Lauren, please briefly introduce you to the readers.
Hi there! I am originally from the bay area of California, I am a traveling mixed media artist. I paint murals, create illustrations, invent installations, and do hand-poked tattoos.
Let’s talk about your Mexican origins that are so important for your art. What does it mean for you to have a bond with this culture?
My mother is from Mexico and my father, from Naples.
I feel very inspired by folk craft and medicine of Mexico along with textiles and tribal jewelry of Old World Europe.
What I appreciate the most about being connected with my culture is that my art feels genuine…its in my DNA..regardless of technique, influence from my ancestors presents itself. I have been walking in the streets of old towns in Mexico and seen century old embellishments on buildings that strongly resemble artwork I had been creating on my own, it’s an engaging and validating feeling.
What are the themes and subjects you represent. What stories do you tell?
My desire is to inspire feelings of warmth, self empowerment, and balance.
I wouldn’t describe them as specific stories, but rather I sort of hope for a specific feeling about the art I create.
For me, the snake always represents balance and renewal. The idea that life and death always happens simultaneously has come up for me over and over again throughout life, so I am often working to portray that in a way that is beautiful and possibly even healing.
Does this cultural heritage involve the use of a particular technique? Tell me how you realize your artworks.
I don’t feel defined by a specific technique.
Many tribes learned to make similar vessels using different methods. I have worked with a Mayan ceramicist in Mexico on two occasions in collaboration with Residencia Gorila and Tulum Art Club.
What I appreciate most about the process is that it is very analog. We are using our hands and tools of the earth to create these pieces…no computers or internet research done to create the design or the ceramic, just old knowledge that has been verbally passed down or is intuitive…this process resonates with me the most.
My art is largely created based on intuition and symmetry. Moment by moment I decide what feels right and generally I choose to move in that direction.
In addition to Mexican culture, what are the other sources of inspiration for your art?
Nature is a huge point of inspiration for me along with tribal jewelry and tattooing.
I do a lot of traveling and thus find myself walking in various parts of the world. These walks allow me to travel at a pace where I can notice the embroidery pattern on a woman’s blouse, the weave on the leather shoes the man on the corner is wearing, the veins of a leaf, the metal gate over shop windows, the way paint has aged and peeled on a building…all of these things inspire me.
I always stop to take these moments in so that they can become part of me, I know that later on they will flow from me to paper or paint in a much more organic way than if I were to take a photo and attempt to replicate it.
Your murals are stunning. Describe some of the projects you have realized.
Thank you! Mural painting has been such a rewarding extension of my artwork.
I have met so many wonderful people I am grateful to now call friends…it has also been incredibly challenging. From full restaurant interiors, home exteriors, meditation centers, a juvenile boys prison in Mexico City, collaborative, crow-sourced and solo…
I have painted murals in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and plenty of locations around the United Sates. Each project is different, from the surface being painted to the execution. I don’t plan much out before arriving, I like to allow the space and my mood to dictate the outcome…it feels more authentic this way.
My murals often work with the repeating themes, radial patterns, serpents, and folk florals. I have been obsessed with this particular visual narrative for the past few years, I now feel it shifting, but I mostly just inspired by and want to paint what I think looks beautiful and calms your senses.
The bond with an indigenous, authentic nature mixed with a strong femininity. There is all your personality in your art. So, what is the message you want to communicate through it?
Ideally, I would like to inspire an empowered feminine spirit with grace, balance, compassion and a general sense of serenity…I understand we can’t always be all of these things, and I am just an illustrator…but if I can inspire even one of those within someone, I’ll take it.
I love painting snakes because, be it out of fear or respect, they are a creature many people have an aversion to. I feel Joseph Campbell says it best when he refers to the snake as the umbilical cord that connects human to nature…snakes spend their entire lives fully connected to the earth.
When I paint them I want you to feel grounded and calmed, I want you to question why you ever had such a fear of these great teachers. I want it to be similar to the feeling of being at sea for 3 months and catching sight of land for the first time and then sinking your feet into the earth…or the feeling when you have planted seeds and one morning you see the first green sprouts shooting out of the earth…those first few moments of genuine praise for the earth and all its gifts of being a living breathing being…that’s the feeling I am forever trying to capture.
What are you working on and what will be your next projects?
I have a few small painting projects coming up pretty quick in Mexico and a group show with Spoke Art in San Francisco February 2018.
I mostly plan on taking the next few months to be in my body without too much pressure from projects…hoping to be wherever speaks the loudest.
There is a significant project I am dreaming up in Nepal for April, but it’s a little too early to speak on it.
Lauren what is your definition of ART?
I have never been great at defining this…although, I think art could possibly be defined as anything created by another for the sake of creativity and exploring a passion.