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Episode 50
Artist Lauren Quin

  • 2 min read

Episode Description

A discussion with artist Lauren Quin. Quin is an abstract painter that builds paintings known for their vibrant colors and layer upon layer of mark making. In the conversation, we discuss her multistage process, her pursuit of intense colors, her love of Los Angeles and the meaning behind the name of her new show at Blum & Poe.


Craig: [00:00:09] This is Art Sense. A podcast focused on educating and informing listeners about the past, present and future of art. I'm Craig Gould. On today's episode, I speak with artist Lauren Quin. Quin is an abstract painter that builds paintings known for their vibrant colors and layer upon layer of mark making. In the conversation, we discuss her multi-stage process, her pursuit of intense colors, her love of Los Angeles, and the meaning behind the name of her new show at Blum & Poe. And now, a discussion about layers upon layers with artist Lauren Quin.

Craig: [00:00:59] Lauren Quin, thank you so much for joining me this week on the Art Sense Podcast. Lauren, with artists I usually like to start with a hypothetical, which is let's say you're at a dinner party and your seated next to someone who's never met you. They don't know what you do. They've never seen your work. How do you describe what you do and what it looks like to them?

Lauren: [00:01:22] Oh, I mean, at a dinner party, I tend to be a little shy about introducing myself. So I would say I make large scale abstract paintings and kind of start something really basic.

Craig: [00:01:38] And so then if they are sort of knowledgeable, they'll say, "well, what do they look like? Do they look like Picasso or do they look like...", you know, they'll try to put you in some sort of box. You know, of course, no one ever wants to be put in a box. So what's the next level of description?
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Lauren: [00:01:59] Yeah, I say I use there's not a lot of forms. It's, it's slightly biomorphic, but I use tubes as the base of the painting and they are colorful and there's a lot of carving and there's a lot of printing involved and there's a lot of layers. And yeah, that's what I would that's what I would maybe land toward.

Craig: [00:02:22] Yeah, that's probably a good place to start in that layers, right? Because I mean, your work is like this abyss of layers.

Lauren: [00:02:31] Mm hmm.

Craig: [00:02:32] You know, it seems like over the past decade, there's been an explosion in the flat esthetic, you know, lots of painters using lots of tape to to make flat acrylic surfaces. And, you know, that kind of goes back to the picture plane, you know, the painting as an object versus the painting as a window. Your work's not flat. It's all about layers and depth. Can you talk about that conscious decision?

Lauren: [00:02:57] Yeah. I mean, well, so many ways to approach this. I think I was. So to explain how it goes down, I would say I start with a pattern of small tubes that are sort of isolated, three or four colors. And I cover the canvas with this pattern and that kind of creates a general kind of oscillating color. And then I put down the thicker paint, and while that thicker paint is wet, I carve into the thicker paint and the small tubes are kind of weaving underneath, as is shown by the carved carving out, they're carved out again. But the thicker paint is also a similar tube. It shares the the kind of gradation and values. So the values of the pattern underneath start to compete with the value of the thicker tube. And it kind of creates a space that I'm really interested in of everything being competitive, but not necessarily am I building out space in a illusionistic way. That's not necessarily the goal. The goal is for everything to be coming at you. And I think it works in sort of understanding value and color in a way that I can make things really vibrate forward.

Craig: [00:04:32] You know, as you're describing that process, I was I was thinking of the word vibration, especially like you say, you have those smaller tubes that with the negative space that's carved away in that process, it winds up those areas aren't always necessarily clean or white. They're usually kind of those lines wind up being kind of striped because of what what you have under there. Right. So there's like this frequency that's going on, right?

Lauren: [00:05:00] That is one fundamental element to it. But the third is that there's always a catalyst. On top of that, there's always more involved, which is that I also use litho ink and I print onto the surface of the carved in lines. And it sits very forward as well. But it also picks up the ridges and sort of the topography of the work that I've been doing in a way that it starts to glimmer off of these tubes pretty much.

Craig: [00:05:36] You know, I've read about your process and there are parts of your process that I'm just really curious how, for example, the process with using the litho ink, my understanding is that you work from the back almost making like a contact print, right?

Lauren: [00:05:51] Yeah. It's a mono print. I mean. Yeah

Craig: [00:05:54] The painting is turned over. You probably don't have a lot of reference about even what part of the painting you're affecting and your you're doing this mark making you know their winds up being actual marks on the back side of your painting, right?

