Lauren’s work speaks for itself and there’s no doubt — she has one spellbinding imagination. She describes herself as methodical, sleep-deprived, and a regular user of band-aids from her daily sewing accidents. The path that led her into the art sphere started when she was young and since then, it’s been her life to find different ways to express herself. She gave me a window into her thoughts on the importance of creativity, life, and what it means to be trill.
Lauren: I actually don’t remember a point in my life where I wasn’t drawing. I just know that I began by drawing for my dad when I would follow him to his office. I would draw these horrible drawings because I was watching a lot of Dragon Ball Z. (laughing) I would draw my dad with gold hair and say, “Dad. You can be a Super Saiyan.” He still kept all of my drawings. I’m glad he did. I love seeing the progression when I look back at them. My dad would have me watch cartoons and I was obsessed with anime. I was reading manga like no other. I think that’s where it mainly sprouted from. Ever since then, I never stopped.
When I got to high school, I started taking painting classes from the art teacher. She was really sweet and was a great teacher. On top of that, I began to take leadership positions on my campus like class president. Through that, I was able to work on a lot of the display projects for school activities with the help of friends. Throughout high school, my art teacher really encouraged me to do more with my art and said I should take it to the next level by going “advanced.”
From there, I gained more confidence and got some wind under my wings.
Lauren: A lot of family. There are artists in my family on my mom’s side. Some of them are painters and I grew up seeing them do different work. I would admire their work and always thought it was really cool. My uncle helped me a lot from Mexico because he’s a painter. Also, my grandmother would always sew little outfits for my Barbies and she would sew me a lot of clothes. So, sewing was always around.
Lauren: I think musicians mostly. Especially when I started wanting to be “punk” for a while. I had thought Linkin Park was punk along with Blink 182. But then, I discovered Le Tigre and Kathleen Hanna. It got me all into the feminism world in the punk scene.
I would always see that the punk people were stitching a lot of things. I thought it was so cool back then so I would go to the mall and go to Hot Topic. I would take my dad with me and say, “Dad, I want to dress like that!” But then, he would reply, “I hate them.” We would always get into full on fights and I would start crying. (laughing) I was always so angry at him because of that. So I would go home and then stitch my own stuff. I used to have this little cardigan that I would stitch all these patches on. It was the cutest thing. That’s when I started learning how to sew by myself. Now that I look at it, it was horrible stitching. (laughing) Just horrible. Very rough. I had clearly just done it well enough to get them to stick on… Even in high school, I would make these funky ghosts and sew them onto my backpack and on my friend’s backpack. I just thought it was the coolest thing.
Lauren: Although I had that punk phase, I couldn’t really dress any crazy way in school because I went to a private school. So it was more of an underground punk phase (laughing). But when I got to high school, that’s when I started really dressing crazy. I would wear neon pants, hippie shirts, and I chopped my hair off. It was weird. You look back now and I’m like, “Damn. What the hell!” (laughing) Then, time passed and I watched my hair grow back. I became really sporty and let go of art for about two years. It was the only time I was buff and tan. Now, in college, I’ve already become a grandma. I started drinking tea and sewing more in my art. I think I’m stuck here. (laughing)
Lauren: I think it is very important. I think any way of being creative or expressing yourself is important. Artists right now are trying to explain what they’re going through to… themselves. Meaning, trying to express yourself TO yourself through art. And by ‘yourself’ I mean community and society as a whole. It’s a big funky mesh.
Everyone should have some kind of outlet. If not, you’re like a pent up balloon that’s going to pop when someone pokes you! I think you do need to face yourself. You learn a lot. For me, through my art, I learned that I’m surprisingly patient. I think I enjoy tedious routines. All the stitching is so slow but I stay focused on all the small and minute details. Then, when I’m done and I step back, I see it’s something really big and amazing. I never knew I was such a patient person.
Emerline: Do you have any advice for people who are not confident in expressing themselves?
Lauren: Well, first of all, don’t think like that! (laughing) A lot of artists put themselves down. I don’t think it’s that great. I think you should be positive about your work. But of course be open to criticism. That’s the biggest thing. When people are trying to help you and suggest things to do you, don’t take it offensively. They’re just trying to lead you in the right direction to try things out.
Also I would say — Don’t just stick to one thing. Really expand and try everything. Learn how to weave. Go print something. Go take pictures. Just don’t zero in.