An Interview with Artist Lauren E. Anthony
I’ve always loved looking at paintings and wondering what was going on in the artist’s mind. What kind of message they wanted to convey. Sometimes it’s simple. A park, some trees, lovely day. But when you get into abstract art, it gets a little trickier. It’s definitely an acquired taste. I personally enjoy the room for interpretation. It gives the viewer a small sense of participation in the beauty. I feel like I connect more with something that takes some time to interpret. This week I had the opportunity to talk to local artist Lauren E. Anthony, who specializes in abstract styles.
JH: So tell me a little bit about your background.
LA: I’m from Denver, born and raised. Went to Catholic school, then Wheat Ridge High.
JH: Did you discover art through school or through family, or just naturally?
LA: I actually never took any art classes until my senior year in high school. I was always drawing, painting, but I never took it seriously. I kind of just used it as an escape. But once more people started noticing my doodles and, honestly Ralph Steadman was a huge push to get more into art and start studying it. Then of course Dali and da Vinci. I went to Greece and Italy and seeing all that made me feel really small next to these gods, you know?
JH: So, you’re mostly self-taught?
LA: I took two semesters of painting in high school and one drawing class in college and as far as professional teaching, that’s the extent.
JH: Is anyone else in your family artistic?
LA: Yeah actually my dad is an artist. He’s a perfectionist and into realism. Very different from what I do. I grew up with twenty-two first cousins and some of them are artists too. I have a cousin who’s a thespian, loves to perform. Another one is a photographer. Very creative family.
JH: How would you describe your overall style?
LA: Definitely abstract. It’s all pretty emotional. It’s a relief to be able to take a canvas and make a mess and get everything out. It’s like how some people find comfort in keeping a journal. It’s cathartic.
JH: Tell me about your typical work space.
LA: It’s whatever I have available. My bedroom is always half art studio. Very messy. I mean you can tell by my art. Lots of splatter. You can see some paint splatter out on my balcony and that was me putting sheets down and actually trying to keep it contained. No matter what it’s always a mess. I can paint pretty much anywhere though. I love painting outside in parks or by rivers. Anytime I’m inside, I hate to see bare walls. It has to have decoration. It has to be colorful. Any room that I have is covered with tapestries and friend’s art.
JH: Do you start a painting with an idea of what you want to make or just let it form as you go?
LA: 95% of the time I just go with it. That’s how I learned, just working on it and if one starts to look weird I just add things and make it go a new direction. Obviously, commission works have to be planned out. Or if I’m doing a realistic painting then I definitely go in with an idea. But a lot of my work is abstract. I really like hearing what other people see in my paintings. I never tell people what I see in them.
JH: Do you dabble in any other kinds of art?
LA: Yeah I do photography, drawing, I write poetry. I’ve done a few readings down at the Mercury. I want to start doing some illustrations for a book of my poems. I’m also getting into some cartooning and comic book illustrations.
JH: What kind of contemporary art and artists are you into?
LA: A lot of abstract. Ralph Steadman is definitely my favorite. He did the art for Fear and Loathing. He was a master painter too. He painted really bad ass realistic stuff before he met Thompson. My dad used to work at Morton’s Steakhouse and one night he called me and said, ‘Guess who’s here, Ralph Steadman’ and I was like 19 or 20 and I remember begging him to let me come down and meet him but he was just trying to eat dinner. So, I was bummed but the next day Steadman personally came back and brought me a signed print that says “From one Disneyland to another, for Lauren love Ralph Steadman.” Also honestly I love local artists like Tony Khoel, he does a lot album covers for metal bands. Tim Burton definitely. Anything dark and creepy. I like promiscuous stuff too. I love Georgia O’Keeffe. She didn’t get enough credit but now people see she was radical. I also really like musicians who make creative music videos like CocoRosie. One of them went to school for hip hop and one went to school for opera and they just combined the two for a crazy style. And to me that’s art. It’s not painting or drawing, but it’s still creating something. And of course Dali, you know, everyone loves him.
JH: How could you not love a guy with an infinity mustache walking his pet anteater?
LA: A lot of his sketchbooks weren’t released until years after his death because they had a lot of drawings that were taboo for the time; orgies and homosexuality. But sometimes art and paintings aren’t just about pleasing you, or being pleasing to the eye. Some artists want you to look at their work and feel a certain way. They want you to feel angry or scared or confused or uncomfortable. When they can project that to the viewer I think that’s really cool.
Lauren has a TON of awesome art. Her style is super unique, beautiful, and definitely interesting. She uses a number of different mediums to create varying textures, intricate lines, and abstract designs. Be sure to keep an eye out for more from this talented artist in the future.