Lauren: [00:06:08] Yeah. There's, there's whole paintings on the back of my painting sometimes. Yeah. It's, you know, it's really grown over time. It started as trace monotype, which I found was a really exciting way to kind of continue my drawing practice, which is just something that is inherent to me. I think it's where I started working and it's where I maintain the work still. And so it started as these Trace Monotypes, which I was doing in grad school, and then I started basically integrating it into the painting. And all while I'm doing that, every area where the ink stinks, sticks together or it is too light. Those all of that play becomes part of the work and is sort of consumed by it. And it's also litho ink, so it's workable as oil paint, it's oil based. And so it just it creates this third space that I contend with. And I mean, there are drawings on the back, and I've gotten so much more comfortable at reading how the painting will develop when I'm working on it from from the back. But I've found new ways to do it as well. I've started using sandpaper to print the litho on to apply it the other way. I've made paintings into giant light boxes and planned it that way. I think there's so many. It's, it's really a problem solving exercise in that. Part of it, I don't ever want to control completely and I want to embrace and use and learn from it. And the other part is still a game of of handling. And it's very exciting. It's like the painting can be very vulnerable at that point.

Craig: [00:08:08] You obviously have a process now and it's your work is kind of tied to what we would call process based art. How did you arrive at your process where where you are now? Is it just a lot of experimentation? Did you just keep on adding on and on, or did you see certain people doing certain things or, you know, in art history and just kind of gravitating, grab and choose and pick from different places?

Lauren: [00:08:36] It's really all three. Um, I think that all of the elements of the work that it contains today have been kind of bouncing around for the past six years or so, maybe even longer. I think I can, I can pinpoint exact paintings and certain times when it clicked in, I think I've always sort of had a handle on drawing and modeling in a way that really evokes the body. And so that was always kind of the underbelly of what I would draw. And then when I was in school, I was always..."in school" I mean grad school at Yale. I was always kind of struggling to find the painting I wanted to make in that I was carving into the paint in a different way. I would sort of cover colorful painting entirely with white, and then I would carve into it like it was a sheet of paper, almost massive. So there was this carving element involved. And then the third element that was also there was the tube, which really this tube mark was a game I was playing with myself at the end of grad school because I was looking for form and light and in the process I was pushing everything into gray.

Lauren: [00:10:10] And so I was so I was at the Art Institute, no I was at the Yale University Art Gallery, and there was a Léger painting that I just loved. I loved the sort of...specifically a detail of hands holding a book and the way that it was structured was so tight and rhythmic, but also it implied so much form that I felt like I needed some structure like that. So I basically took a painting that I considered a failed painting in my studio, and I just remade it 1 to 1. But with this tube mark and it really clarified color for me to isolate the color combinations into twos and threes, but also keep this sort of modeling and form that I think is sumptuous and interesting. And I was doing that for a long time and then I started printing into it and it was a bit more, I'd say, for for the next year, year and a half, I was I was using these tubes and using the printing and using the carving, but it was all isolated, you know, like the paintings worked in these zones and it was much more structured. And then what really happened is when the shutdown happened, I was maybe half a year out of grad school really trying to get on my feet in L.A.

Lauren: [00:11:39] And suddenly all this this work was only being seen online. And so all the carving that I was doing into the paintings, into the wet paint was much finer. It was kind of with a with an exacto blade and the printing. It just disappeared when you when you shrunk it on an image. And it really changed the space of the paintings for me. And the conversation around the painting started to be being exclusively about screen spaces. And not that I don't think about technology and sort of the way that these paintings are shared, but it wasn't the angle that I really was driven by, so I basically took that tube mark and I enlarged it until it became more of really consuming the painting. And then I started carving into that tube and I made the carving wider as well. I started using a butter knife instead of a spoon and sort of an exact blade. Right. And, you know, it was really trial by error and and embracing those errors and learning how to build it out painting by painting. But I think that that's maybe a general trajectory of how I've gotten to where I am now.

Craig: [00:13:05] Things have gotten bigger, and my experience is that that's one of the things you just really have to deal with when you go from something that's maybe a 30 by 40 to something that's six feet by ten feet, is that all of a sudden the marks that you were making all of a sudden become microscopic? And so you kind of have to change the way you mark make, right? I mean, it's the same way, but you have to find different tools to make those marks bigger.

