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Why this artist found inspiration in abstract art and new materials

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When L.A. native Charlie Edmiston went to art school to study painting, he found the emphasis on theory a little stifling. His current style — geometric abstract fine art — looks like an equal and opposite response to the portraits and representational art he had to master but never really “got” in school. “I found that moving into a more abstract style, I was able to explain that better somehow,” he says.

To gather inspiration for his art now, Edmiston travels often, often to a new country at least a couple of times a year. “If I haven’t traveled in three months I start to get antsy,” he says. On these trips he likes to meet up with different artists to collaborate and see new cities. This is where he finds new canvases for murals — he prefers to paint on wood and cement.

For his latest project, Edmiston transferred his bold, abstract style to an American Tourister piece of luggage. The final piece speaks to both his diverse travel influences and also his early artistic roots in colorful Los Angeles graffiti. He worked with the textured hardside finish and the bold yellow to play up his creative style and improvise on a new surface.

You’ll see continuing experimentation with bright colors throughout Edmiston’s work — which, considering that he is color blind, is a particularly interesting tactic. He’s trained himself to know what color is what, but it’s a process of trial and error. Good thing he isn’t easily intimidated: “I’m definitely going to continue doing the abstract stuff, but for my actual paintings — rather than the murals — I’m working with three dimensional stuff, and cutting wood — more sculpture-based,” he says. “There’s a lot of stuff I want to try out: new material, new way to show the colors and the form.”

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How this eco-conscious L.A. graffiti artist creates art out of luggage

Here’s a look into his inspiration and process.

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