Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Kelly.
Lauren, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started taking art seriously in high school (as seriously as a high schooler can think/wrap their head around a career 5+ years away), but artistic expression and curiosity was a constant of my childhood. I dabbled in other creative outlets like music and dance, but the visual art stuck with me after I experienced a string of hardships at a young age. You don’t have to suffer to be an artist, but for me, drawing was a tool that helped me process situations. I didn’t care if any of it was good or bad at the time, I just enjoyed doing it.
I started studying drawing at Arizona State but changed my concentration to printmaking halfway through. Drawing is the foundation of most of the art I make, and it greatly influenced my printmaking practice. There was something so mysterious about the processes—the visual results were so different from each other, yet all under the same term, and for the most part I didn’t know how many of them were made. It’s like scientific artmaking to me. If I didn’t study art, I think I would’ve pursued a degree in the scientific field. I see a lot of similarities between artists and scientists. They hypothesize, make tests, come to conclusions about their findings, and (hopefully) believe they never stop learning.
I can’t make prints as easily anymore due to resources, so I’ve put my efforts into exploring new crafts within the arts. I worked in custom framing for a bit and started painting and collaging and making mixed media works. I recently relocated to Los Angeles, but I still have plenty of ties to Arizona, and I hope to have some work in future exhibitions.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art has a lot to do with the personal symbolism of situations that present themselves in my life, like a cryptic diary of sorts. I use artmaking as a time for meditation and reflection on what is either exciting or bothering me at the time. My inspiration comes from the subconscious, intuition, dreams, and general enigma. My visual diaries usually address themes of personal development and confronting the painful or uncomfortable realities that plague our relationships. These range from the relationships we have with ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. I believe that one of the best lessons an artist can teach is to thoughtfully observe what’s around you and make your own conclusions from them because it’s something that’s ingrained in our practice.
In our dualistic existence, where we couldn’t appreciate the good without the bad, I try to uncover positivity to promote growth and learning. Something to note is that I’m not expecting others to see my complete intention in my work. As an admirer of mystery, I like to keep that alive when you’re looking at something I’ve made. Chances are, I haven’t worked the related situation out myself yet. I encourage people to take what they see and decipher my messages as if they were solving a puzzle or riddle. I don’t always overcome a problem after the piece is done, and sometimes it’s the conversation with other people who incorporate their experience into what they see that helps me develop new insights.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
Success comes in different forms depending on one’s priorities. You must ask yourself what you really want out of it and plan on how to get there. My success looks different than others, even in the same industry. I think a good do-it-yourself attitude and making connections with other artists is essential. It’s taken me a long way.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I’m not currently showing in any exhibitions, but I always post upcoming dates on my Instagram. You can see my work at Seattle Espresso in Tempe, and The Open Source in downtown Tempe. All the work in those places is for sale! If anyone’s ever interested in something they see on my website, they’re welcome to send me an email and ask if it’s available for purchase. I also take commissions, although they are currently closed.
- Website: imlaurenkelly.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: whoislaurenkelly
Greg Rubner, Lauren Kelly