Lauren: [00:13:31] Actually, no, I've always sort of I've always worked fairly large comparatively. So maybe my cohort have always worked on the larger side. I think I was before the last two years, I would say like a six feet by four feet was was a pretty like a bread and butter type of range or proportion for me. But because I'm kind of just a tall, like a big person and I like to spread out and move my body and feel, feel what that feels like and really dance. And while I'm working. But I would say that with the painting, there's like a 15 foot painting in the show that I have up at Blum & Poe. And what excites me about making those paintings is because the size of the smallest mark contingent to the whole of the painting is still the same. I'm still using that butter knife.

Craig: [00:14:36] Okay

Lauren: [00:14:37] And it's really in the window of time in which the painting dries and is workable. All of those things are the exact same. And so it really actually has really taught me about commitment into that window of time that you're working. I think I have kept and held on to the actual scale of the mark while also scaling up in this recent body of work. Because it's interesting to me to have the success of the painting still hinge on these tools, you know?

Craig: [00:15:32] Tell me about how much planning you do about your painting before you execute it, because some painters have it all mapped out in Photoshop. Some of the most successful painters get it so precise that they just can kind of outsource it. I kind of get the impression that based on your process, that a lot of it is spontaneous or improvised. But you tell me, how much planning do you do? How much of it is feel?

Lauren: [00:16:03] You know, I would say that the planning I do is always with the intention of diverting from that plan. I like to when especially when I'm starting something, I like to pick the most wrong shape or colors I can manage. And I and I like it to be a real problem that I have to address immediately. And the less attached I feel to the first layer, the less I like it, the more productive I will be, the more incentivized I am to fix that immediately before anybody sees it.

Craig: [00:16:39] Right.

Lauren: [00:16:40] So I think that has been my outlook on planning and starting in the first layers on that structure. But I do feel that there are certain paintings in which I' I would, I would first of all, I would put myself squarely in a more intuitive camp versus a planner. I'm just not that type of painter, but I do think that part of being part of working like that is that nothing can be only an accident once. If I find something, I have to know how to repeat it. I have to know how to consume it and fold it into the repertoire. And so paintings sort of become I'll make one painting, and then I'll have to make its inversion or I'll do something and I have to know how to do it again. And that's how really the language expands.

Craig: [00:17:44] So it's almost as if you have a set of rules and if you divert, you have to figure out how to create a new rule for moving forward. Is that...

Lauren: [00:17:54] That sounds interesting. I like that. I mean, that really sounds like instructions. And I think it's more that I really love the struggle of making the painting. And the best paintings are the ones that are never resolved and those will give back to me for years to come, you know, and I think that all of that work that I do in that struggle and in building these decisions sharpens my ability to make the next one as well. So not every painting is a struggle. Some paintings really just soar through them, or I can do that because of that groundwork. But I think they become more and more my own each time. You know?

Craig: [00:18:44] I was talking to a figurative painter. A figurative painter probably has some idea when they're painting is finished, give or take.

Lauren: [00:18:52] I knew you were going to say that.

Craig: [00:18:56] How do you know? How do you know when you've reached the point where it resonates with you, but there's still something that's unresolved that adds interest? Is it just in your gut?

Lauren: [00:19:09] Well, I wouldn't discredit the gut. I think that really it's that I've learned so far up until that point from the previous paintings, what I want from it. But it's definitely know, I can do all of the moves that I've that I would call a finished painting. I can I can print on it. I can carve, I can paint thicker and paint washier zones and the color can be bright and everything could be involved. And that does not solve a painting. So, those are just slower areas. Those take time and they're contingent on what's in front of me and on the logic that I have been sharpening with the with all the paintings before it.

Craig: [00:20:03] When you're working, do you feel like you try to create a point of emphasis somewhere in your painting, or is part of your process to try to divert that to all places on on the form that it's every everything has equal weight or is there emphasis?

