Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Laura Brown - Printmaker / Book Artist

Laura Brown

SpotArt Gallery Featured Interview
~Laura Brown is exhibiting at SpotArt from 11/19/10 - 12/15/10~

Laura Brown

Laura Brown is a printmaker and book artist in Northeast Minneapolis. Interested in the relationships between space, place, and the people in them, she has created a visual language of landscape and architecture to address her questions of place, culture and environment.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I just finished a residency at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, where I made my first artist’s book. It was much more intense than making prints, and it sort of took over my life for several months. Since then, I’ve had some more ideas that I have wanted to get out a little more quickly, so my newest little set of prints are some monoprints printed from woodblocks. They are a lot more simple than most of my work, but I wanted to get back to the things I like about making prints: the ink, the grain of the wood, the colors, the forms. It has been good to experiment with that a little more, and to put out ideas that might not be complete or perfect, but are out in the world.

Why did you become an artist?
I have never wanted to do anything else, really. Art was always my favorite subject in school, and when I went to college, my mom strongly encouraged me to pursue it. I have never regretted it.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
In one of my first days of drawing classes at college, my professor, Ken Steinbach said, “everything I’ve gotten in my art career, I’ve gotten from working hard.” Of course, as a little, very nervous college freshman, this was the best news. I was probably doubting my talent at that moment, but I knew I could work hard, so I thought, “that’s what I’ll do then.” It’s been true.

Recently (or not so recently? Maybe last winter?), someone on twitter was referring to criticism with the reaction of “put your head down, get back to work.” That phrase has been really helpful to me as I have been applying to all kinds of opportunities in the last year. I think if you are going to succeed as an artist, you have to have a really thick skin, and you can’t let rejection get to you—because you will get rejected a LOT. But eventually, you’ll start getting accepted for things and build momentum. So, that wasn’t particularly advice, maybe just a phrase I co-opted to apply to my situation. But it helps!

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
I share a studio with two other artists, Devon Driscoll , who is a jeweler, and Mel Benkert, a sculptor. We share a space in what is probably the smallest and least assuming building in Northeast. It’s a pretty raw space, but it is big and has a lot of light, which make me happy.

My process is pretty internal, I would say. I don’t plan or sketch a lot, although I feel like I am supposed to. I let things simmer in my mind for a long time, and I take a lot of photos with my little digital camera when I see something inspiring, and then when I have a pretty good idea of what I want to make, I just go for it with the printmaking materials. To get my compositions and forms down, I will cut shapes out of newsprint or brown paper, trace them onto my wood blocks or metal plates, and then let the process take over. Printmaking is a long process and each printmaker exerts a varying amount of control over the medium. I like to let the process surprise me a lot, and my prints often turn out different than I think they will, but it’s usually a really good thing—they are usually better or more interesting than I could have planned.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
Josie Lewis and
Caroline Kent are two friends whose work I really admire.
I love Nadine Grosspolaroids and
Laura Hallen’s plexiboxes

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
We would probably hit the usual spots—the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, if we go tomorrow, we would go see the Alec Soth show at the Walker Art Center, we might stop in at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, I might take you to see Bridget and Amanda at Cave Paper. I always like a good trip to the Franconia Sculpture Park. We might also just ride the light rail, or maybe the North Star train to see some interesting industrial parts of town or some fields and farms. Getting out of my rut and routine doesn’t happen very often, but it’s always good to see something new.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
I have been hiding from the internet lately, working toward some deadlines, and I feel like arty Facebook events are always popping up in my inbox. www.mplsart.com has a great calendar of events, I usually find something good on there. I like to keep an eye on what’s going on at Umber Studios, and I Like You.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future? (November 2010)
My work will be on display at SpotArt for the next month, and the book I made this summer was just purchased by the Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections, which is pretty exciting. I hesitate to verbalize my plans for applying to grad school, but that’s my main focus right now. Once those deadlines are past, I’m working on getting some non-printmakers to collaborate with me for some projects, and I’m thinking about how to get more young artists connected to people who are interested in collecting work and supporting local artists.

1 comment:

Michael McGraw - www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com said...

I like the vertical image. It looks like an ipod nano on a cliff's edge.