If you’ve read the About section, you already know my favorite design element in a room is artwork. Aside from vintage finds, I am completely captivated by art and love finding original pieces created by talented people. We’re starting a new series that will present our favorite artists, both up and coming, as well as classic favorites. The first post features my friend, the brilliant Lauren Stern.
One of her pieces is installed in my main bath. I love the painterly brush work and color palette that characterize Lauren’s paintings. The custom piece she created for me is oil on wood panel; she even fabricates the panels herself.
Here’s a closer look at the amazing details of my very own Lauren painting. I basically told her what size I was looking for and allowed her fabulous brain to create the content.
To give you a little background on our friendship, Lauren and I attended the same college; she was in BFA painting, while I was in BFA design. We also studied art history together in Florence, Italy, traveling through Europe and staying in hostels during our weekends. Now I keep up with her via Instagram, drooling over her sketches and doodles (@laurendoodle):
Here’s a little Q&A with the Chicago-based artist:
S: Lauren!! Why are you such a crazy amazing artist? Ha! You really are, but in all seriousness- what motivates you to push your creative boundaries? Where do you seek inspiration? I know it’s tough being innovative on a daily basis.
L: Awe, schucks. You’re making me cyber-blush! Pushing creative boundaries and staying inspired is such a tough daily, weekly, and monthly aspiration for those artists just out of school as well as for those art world veterans. I surround myself with art of those whom I admire, jot down notes or rough sketches whenever they come to me, and try to focus on how I see the world when I walk around downtown or in my neighborhood. I get more inspiration from getting out into the world than I do while falling into an internet rabbit hole. I’ve also realized that the act of painting and drawing needs to be fun. I only paint and draw what actually 100% excites me. For instance, the landscape you selected for the post is a landmark painting for my development as an artist. It is from my trip to Iguassu Falls in Argentina back in 2012. That’s when I started to add little graphic elements to my landscapes and still lives, making me feel like I had finally created my own artistic style.
S: Tell us a bit about your full-time job. I’m always drooling over your Anthro displays.
L: My full-time job is so incredibly fun! I’m a Display Coordinator for Anthropologie and I love every minute of it. I started in Indianapolis, IN, moved to the Anthro in Lexington, KY, and am now in a store in Schaumburg, IL (a Chicago suburb). Every Anthro has one full-time artist who makes displays for windows and interiors specific to their store’s unique architecture. What’s great about this job is that every display is a new theme/material palette. It’s mostly 3D work, which challenges my 2D brain in such rewarding ways.
We all start with the same company-wide inspiration and then customize the broad theme for our individual store. For instance, one window theme called for an interpretation of fall leaves. I created hanging branches with leaves of a deep purple color palette and a golden pop. Some other stores created a scene with individual leaves appearing to blow away from a darker blue and gold background. I sincerely hope every artist has a chance to work with people who inspire them to grow as much as my community of artists at Anthro inspires me.
S: I’m pretty infatuated with your Instagram account alone, if a person sees something in your feed they like, is it available for purchase? I know you also work on custom commission-based projects; do you have a recent favorite?
L: Why, yes, my dear! Everything is for sale unless otherwise specified in the post. Right now I’m encouraging people to direct message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for prices or other information. I sell the original works and I have small prints of a lot of my work for $15 (sizes are about 6x8in). My recent favorite project was a series I did on my neighborhood in Chicago. I have many of the paintings and drawings on my instagram account. It is a collection of pieces depicting the architecture and gentrification process in and around Logan Square.
S: How would you describe your artistic style? I see a lot of variation throughout your work, which keeps me guessing (in a good way!). Do you prefer one medium over another?
L: I would describe my work as slightly abstracted representations of people, places, and things. It sounds incredibly vague because I have a lot of variation in my work. One thing that is constant in my work is a sense of energy within brushstrokes or pen lines. I like to work fast so I don’t torture myself on any small decisions during the creating process. I absolutely love drawing with pens. Its immediate finality causes you to work with your mistakes or unplanned marks. Drawing has always come easily to me– much easier than painting ever did. Painting what truly excites me is the only way I can sit through a 3 or 5 hour painting session. Painting is not a chore, by any means, but it is more difficult for me and takes more discipline. However, I can say without a doubt that I am fully addicted to the euphoria that follows that last brush stroke of a finished painting.
S: What can we expect from you next? Are you cooking up any fun collaborations or goals? Speaking of collaborations, who are your favorite artists currently?
L: I’ve recently launched a new project of mine, which I will shamelessly plug right now. I am doing custom pet portraits! (#laurendoodlepetportrait) They’re super fun and something I really enjoy. They are 8”x10” original pen drawings and are only $40. I know how much I love drawing my cat, Blue, and would love to spread that love to other people’s four-legged (or three-legged, who knows!?) family members. You can see examples of this project on my instagram @laurendoodle. Your adorable doggie Finn is next, Sarah!
A few of my favorite artists are Marine Tempels, Lisa Sanditz, Richard Diebenkorn, Euan Uglow, Laurent Chehere. They are all truly inventive and inspiring. I would also like to say that you have always inspired me, as well! Being able to draw inspiration from different disciplines is always great!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I loved compiling it and talking with Lauren. Look for additional artist spotlight posts in the future; be sure to check out and support these talented people! Thanks, Lauren!
*Special thanks to Preen for the lovely styling accessories!