Lauren: [00:20:25] I think everything does have equal emphasis. I would say that I like to play with weight. I wouldn't say maybe maybe weight would imply something visual. And I think I like to say that everything has a competitive edge to it. But really, I mean, I understand that I know it's finished when I cannot stop looking at it, but I have nowhere to fix, you know, I start swimming in it. And what's really satisfying is when they finally kind of leave my control and I see somebody else looking at it and the way that they look at it, I know I'm successful. If a viewer is looking at it the way that I am looking at it in a certain way, like I see people taking videos and getting really close to the paintings and I'm so satisfied that they see what I see because that's the kind of feedback that is sort of priceless. So yeah, I mean I I answering your question.

Craig: [00:21:29] Yeah, you are. Can we talk about color? Do you have rules that you work with in terms of color? Kind of in general terms? We think of warm colors coming forward and cool colors receding and that's going to create depth. But maybe we want to play with the antithesis of that. And do you consciously seek out complementary colors or are you trying to figure out ways to surprise us with combinations?

Lauren: [00:21:59] Definitely the latter. I think that I really just don't think that there is any wrong color. I feel that I naturally gravitate towards reds and sort of vermillion and and kind of thin but potent colors. And I've really been for the past two years, really been sort of searching for a blue and a green. Kind of with equal potency to the way that I know how to lean on my other kind of color tendencies. But, you know, color is such a game, and it's...I just don't think there's any wrong. Sometimes I feel that there aren't enough colors just in the spectrum. There's just really not enough. It's so limited know, there's just not enough paint to even like get where I want to get something I want to find. I think I'll even tint my gesso with a bit of fluorescent color because it infects the entire color system that goes on top with it because I'm using all oil. So it has this kind of...yeah, really like contagious in an unnatural way of kind of pushing around the the spectrum of the color on top of it. And I think that can be a really fun game. I think color is really a game that's really balancing and having these isolated marks of the tube and the pattern are really useful in kind of maintaining some type of like some kind of purity with the paint. But it's not it's not that it's not mixed in or, or, or that I don't mix the paints. It's that I kind of isolate the combinations and so it keeps the paint from moving into gray when using such a wide range. All paintings have all colors you could name. It's really about how one color lends itself to its neighbor and building off of that.

Craig: [00:24:31] But it sounds like something that's really important to you is like the luminosity of the color instead of a color getting getting dark or combinations going to mud, you know? It sounds like you're really...

Lauren: [00:24:45] But you need the mud to find the brightness. It's all about balance. I think that gray and kind of, you know, green gray, warm gray, grounds and and those colors are so integral to the whole. But, yes, I think that I like the color to be as competitive as the line work, as competitive as the the printing and the paint. You know, like the paint itself has to push forward as much as the other elements. If I think about the type of space and fun to trying to create in the painting.

Craig: [00:25:30] I feel like artists approach their work with different energies. Like someone that's making a mandala isn't bringing the same energy as someone who's an abstract expressionist, you know, like one's meditative and the other one has, like, a certain aggression. Where do you think you fall on that spectrum?

Lauren: [00:25:49] Hmm. I don't know. I think that, you know, honestly, I really love painting. And it is where I, more than anywhere else can locate any type of self esteem as in what I make. And so I really feel proud and and happy when I'm painting. I feel excited by them and I'm excited by the problems in them. So I think that when I call it dancing, I think less about the action and more about the attitude. And that's pretty optimistic maybe.

Craig: [00:26:26] You know, I look at your bio, very rarely do I see an artist bio that just crisscrosses the U.S. Quite the way you have. So you grew up in Atlanta and then you went to the Art Institute of Chicago somewhere in between there and Yale, you spent a summer at Skowhegan and then you wound up in LA, right?

Lauren: [00:26:48] There was a stint in New York, which is kind of. So I was sort Atlanta I was always craving a bigger city. And I started with Chicago and I spent a lot of time there. And then as soon as I graduated, I went to New York and, you know, like, I didn't have a working space. I was also coming off of four years of art school and kind of dealing with that. But then I got the chance to with the job I had to move to L.A. And when I got to L.A., it just immediately fit with me. And I found the community so much, so much faster in a studio. And I got so happy and I started making work again. And I got into in the same summer I got into Skowhegan and grad school. So I went to Skowhegan first and then Yale right after. And then when I graduated, I came back here to L.A..

Craig: [00:27:48] I think the reason I feel like it's unusual is because a lot of times those different art schools kind of have tribes where people will kind of gravitate together to, you know, one of those areas making it to the West Coast that that fast. You know, it seems like most folks coming out of Yale kind of gravitate to to New York. Did you did you have classmates that wound up?

