You might be wondering why my second installment of Over | Under is being published one day early. But, Fridays are for Oscar, and May 1st just happens to fall on a Friday. What to do, what to do? If there’s anything I’ve learned as a writer is that readers have certain expectations of the writing experience. It’s more than a little jarring if we’ve been reading along for, say, 100 pages or so, and wham – a new major character is introduced, or the point of view changes from the hero to the villain. When that happens, we’ve been jolted out of the story. So for the sake of consistency I kept my weekly post with Oscar in place, and tweaked my monthly interview by one day. That said, I am so pleased to introduce my style maven for the month of May – Lauren Airriess. Lauren is an amazing young artist with oodles of talent flowing from her fingers. If you can believe it, this young woman already has two powerhouse names, Disney and Pixar, happily displayed in bold print on her resume. Lauren and I met quite by accident (if such a thing exists) when we were both residing in the Nob Hill district about two years ago. My husband and I had just recently relocated to San Francisco with our beloved English Bulldog, Buster. On most Sunday’s we made our way to a dog friendly park named Huntington that was a stone’s throw from our apartment. On this particular afternoon, Lauren and her husband Ryan happened to be sitting on the park bench next to us and as people were wont to do began to admire what a handsome fellow Buster was. We chatted back and forth, enjoying one another’s company and parted ways when it was time to go home. It wasn’t long afterward that we ran into each other again as I was taking Buster for one of his daily walks. Then, we ran into each other again on another hilly street of San Francisco, and then yet again. Until one day, Lauren asked if we would be interested in joining she and her husband for dinner. With no hesitation whatsoever my husband and I said yes! Although I do remember assuring Lauren she could check out my Facebook page so that she wouldn’t worry that we were some sort of stalkers…Don’t you just love life’s twists and turns? You never know who’s around the next bend just waiting to make your acquaintance. These days, Lauren and her husband Ryan reside in their new home located in sunny SoCal. Los Angeles to be exact. I’m certain you’ll find her most days with a sketchbook in her hand, sipping a cup of tea, and capturing the likenesses of the latest wildlife that have wandered into her garden. I keep badgering Lauren from time-to-time that we should collaborate on a children’s book I’ve been kicking around, but for now I am happy to call Lauren my friend.
Lauren first question. Are you over or under forty?
Under. I’m 27.
The most critical thing for me to create productively is a good clean workspace. I can work anywhere as long as I have a dedicated spot without distractions. Plus many cups of coffee and tea!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Someone once told me it’s easy to get lost in the details. It’s necessary to step back and see how to make the piece work as a whole. I feel that this applies to art as well as life don’t sweat the small stuff.Is there an artist you can relate to?
Beatrix Potter. She was an animal lover, a natural born scientist, and painter. She was also an environmentalist in her own way. Most importantly she was a woman who knew her own mind!
How do you feel when people interpret your artwork?
I don’t usually worry much about interpretation. I feel that once you put something out there, you are handing it over to the audience to do what they will with it. Most of the time I am working on commission – as long as the client is satisfied with what I am giving them, they can interpret it however they like. Occasionally, there will be a difference in taste and that can be tricky. In the end, I am happy if they are happy.
From whom did you get those amazing lips and gorgeous brows?
I am the spitting image of my paternal grandmother, who I never met. I also inherited her love of painting, animals, and travel.
What types of art do you prefer?
I like any kind of art as long as it is done well and with good intent.
Ocean, lake, or pool?
Ocean no question! I don’t think I could give up coastal living.
How do you know when a work is finished?
When I am happy with the image, and it reads clearly. If I am doing a commission, it’s whenever the client is happy with it.
What inspires you?
I am mostly inspired by the natural world around me, and the characters I meet on the street everyday. I am also constantly scouring the internet to find new and exciting artists. I like to study what they are doing and learn what inspires them. A trip to the museum is always a good reminder of how the masters did it, and a way to stay grounded in good technique.
What do you think of first impressions?
I am very big on first impressions. I think people project who they really are, even if it’s on a subconscious level. However it’s good to keep in mind that just because they are that person now doesn’t mean that is who they are going to be tomorrow or a year from now.
How did you decide to become an artist?
I explored acting, singing, animation and fine art at a young age. It was clear I was going to be in the arts, but it wasn’t until high school I focused on a specific direction.
What projects have you worked on? Which one was your favorite, and why?
I have worked on feature films, animated tv shows, short films, music videos and children’s books. I prefer feature films because it allows you to live in and explore that world for a long period of time. It’s also an opportunity to collaborate with a team of artists over a number of years.
What got you interested in art? What classes have you taken?
My sister and I were drawing from an early age, and my parents encouraged it. We had quite a few art books and beautifully illustrated children’s books in the house, which were always a source of inspiration. My sister and I “trained” each other – she encouraged me to work on areas that needed improvement and I did the same for her. Instead of going to a traditional art school, I attended Capilano University in Vancouver Canada and studied animation.
What 3 words describe your current life?
Connected, Dynamic, Fulfilled.
Lauren, thank you so much, sweetie, for taking the time out of your schedule to answer my questions. Ladies, I hope you enjoyed this month’s segment for Over | Under. Please take a moment and have a look at the darling rendition Lauren drew of me for Style at a certain age located on my side bar. Didn’t I tell you what a talented young lady she is?