Lauren Muller

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Q&A

L+A: How did you get into painting?

My father was a musician and my mother was a teacher; and i’ve always kind of been making art but it wasn’t till I was 16 and my mother handed me paintbrushes and a canvas – and I was like “woah, i’m a painter now” [laughs].

L+A: So what has your path been like as a painter?

My career as an artist is very unique to me, I haven’t followed the “typical” path that an artist would take; but that’s because it doesn’t really work for me, I kind of just do my own thing. I will show somewhere eventually but for now I’m not pressed and it’s not why I create, I do this for me.

L+A: Have you ever felt the pressures of having your work seen?

A couple of months ago I felt like I was putting things out for people to see. The pressures of you gotta put it out there, you gotta feed the people; and then I thought, I don’t really need that validation. I’m enough and my work is enough.

It’s also a question of time, what is time? Time doesn’t exist and once we come to terms that time is something that we as humans made up, until then, you are always going to be a slave to time. You don’t live somebody else's life, you can’t compare your path to someone else’s path

I also really try to remember that I’m an oil painter and oil painting is known as slow art, you have to let it dry.

L+A: Were your parents always supportive of your art?

I think I’m really lucky, I’ve been given lots of chances to explore myself artistically. My mother is from Saint Lucia and my father is from Guyana, and my father actually went to school for science, but he just had that feeling of needing to create music, and my parents see that in me, I have to create art.

L+A: Have you ever had a tough time as a creative?

I think mostly, is where do I fit in. There’s many different art worlds and all the politics that some along with it. There’re museums, galleries, independent artists, then there’s also Instagram, that’s a big part of the art world. So it’s more so thinking about where do I want to fit in. I also recently downsized and stopped sharing my work as much. That’s me just going back to the basics of why do I create in the first place. What was it about that experience [when I was 16] that made me so happy, that led me here today.

L+A: How do you define success?

Success… You see your friends and your peers doing stuff and you ask yourself ‘What have I accomplished?’ But, people will always promote the things they’ve achieved; the monetary and tangible things. But, I get more pleasure knowing that everyday, I feel like a more grounded person.

L+A: Where would you say your inspiration comes from?

I am really into the human experience, exploring what it means to exist. When I first started painting, I explored a lot of the female form. When I was 16, 17, 18 and trying to figure out yourself, your sexuality, and gender. I was trying to capture the essence of a woman. But now that I’m a little older, I’m into relationships and companionship. I just love humans, I love to watch people and the relationships between people.

L+A: And how do you put yourself in that moment, to create?

Painting for me is something I can just escape, it’s really other worldly for me. I just blast music, I get lost in it and the motion of painting. I don’t think, sometimes people want to know the thought process, right. “What went through your mind when you drew that line” and I’m just like ‘yo man – it’s really not that deep’ [laughs]. I just do what I feel, I come to my studio and I create.

L+A: What are mediums that you like to use?

I used to be all acrylic, but I love oil now. With oil, you can control the consistency and it’s buttery. I love to mix it and watch the mixture happen, and the pigment is really strong. Lately I have been experimenting with oil pastels and oil sticks.

L+A: Have you ever worked on a collection?

I started painting in collections, in my website I have my paintings separated by different names, which were women. Working in collection helped me to have a goal, a type of objective and structure. But more recently, I’ve been speaking to different artists [and everyone works differently] they explained to me how they didn’t like working in collections because, while it does provide that structure, it also makes it a little rigid for you. So to answer your question, I used to work in collections, but these days, I’m not really. I realize that maybe my work can seem scattered, because one thing people liked was that they can see a piece and know that was me. But I’m also still so young, I have a style but I don’t need to be confined to it. It also ties back into talking about time. There’s no limit for me to accomplish anything. I know it can sound like “ what do you really want to do with your life?”; and a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on having a plan. For a long time I thought maybe I don’t have a plan, but I do, it’s just changed, and the plan is just to be great.

“People always ask ‘what do you do?’ I’m an artist, that’s what I do. But, what they really want to ask is ‘how can you afford all of this freedom?’. Well I worked really hard for it”

L+A: Do you have a dream project that you would like to start?

I hate to sound so out there [laughs], but my dream project is my life. I see the life that I want to live and the life that I am already living. I want to live on a grander scale, and that’s really my dream project. I always said I wanted an art studio, a place to come to, and I did that.

Of course having a solo show in a gallery would be amazing, every artists would love to show somewhere. To get to walk into a contemporary museum and see your work up there, that would be a dream. But on a grand scale, I just want to live an authentic life and truthful life. Drink water, stay hydrated, and be great.

L+A: What’s one of the hardest things you had to hear as a creative?

This may not be the toughest thing I had to hear as a creative, and I am sure I’ve heard many tough things. But it all really comes down to the word “Can’t” – and I just was raised in a world where there was no ‘can’t’. I feel really blessed, being a young black woman out here in this world, with West Indian parents that for the most part have been really supportive. Because it sounds corny, but you can really do anything.

L+A: What’s something you made peace with?

Peace with myself, peace with others, and peace with my art. I would say I made peace with most of those things. I can be really hard on myself, but I think now I’ve been a lot kinder to myself. Peace with others, I think often times we think highly of others, we believe in people. We think someone is so great, and they would never do certain things to me, and then they do; and all you could think is ‘why did you let me down’. The result of that is thinking you always need some type of closure. But, the peace I’ve come to terms with is, that you can actually give that closure to yourself.

L+A: What's the best advice you've recieved from a woman?

Never down playing yourself when you're about to present a project

Photo Credit: Shanita Sims

@shanita.sims

Main Page Photo Credit: Curt Saunders

@cosmicinsanity