Lauren: [00:28:12] Oh, yeah. Yeah, most of them did. And yeah, I think, you know, when you go to enough school, you never feel alone. In most cities, I feel like I have a network. But yeah, a lot of...I think that having that New York blend of grad school was really useful in that I'm I have a different angle towards how I think critically about the work then how I hear from my peers that have gone to UCLA. But I also think that and I know for sure every time I've moved back to L.A., my color in a larger sense just bursts open again. And I think that there is something a bit intangible about that, about that aspect.

Craig: [00:29:09] Interesting, because I was there was going to be my next question. What is it about LA that suits your vibe? Is it purely about the light? Because, I mean, a lot of artists talk about a lot of times in New York, you're always in the half light of one cavern or another. What is it about LA that that suits you?

Lauren: [00:29:27] You know, it's the most accessible place in which your time is still your own and people really prioritize balance in their life here. And I think that that's really useful for a painter. I think that it's a really hard, really, really hard undertaking to be an artist. And I try and make I try and streamline my life to make that that part as easy as possible. You know, I need to find sleep and I need to be social and I need the outdoors and I need the light and the air all in order to make paintings. And I love New York, and I don't think that I think it's a trap to compare them so much. I just think that it suits me.

Craig: [00:30:15] Is this where you're planning routes or do you think you'll there will be another stop? You know, are you going to wind up in London or Honolulu or...

Lauren: [00:30:26] Bye! Yeah, no, I think that it is. I think it really is. I mean, I like to be fairly central and and as as engaged as I can possibly be with my community. And and, you know, to and I think that there's a reason artists flock here because because it's possible to do that and still find space. So, yes, definitely. I'm looking for something more permanent as far as studios and living spaces down the line. Here.

Craig: [00:31:00] So you currently have a show up at Blum & Poe. Tell me about the title. The title of the show is. You know, I have to ask, right? Because the title is Pulse Train and Howl.

Lauren: [00:31:13] It's Pulse Train Howl. Yes. So the title, you know, it's not familiar as a term to people, but it really is kind of blanketing a few ideas that I put into the show. So to explain, a pulse train is a scientific term for tiny snaps of energy in the nervous system that create messages that create movement or thoughts. It's a very basic communication, so it's just it's very small, fundamental codes. And I thought about that in reference to the way that I'm both repeating the pattern underneath, the way that I'm repeating the lines and making them sort of oscillate and vibrate. And also, in a larger sense, the way that abstraction and communication go hand in hand. And so I was really interested in that word that is pretty expansive because it's not necessarily used in an art context. But the other thing is, when I was researching that, I found that there's another term which is called Pulse Train Howl, and it's a word for wolf packs communicating with each other over large distances by howling. So I was really interested in this. Okay, so it's a wave and it's kind of calling back in this way and that that was so evocative for me of this this kind of relationship I have to intuition and to the way that I gather symbols and shapes and kind of fold them into the repertoire of the painting.

Lauren: [00:33:04] So the pulse train howl is this if the pulse train is kind of your feet on the ground, the idea of pulse train howl for me was something closer to a subconscious and unconscious, a kind of a mysterious element to the paintings that I am still exploring. And then I also just liked the idea of imagining what pulse train would be as sounds like something imperative. It sounds like time to me. It sounds like time moving ahead of you. And so I also thought that in this context, it would have it would it would immediately lend itself towards the poetic, although, in fact, it is a real word, right? It is a real word. But I also. Yeah, I want it to be open. I don't I don't like things to be too prescriptive or and I don't want art speak either. And it's hard to name things. I'd rather unname them, but that was what I went with. Yeah.

Craig: [00:34:13] No, I mean, it's great that it works on so many different levels. Right. It's almost like you're you're calling out to the other folks in your pack that have a like minded esthetic. Right, you know, "Calling all color lovers. Come, come see my show".

Lauren: [00:34:30] Right, right. Well, I don't know if it totally works, because I don't think anybody has really understood what I meant. As soon as. As soon as they read it.

Craig: [00:34:38] Yeah, well, I had to ask. 

Lauren: [00:34:39] But they enjoyed to hear when I explain it. Oh.

Craig: [00:34:43] It's, it's, it's awesome and it's great that it, that it works on so many different levels. Right?

