattoo’d Banana’ and will be veg based items!
Where can we find more of your work?
You can find me on Instagram @vileeight and on Facebook @vileeight, plus I have a website: www.vileeight.co.uk.
You can also see my work in various places around Portsmouth:
‘The Phoenix Pub’ and ‘Head Case Curios’ in Southsea, ‘Hunter Gifts’ and ‘Joker Tattoo’ in North End, ‘Gym01’ and ‘Hijinks Tattoo’ in Fratton and ‘Indelible Ink’ in Gosport.