• Avi Cantor

How 'Visuals by Luke' is poised to be the next big director

At face value, Luke Risher aka Visuals by Luke is an accomplished, up-and-coming music video director whose various ‘VBL’ logos are instantly recognizable on any video he’s a part of. However, taking a deeper look into Risher’s life, catalog, and career aspirations, audiences come to realize that Visuals by Luke is far more than electric graphics and high energy rap videos.

Risher's success in editing videos started unconventionally. He sent a DM to a major director offering his services, and to Risher's surprise, he responded to take him up on the offer. As a result of putting himself out there, the director has since gotten to work with and edit videos for artists such as NBA Youngboy, G Herbo, and Blueface.

Born and raised in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Risher became infatuated by the raw yet refined Philly art scene at a young age, especially the graffiti and murals that play a huge part in the city’s culture.

Philly is also home to the Magic Gardens, an unconventional gallery/museum of mosaic tiles strewn haphazardly across the cement walls, as well as several famous art museums.

By the time Risher got to high school, he began to experiment within the visual arts world in one of the few digital video elective classes that the city’s public school system has to offer.

Despite being one of the best public high schools in the city, it was severely underfunded and lacked everything from proper athletic training facilities to basic language courses.

By the time Risher was a senior, he and his friends started a non-profit organization called UrbEd aimed at improving the quality of education in urban public schools.

While balancing the responsibilities of helping run this organization, the Germantown native began to dive into the world of music video directing during his first year at Howard University.

Howard is a prestigious historically Black college in Washington D.C. and Risher was one of the very few white students there. However, he found himself right at home and was able to get his feet wet in the director’s chair.

Risher began shooting with a Sony A77 camera which, as bad as it was, allowed him to develop a trademark editing style to “compensate for not having a good camera.”

It was these edits that helped get Luke’s name on the map, especially in the bubbling Philly underground scene. Luke began working with acts like LiMM, 100Deek, Baby Qah, and 1Meree and helped them gain serious traction within the Philadelphia scene.

The now 21-year-old director’s career was picking up steam when late at night, he got the opportunity of a lifetime.

Risher had followed Youngboy Never Broke Again’s main director Rich Porter on Instagram for months just as a fan of his work when out of the blue, Porter followed him back.

Risher decided to DM him to see if he needed edits for his videos on a whim.

“I woke up and he had sent me a transfer link to a Youngboy video and he was like ‘yo please get this done within a couple hours... and I woke up and I was like oh s--t it’s go time,” Risher explained in an interview with RemixdMag.

Risher churned out edits for “Around” and “Thrasher” within the span of two days and had no idea that “Around” had dropped until a friend and fellow director reached out to congratulate him on the video’s release. The up-and-comer was amazed by the response the video had gotten in such a short amount of time.

“It was the number one video on youtube for days, like that’s insane to me,” he said. “Within a week, I’m in a very different place in my career.”

Despite the success of both videos and collaborations on the way with other rap heavyweights like G Herbo and Blueface, Risher’s ultimate goal, besides making it big as a director, is to become a community organizer and to be working full-time for UrbEd, the company he started back in high school.

“I’d be focused on the organizing and grassroots advocacy efforts,” Risher said.

Make sure you tap into Luke’s work on Instagram @visualsbyluke and follow UrbEd @urbedadvocates.