Lauren: [00:34:49] And I had an, I had another show named Vocal Fry and I also wanted Howl and Vocal Fry to be sort of, you know, I wanted Pulse Train Howl to be calling back to the Vocal Fry show, which was also a show of paintings and with a more understandable or just a more common phrase in LA, but, you know, had a similar type of goal with the titling of the show.

Craig: [00:35:20] So vocal fry that's that's where you you push to make a noise to the point that your vocal cords just don't comply. Is that right? Or... 

Lauren: [00:35:32] No. Vocal fry is. I probably listen back to this and feel like I have it myself. But, you know, vocal fry is a word that it's it's a tone of voice that is typical of like a valley girl. It's kind of like, oh, my God, it's when you get very low and your voice starts to creak. And it is it is a it is a tone. And I was interested in, you know, these paintings and abstract paintings having this tone and or what kind of I was interested in asking what kind of tone they would have. I was also interested in also coming up, coming off of grad school and thinking about my position as a woman making these and a woman in LA making these paintings. I was interested in sort of making fun of that and and using that to my advantage. That was one area sort of related to myself. It related to also this idea of something frying related to me the way that I would like the carving to be competitive, if that makes any sense. I think that if you see the the sort of oscillating values of the pattern underneath the carved line in an image because like I said, that I started carving wider. And what that did in the image, I started carving wider after the shutdown because people were only seeing my paintings on screens. And so in an image, the carved line, when you use enough of them, when you repeat this kind of drawing until it becomes more like space, the carved line makes more a pattern.

Lauren: [00:37:19] It's basically the screen can't take all the information. And so it does this really beautiful, flickering thing that is, you know, it's a it's more of a common printmaking term because, you know, if you screen print a certain way, you'll find this moiré pattern. But it also, you know, mimicking that frying is the way that the printmaking or the printmaking, the the contact printing, the litho ink, the way that it sits on on the canvas in certain areas, it looks like bursts of light looks like that kind of snapping that I was interested in. And then lastly, I keep finding these ideas where it sounds like a conspiracy. I'm sorry, but the last thing that I was really interested with that more I pattern with the frying the vocal fry is the more eye pattern itself is this sort of technical failure that alludes to iridescence. And iridescence is the sort of the space of not the space. Iridescence is the quality of light that I am most interested in, quality of light and color that I'm most interested in. And it's really one that's based on motion, you know, because it's a feather that's red on one side and green on the other, but it's moving so fast that it creates something that is a holy looking, you know, supernatural. And I think that working towards that in a static form is really part of the game.

Craig: [00:39:04] Great that you put that much thought into it or just allow yourself to. I mean, there's a certain point where even as a visual artist, you start kind of start thinking like a poet. Have you ever dabbled in poetry?

Lauren: [00:39:17] Dabbled, but I don't know how to measure them. I think that I am very inspired by poems and poetry. I think that maybe it sounds poetic, but it's true. I feel like in awe of color and light and the ability for those things to enact in in my daily life, even when I'm in isolation and the scope of what I can use is very small, I think there's just always something to find there.

Craig: [00:39:50] So the current show, Pulse Train Howl and of course I didn't have the emphasis right earlier because I didn't understand that, that the pulse train was one thing and the howl was another. I thought it was all I thought it was putting equal measures. But now I know it's Pulse Train Howl.

Lauren: [00:40:06] My musician friend, I was talking with him and I was like, I kept saying pulse train for like three weeks. I just kept saying it to people. And then he mentioned and I would explain it and then I would explain pulse train howl. And he he suggested that phonetically it sounds less like a thriller movie, you know, less like Die Hard: Pulse Train, right? And more like something in and of itself of its own, you know. Sure. So that was part of it.

Craig: [00:40:40] Yeah, I could see I can see the movie poster for The Pulse Train.

Lauren: [00:40:43] Right.

Craig: [00:40:44] And I could even I don't know. I mean, it actually, you know, Pulse Train how you I could imagine there being like a werewolf thriller on a runaway train.

Lauren: [00:40:54] It would love to see you illustrate that for me.

Craig: [00:40:59] Don't, don't, don't tempt me. I'll try to pull it off.

