I don’t know why I took such a long pause (as in- over two years) from the Artist Spotlight series. It was one of my favorites and although it requires a lot more work (and scouting) than other posts, it’s always so rewarding, worth it, and well received. Since last week’s giveaway was such a hit, I thought it was only fitting to ask Laurie Anne Gonzalez to be the first artist in the series relaunch. We have another AMAZING giveaway for you too. Click through to discover more of her artwork and enter to win my favorite grid gallery wall to date (shown above).
I’ll start by saying- this post is accidentally perfect timing on my part, as Laurie Anne is hosting her one and only giant sale for Cyber Monday today. Grab any of her art prints for 50% off today only (use the code cyber50) on her website.
To give you a bit of the backstory on how I know Laurie Anne (I swear it’s a good story)… we met online. Emmett and I had just rescued Johnny Cash, and I knew nothing about wire fox terriers. It turns out they’re not the easiest dogs on the planet, and in the midst of trying to figure out his weird mannerisms and allergies, an insta “stranger” reached out to help. Laurie Anne also has a sweet little wire fox terrier named Hazel and she proved to be a wealth of knowledge when it came to our newest fur baby. The next thing you know, I’m texting her all the time, discovering the fact we’re practically twins, and have SO much in common.
It’s almost creepy how much the two of us are alike. We’ve never met in person, but our husbands can attest to the fact that we FaceTime and insta story way too often- at least a few times a day. I’m pretty sure they get annoyed that we’re constantly chattering in the background. They’ve come to know our voices and it has become the norm, but that’s what I love most about social media- no friend is out of reach. We’re planning to go on a trip and finally meet in person next month! Although some might think our weird / blind date style friendship is strange, we’re pretty stoked to have found each other. Obviously I asked Laurie Anne to commission artwork for my One Room Challenge space and it seems like you guys love her as much as I do, so without further delay- let’s dive into the interview!!
S: How did your artistic career begin? Are you formally trained?
LA: I come from a family of artists/creatives and I had always taken art classes growing up, but one year my mom got my dad a set of acrylic paints, brushes and canvases for his birthday. Well, he didn’t get to them in time before I got a hold of them. One day my mom found me zoned out in my own little world painting away. That was the first time I picked up paints for fun. I was 14. From there on, I chose to take art classes all through high school and ended up getting my BA at Auburn University in Painting and had the amazing opportunity to study art in Florence, Italy for my last semester. I actually graduated college in Florence. I have a picture of me in my cap and gown on one of the bridges over the Arno.
S: What motivates you to push your creative boundaries? Where do you seek inspiration? I know it’s tough being creative on a daily basis.
LA: Pushing my creative boundaries is suuuuper uncomfortable but necessary. When I have a break in my work schedule and have free time to paint, I try to do something I don’t think I can do. For example, I used to think I couldn’t create super detailed work and pushed myself to at least try it out and oddly enough now I do a lot of detailed work for stationery companies. Its very rewarding conquering something you were once intimidated by. Whenever I am in a creative lull, I pop on over to instagram and go check out all of my favorite artists and suddenly I am inspired and ready to go. Seeing other people create is kind of like catching a bug. I see it and I’m like “I gotta go make something!”
S: How would you describe your artistic style? I know you mentioned your style has evolved over the years. Do you prefer one medium over another?
LA: Haha this is my daily crisis!! Yes, my style has changed drastically over the past 10 years. I used to paint super large oil paintings and these days I tend to work no larger than 9×12 in watercolor or Gouache. Over this past year I have been having what I call an Artist Identity Crisis because the work I am creating looks so different than what I created before. This was actually really hard because for a long time I felt like I was competing with my old artist self. I have since learned to accept whatever is coming out of my hands and heart no matter how big or small. Its always changing and its freeing to just let the art take me where it will. Right now, I am totally digging Gouache because its easy like watercolor but reminds me of oil paint. But who knows what I’ll be into in a few months!
S: What can we expect from you next? Are you cooking up any fun collaborations, products or goals? Speaking of collaborations, who are your favorite artists currently?
LA: I just finished up one of my most favorite series, my naked ladies, which I am so happy that you have 4 of them!! I have been getting the itch to paint some florals, so that might be next on the agenda. But, as cliche as this sounds, my inspiration changes with the wind. Oh, the life of an artist. I love seeing my artwork on stuff… like phone cases, greeting cards etc., so I will definitely continue to develop those products as well as creating more Art Prints. My current favorite artists are, Lulie Wallace, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co, Katherine Moffett, Richard Claremont, and Blakely Little. I could go on and on. I love finding new artists.
S: Lastly, what advice would you give new artists, designers, or other creatives who are just entering the industry?
LA: I would encourage them to make something everyday. Even if it is absolutely terrible, just do it. No matter how naturally gifted you are, it still takes practice. Practice constantly and push yourself. I used to get in these major creative blocks and super frustrated with not being inspired, and It wasn’t until I started pushing myself to create something that took me out of my comfort zone that those creative blocks went away. It takes self discipline for sure but it is so worth it.
S: What is your ideal color palette?
LA: My ideal color palette would be neutrals, olive greens, yellow ochre, earth tones, peaches, earthy pastels. But, this question makes me laugh because I tend to paint super colorful a lot of the time. When I do actually paint with my ideal color palette it feels magical.
S: Where do you hope to be in 5 / 10 years as an artist?
LA: My long term goal is to have a business that is a mix of Retail and Home Products and Original Artwork… meaning I would love to have a large line of paper products and accessories (I’m the daughter of a stationer) + fabric, wall paper etc. but also still create original bodies of work to sell. Not only am I an artist but I LOVE business. I have been selling stuff since I was a little girl (I would sell the neighborhood kids rocks when my seashells ran out, seriously), so that side of what I do is really fun for me.
S: What has been your most rewarding moment as an artist?
LA: I would have to say getting back in the game. I took a very long break from creating my own work to work with my mom at her stationery company (Sweet Pea Designs) and it wasn’t until only over a year ago that I decided to get back to creating art full time. It was incredibly scary because I didn’t know if I could still do it. But I can and I did. I am incredibly proud of myself for pushing through all of my fears and just going for it. And I can honestly say, I haven’t been happier. I absolutely love my job and my life.
E N T E R T H E G I V E A W A Y
As promised, Laurie Anne is generously gifting a grid gallery wall of her forest green cyanotypes to one lucky reader (and there’s a perk for a friend too)! Here’s how to enter:
- Follow Laurie Anne on Instagram (if you aren’t already).
- Tag a friend on this Insta post who will win one art print of their choice.
- Comment below stating how many botanical cyanotypes you’d like for your grid gallery wall (up to 9).
To sum things up, you could win up to $335 worth of artwork for yourself, and your tagged friend will also win a print of their choice! We wanted to celebrate the fact that social media can bring friends (like us) together. Don’t forget, you can also save 50% today only on Laurie Anne’s website!