Lauren’s Response to the Artist Writer Mashup
Throughout Lamplighter’s 2015 Artist Writer Mashup, our featured artist Lauren Clark has been reading all of our participants’ blog posts, soaking in the feedback, and so we’ve asked her to give us a response for all of you! She has chosen five writers who, at some point during the project, gave her a strong opportunity for introspection and made her think deeply about her work. Here is Lauren’s response for those writers:
Bud was given my illustration entitled, “Beehive.” I modeled this illustration after a 1960’s fashion photograph I used to have hanging in my room in high school. When I was a kid, I remember looking at old photographs of my mom during that time and laughing at her hair piled sky-high. I laughed even harder when she told me it was called a “beehive hair style.”
This was one of the first posts that I started reading and it opened my eyes to what the viewer may think about me. Which, oddly enough, is something that never crossed my mind before. I’ve always focused on what the viewer gets from my illustration, not so much about me.
In looking at this piece, the writer saw a girl with sleepy eyes. The bees work hard while she sits, doing nothing with her life. Because of this, the writer gathered that I was unhappy with my life in some way – that I am not feeling challenged. Though I wouldn’t say that describes me, I was impressed with what he took from this piece and intrigued with his opinion on me through the work, seeing myself through a stranger’s eyes.
Reagan was given my illustration entitled, “Moon Man.” All of my work plays on the imagination and what this writer got from this piece during the first look is exactly what I was hoping for. She wrote:
This illustration gives me mixed feelings but mostly of isolation without loneliness or sadness. It seems to posses a certain message, to me, about escapism–breaking through the atmosphere just to get somewhere that can’t be reached by others, to be high above and away from all the things waiting for us back down below the ozone layer. This piece is very playful and I think I can learn from it that the artist is telling the viewer not to take things too seriously: alone doesn’t have to be lonely. And it shouldn’t be. Comfort is not as much of a commodity as many of us fall victim to believing at times. There’s more in our heads and fingertips (souls, too, if you believe in them) at our disposal than we often realize. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder of that and not necessarily a space-shuttle launch. That part is what we have to maintain the ability to imagine. Escapism is nothing without the atmospheric forgery. Moral of the story: un-kill your inner child.
Thank you, Reagan. A post like that feeds my creative brain, and inspires me to create more work.
Cassie had a challenge, I think. She was tasked with writing about my illustration entitled, “Ostrich and the Pyramids.” I say challenge because this was the first illustration I ever created in this series. I was a senior in college at the time, and I was given the task of merging a man-made object with an organic one. For some reason, the giant awkward ostriches appeared in my head. I went with it, and explored the *myth” (not 100% positive that it is a myth) that they burry their heads in the sand. I thought of the man-made Great Pyramids.
This being my first piece that started this whole series, it’s one of my favorites and Cassie has really spent time in her posts thinking about all aspects of it. The following made me really dive into her process:
The ostrich is a she. Perhaps Cassie has become one with the object, and placed herself as the ostrich (doesn’t that sound weird to say?) and that’s why it is a she. Either way, I am pleased. In showing my work at various show settings, there were a few times when I was introduced to viewers and they were surprised that I, the artist, am a female. I have been given the pronoun “he” a few times. I was never sure why, and I never asked.
An ostrich stands tall with strong legs and muted colors – I wasn’t surprised when most viewers referred to this ostrich as a “he” so when Cassie titled one of her posts as, “The Ostrich Finds Her Voice,” I immediately signed on to read. I am so glad that Cassie found herself in this giant bird that stands tall with strong legs. Thanks Cassie!
You know, I read many posts where the writers said they are not artists. They think they could not have put in so much detail to any illustration as I have. Perhaps most cannot draw from memory, or have the patience to shade a tree with thousands of tiny dots from the tip of a pen – but you are all artists; you all drew inspiration from an illustration not of your choosing. You used your keyboard as your brush. I read Joseph’s self portrait post about 10 times I think.
Joseph was an interesting read for me. He answered most of his questions through poems. For someone like myself, who never studied poems, this was a challenge but I tackled it and read each one. His self-portrait poem was a real interesting take on the illustration that was assigned to him. His illustration was “Phonograph Twist.” By the end of his poem, he explored the idea that the phonograph was a beautiful world and perhaps the swimming goldfish made a difficult decision to leave it.
That was a first that I heard that idea. Usually most say that the fish are thrilled to be bursting from it. His artistic approach to all of his posts, but also this idea of separation anxiety for these fish was certainly an imaginative one that only an artist would explore.
It appears that Caroline was given “Octopus Roots.” This one was a little difficult for me to come up with. I knew I wanted to use tentacles, but I couldn’t figure out what to combine them with. Tree roots, I decided.
Caroline, like many others, put so much thought into her posts. Many times throughout she noted how often this piece made her use her imagination, something we lose over time. In one of her posts, she ended with, “The more bills I pay and the more things I have to do, I can’t help but miss the simpler days.”
I work with kids every day. I watch them write their own stories of fictional creatures. I watch them play pretend during recess using only their imaginations and hands. I always think about the “simpler days.” The days where the ground was “lava” and you had to climb on furniture pieces to avoid it. I forced myself to get back there, to find my imagination for these pieces.
Thank you, Caroline, for finding your imagination again to write about these pieces. I hope that this illustration brought you back to those “simpler” days, even just for a moment.
Lauren Clark graduated from William Paterson University, where she studied various forms of art, and where she started taking Illustration more seriously. Lauren likes to play with imagination, something so many lose as we “grow up.” The series of Illustrations used for this project has been showcased at the Hoboken Arts Festival and on a month long display at a local wine bar. You can see some of Lauren’s work on Etsy.com