Rhode Island Monthly: When did you first become interested in art?
Dr François Luks: I was told that when I was three years old, my pediatrician said to my mother, “As long as he can hold a pencil, he will never be bored” or anything like that. I’m not sure if the story is true, but it “feels” true because I’ve always drawn.
RIM: Are these digital doodles, or do you work by hand?
FL: I’ve worked with pen and paper all my life and a few years ago I started using an iPad to create digital drawings and paintings. Rhodesside Attractions started out as digital doodles and is all digital, from the first ‘pencil’ sketch to the finished product.
RIM: Why did you choose these particular Rhode Island images?
FL: Rhodesside Attractions grew out of doodles I started when I was bored at the beach. (I’m not much of a beach guy.) The “On the Beach” image from one of the note cards is a cleaner version of these original doodles. I thought about summer in Rhode Island, then added images more specifically RI – Del’s Lemonade, Dari Bee ice cream, the East Bay Bike Path – and it went on from there. And because Rhode Island has so many iconic landmarks, I started looking for things that people would instantly recognize, such as the Big Blue Bug, Hope Diner in Bristol, the wind turbines on the Providence River, the Newport Bridge, the Narragansett Electric chimneys and the Narragansett Towers. I did the baseball field illustration for my colleagues after we attended a PawSox game at McCoy Stadium, where we were guests of the team and gave interviews on the air. I thought it would be a nice memento from before the team became the WooSox (in true RI fashion – like where the Almacs of Ann and Hope were). Conversely, I thought the new Providence River pedestrian bridge would be cool to draw, as a new icon.
RIM: Which design is your favorite?
FL: That’s hard to say. I really like the way the Benefit Street came out; I think the two lampposts, the tree, the front staircase and the two columns nicely show the old-fashioned elegance of the street. In that design, I tried to use uniform colors with minimal lines and details, while keeping the overall feel of the scene. I am also proud of the Children’s Museum because it is simple but clear. The Narragansett Electric Chimneys is the simplest – and the colors are perfect. I took that photo at sunset and the orange glow was spectacular.
RIM: Can you tell us about the charitable component?
FL: I have worked at Hasbro Children’s Hospital for twenty-seven years and have always been proud to promote the great work that is happening here. I’ve been even more involved in the hospital’s development efforts since becoming pediatric surgeon-in-chief. I decided to print the Rhodesside attractions on paper and make them available for purchase, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. I imagined selling them at the hospital gift shop and they are now available there and online at rhodeside.art.
RIM: You are also known for your medical illustrations. Can you talk about how art and medicine intersect in your life and at Hasbro?
FL: I started teaching medical illustration ten years ago – first only to medical students and now also to undergraduate students. Many of my colleagues like to practice and show off their own skills. All doctors sign and it’s fun trying to get better at it. Drawing is a great communication tool for doctors, because a picture is worth a thousand words of medical jargon.
To learn more about the attractions of Dr. Luks and Rhodesside to: rhodeside.art.
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