St Albans comic book shop manager hosting debut exhibition

Monstrous: The Art of Luke Ridge will be open for one day at Chaos City Comics. Picture: Leo Cinicol

Monstrous: The Art of Luke Ridge will be open for one day at Chaos City Comics. Picture: Leo Cinicolo - Credit: Archant

A comic book store manager’s childhood dream of becoming a professional artist is one step closer to fruition with his debut exhibition in St Albans.

Luke Ridge's illustrations will be on display for the first time in Heritage Close's Chaos City Comics for a one-day exhibition this June named Monstrous: The Art of Luke Ridge.

The 30-year-old, who has been drawing science fiction and fantasy scenes in his spare time since he was a child, said he "would love" to make it professionally.

He said: "The exhibition is a showing of my best work to date, set within the fantasy and science fiction genres. It is something I have wanted to do for many years, but never felt the time was right - until now."

Each piece takes an average of five to 12 hours to create, he says, but occasionally they have stretched over years of intermittent attention.

Luke has been managing Chaos City Comics for eight years and he thanked shop owner Marina Desclavis for offering the space to pursue his passion.

"I can remember getting action figures and toys for Christmas, and I used to make my own books when I was eight or nine. I kept drawing as I got older to keep relaxing and as an output for any ideas I have," he said.

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"I would love if my work would lead to something, but I am aware that it is an extremely hard industry to get into. In modern times of social media, every artist has a way to get their work seen, which is great, but also you are fighting to get your work out there."

Luke said his favourite film is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

He added: "I find it really freeing, the great thing about science fiction and fantasy is that there are no rules - if there are rules it is only what you have imposed on yourself."

The Monstrous exhibition takes place on June 30 at Chaos City Comics between 6pm and 9pm. Entry is free.

Roleplaying and card game events are held weekly at the shop, which has been trading since 1992. It was bought from its original owner in 2003 by a Derek Watson, who later also owned neighbouring Empire Records.