Luke Austin Daugherty robs the bank 

Songwriter, poet, artist: acutely sensitive being

Luke Austin Daugherty is a man-sized magpie, scanning the horizon for shiny influential things then cobbling and refining those collected objects into whatever media seems fit.

Inspiration hits him frequently enough to fuel a steady stream of music, poetry and visual art, often at inopportune times. Daugherty has been a creative animal since childhood, suffering from an artistic affliction he calls “a sidetrack to normal life.”

“I tend to really observe things,” he says. “Something captures me, and it’s almost like tunnel vision.”

His writing sessions are rarely planned. Instead, when Daugherty is seized with an idea, he stops what he’s doing so he can write it down. He does this for proactive and reactive reasons more than anything else.

“If I don’t at least capture the main notion of it, there’s a fear that that moment will go by and I will have missed it,” he says.

Giving freely at the Art Bank

It’s that central concept of capturing an influential thought or idea that’s inspired Daugherty’s “Robbing the Bank” art show on Friday, Jan. 4 at the Art Bank. For this stop on the First Friday tour on Massachusetts Avenue, artists of various mediums — singer/songwriters, painters, poets — will perform simultaneously, and hopefully feed off each other.

“The musicians will be [in one part of the room] throwing out a vibe, and hopefully the poets are catching that inspiration,” Daugherty says. “It’ll be interesting to see what art comes out of that.”

Daugherty is taking the scheme as far as he can. Friday, he will perform his blend of folk rock and blues with two other musicians he’s never performed with or even met.

“In art, if you’re pushed to what you consider perfection, then something like this, I think, would be rather nerve-wracking,” Daugherty says. “But if you’re of the opinion a mistake can be the perfect part of art, then this is a welcome venue. That’s what I’m looking forward to happening.”

Daugherty thrives in such improvised invention not because his standards are low, but because he sees value in ordinary objects and events that most others do not.

“Most people’s lives are much more extraordinary than they give them credit for,” he says.

Digging for lost treasure

A lay minister in one form or another for more than a decade, Daugherty is practiced in the ability to make difficult concepts seem simple. One of his favorite analogies is that of the long-buried treasure that, after being built over several times, now rests in the depths of one person’s front yard.

“Every day, that person goes to work — the same mundane thing,” Daugherty says. “And every time they pass over that spot they think, ‘Man, there just seems like there’s something more.’ But they never take the time to start digging for treasure, even though they think it might be there.”

It’s the art of storytelling that “taught me life is spectacular,” he says. Daugherty remembers whiling away afternoons of his youth listening to his grandfather’s yarns.

“It really led me to believe, at a young age, that every day there is a story,” he says. “It isn’t so much that people’s lives are boring as it is they’re just letting it pass by and all the treasures in it.”

WHAT: “Robbing the Bank” with Luke Austin Daugherty, Steve Woerner, John Strickland
WHERE: Art Bank, 811 Massachusetts Ave., 317-507-3127
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 4, 6-9 p.m.

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