Lauren Perkins spent years in marketing and creative roles in the business world before deciding to pursue an art career full-time. Along the way, she has developed skills that support both the creative and commercial aspects of running a small business. Her work centers around bringing joy and positivity in her abstract paintings and patterns.
How did you find yourself on an artist’s path? Always there? Lightbulb moment? Dragged kicking and screaming? Evolving?
Becoming a full-time artist has been a long time in the making. In my previous work, whether I was planning events for my favorite non-profit or leading creative marketing at Tacodeli, I gravitated toward the creative aspects of each role including photography, illustration, and graphic design. Following this as a career feels like I am stepping into what I was created to do.
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When was the first time that you remember realizing that you are a creative person?
There is nothing I find more satisfying than creating, and it has been that way as early as I can remember. Childhood was filled with exploring various creative outlets. I would sew, paint, dance, draw, take photos, and write poems. Funny enough, I even dabbled in making balloon animals.
I began collecting paint and fabric swatches at an early age and have always found myself drawn to color and pattern. I loved collecting fashion and home decor magazines to study design and magazine layouts.
As I’ve grown and changed, creativity has remained a primary aspect of who I am. When I need to feel centered I have always come back to creating.
What inspires you to create?
I honestly feel that I was made to create. Staying true to that aspect of myself brings an immense joy to life. There is goodness and beauty all around us, and I want to participate in highlighting that and adding to it. After people view my work or collaborate with me on a project, I want them to leave feeling lighter.
What do you do to develop your skills? How do you get better at what you do?
Apple Pencil to iPad. Brush to canvas. Pen to paper. Repeat.
Learning by taking consistent action is the number one way I continue to improve over time. Fortifying those efforts through knowledge gained by online and in-person classes (from artists further along the path than I am) has been immensely beneficial. Also, developing friendships with artists as peers and mentors is invaluable.
I recently had the joy of being mentored by abstract artist Roma Osowo. Through that relationship I have not only grown as an artist but as a person.
Do you plan your work out ahead of time, or do you just dive in with your materials and start playing?
I recently painted an outdoor mural. For that piece I photographed the space, mocked up a digital design on my iPad, and selected a color pallet before I went to work on the actual painting. Procreate has been an incredibly helpful tool in the planning stages of my work.
One of my recent series – ‘Unmasked’ – was born from a more intuitive place. I had a painting that I just couldn’t quite make work. I decided to cover it up and use a pouring medium. Then I thought, “What if I wipe away some of the areas to let the underpainting come through?” Aside from selecting a color pallet, the process for these paintings is largely intuitive.
How do you manage your creative time? Do you schedule start and stop times? Or work only when inspired?
When I am at my best, I allot time on my calendar specifically dedicated to creating. When I do not prioritize creating I find that my many other commitments quickly fill the time.
There’s an amazing illustration about prioritizing the relationships and things that matter most that I keep at the forefront of my mind. You have a jar filled with seashells and sand and it’s filled to the top and everything fits in perfectly. The beautiful shells are the things and people that are primary in your life. For me that is my family, my faith, and creating. The sand is all of the other tasks, commitments, and events of life. If we put the shells in the jar FIRST, the sand can then be added and it can all fit together. If we put the sand in first and try to add the shells in after, it cannot all fit together.
Do you use a sketchbook or journal? How does that help your work develop?
I have multiple sketchbooks around the house, but I most often use my iPad to get my ideas down. For larger paintings, I often work through it on the iPad before putting paint to canvas. It brings efficiency to the planning process of determining my color pallet and composition. I often refer to my sketchbook for line drawings or small gouache elements that can be applied to my digital patterns.
Can you tell us about the inspiration and process of one of your works? How does a new work come about?
This may sound cliche, but I find inspiration everywhere. I put myself out into the world to experience, see, taste, and touch things firsthand. That is the primary way I draw inspiration.
Architecture, floral arrangements, a colorful salad, discovering a new plant species–inspiration is around every corner. I often feel drawn to photograph what I see. Taking that first step to capture inspiration lays the foundation for what I will create.
How has your creativity evolved over the years? What triggered the evolution to new media/kinds of work/ways of working?
With every job I’ve had, I gravitated toward the creative aspects of the position. This allowed me to add new tools to my repertoire. In my days as an assistant stylist for fashion photoshoots I developed my design sensibilities. In a non-profit fundraising role I nurtured my love of people. In marketing for Tacodeli, the beloved Austin, Texas taqueria, I developed my photography and design skills. In recent years, I have pressed into painting and pattern making. My skill set is varied and adds interesting layers to my creative process.
What (or who) has been your biggest inspiration in keeping your creative energy going?
My children are so precious to me and have always been a source of encouragement. They make me want to pursue my passions with full energy because it’s the life I desire for them. I want to teach the value of hard work, normalizing failure and setbacks as a natural part of growth. Recently, when I went too long without creating, my youngest said, “Mom, you need to get back to making art!” And so I did.
Tell us about your blog and/or website. What do you hope people will gain by visiting?
I would love to connect with you! You can learn more at LaurenPerkinsArt.com.
Interview posted May 2023
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