Lauren: [00:41:02] But it's funny whenever I ask my mom to to look at my painting and tell me what she thinks, she always analyzes it in this way. She says, "This is your bedroom window as a child, and these were your aspirations". And to sort of like really sculpt it out in this linear fashion.

Craig: [00:41:20] Well, I mean, but that's you know, that's part of the beauty of abstraction, right? 

Lauren: [00:41:25] Yeah, associating.

Craig: [00:41:27] Yeah, sure. I mean, I read this book I have I'm pulling it off my shelf. It's called "Reductionism in Art and Brain Science" by this Nobel Prize winning brain scientist named Eric Kandel. And in there, they did all this brain research about what's going on when our brain is looking at art. And one of the things they found was the more abstract, the less a piece makes sense, the more we have synapses firing all over our brain because our brain is trying to fit. Yeah. Our brains trying to fit these things into boxes. And if we can't figure out what box to put the image in, our brain just kind of goes into overdrive in terms of stimuli. And so, you know, it's I think it's natural that your mom looks at your work and starts trying to piece together.

Lauren: [00:42:22] Absolutely.

Craig: [00:42:23] And so so to her, they all look like Georgia

Lauren: [00:42:27] Right. They they all look like Georgia to her. No, I think I mean, I also think that the responsibility of the painting and of reading the painting and of making a painting, there's just no wrong way to look at an abstract painting as long as you're looking. I think that sometimes I notice. The the way that some people will kind of bristle or push back and say, "I don't know, I don't I'm not a part of this" And I always try and encourage the fact that it's you're not you would never do anything wrong by looking at this. Everything you see is within my control and everything you want to see is within my control as well. So I just think that there's a way of reading that sort of transcends typical academia. And it is inherent. It is kind of also intuitive. And that's also a viewing space for them, you know?

Craig: [00:43:27] Absolutely. So Pulse Train Howl is up at Blum & Poe in LA through the 25th. So we still have like another three weeks where people can go by and and see that work after that. What's on the horizon? Do you do you have anything big?

Lauren: [00:43:45] Oh, yeah, definitely. I'm I'm doing a show at the Pond Society in Shanghai, which is going to open in September. I think it's opening the day before my 30th birthday.

Craig: [00:43:58] Wow.

Lauren: [00:43:59] I know. I don't know if I'll be able to go, though, because.

Craig: [00:44:02] Shanghai is a little. Yeah, it's it's been a little bit of rough time in Shanghai lately, right?

Lauren: [00:44:08] Absolutely. And I'm I think I have so much. Tolerance to just to just. It's it's it will be what it will be. But it's...I'm making the work regardless. And so that's what I'm working on right now. I'm also doing an installation at the new ICA - San Francisco in the fall, I think around November. And then the third thing I'm doing is that I am doing a solo show at the Nerman Museum in Kansas and kind of tying a bow on all of that is that I'm making a book and the book will be about all of this work, about Pulse Train Howl onwards, really more like Vocal Fry onwards. And that's happening right now as I'm building out these shows because. You know, I really feel like this is one project and it's hard to to hem it in with each show in this way that each show has a thesis. I don't think I work like that. I think it's really one larger project. So the book, I'm really excited for. 

Craig: [00:45:19] Sure. That's one more byline we can add to your bio is author. And so how much writing will you contribute or is it is it really about compiling your visuals and inviting other people to to write essays? Or are you even far enough into the process to really have that figured out yet?

Lauren: [00:45:42] I think we're just going to do I think I'm going to do an interview and essay and just really the work itself. That's what I have so far. I don't I wasn't planning on writing something for it. I think the paintings will take most of the take up most of the book. So that's what I have. Yeah.

Craig: [00:46:04] Awesome. Well, Lauren, I can't say thank you enough for for taking time out of your afternoon to meet with me, to talk about your past and your present and your future, and talk about pulse trains and learn about vocal fries. I'm leaving knowing a little bit more than I did before. And so I really appreciate your time.

Speaker2: [00:46:28] Thank you so much.

Speaker1: [00:46:34] That's all the time we have for this week. You've been listening to artisans. You can find the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. If you've enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe. And while you're there, please rate the show and leave a quick review. Your feedback is the key to other folks finding us. And if you'd like to see images related to the conversation, read the transcript and find other bonus features. You can go to and click on the podcast tab. If you'd like to reach out to me, you can email me at Thanks for listening.

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