I'm a full time visual artist working in an eclectic range of mediums. Aside from my career as an illustrator/graphic artist I also create unique mixed media works which I exhibit regularly.
When was your first realization that ART was a big part of your life?
As a child... my father was my 1st teacher when I was young and I was immediately hooked! By the time I was in 7th grade I knew this was the path for me.
What are your mediums and themes?
I really enjoy experimenting with a variety of mediums, including oils, watercolor, pen & ink, collage, photography and Photoshop. My favorite subjects are nature, mythology, travel, spirituality and gothic-oriented works. For my commissioned freelance work I illustrate for children's books, greeting card & craft companies, book and CD covers, promotional materials, etc. and have my own lines of cards & t-shirts.
Do you have music playing while creating art?
Sometimes I work in silence, other times ethereal music like Dead Can Dance or Massive Attack, and sometimes I have the TV on in another room as "background noise". Just depends on my mood.
In what ways do you find inspiration for creating?
Going out into nature is a huge help. Reading an interesting book or seeing a creative movie also inspire as does going to art shows and galleries and looking at the work others are doing. Travel is a huge inspiration as well!
Do you have other activities besides art making?
Read, watch movies, go out with friends to see live music, take interesting day trips to surrounding areas, walk outside in nice weather.
Do you have a current focus?
Currently my main focus is a series of digital photo collages called "X-RAYted", which incorporates photographs I shoot from actual x-rays collaged with other elements.
Do you have a best artwork?
I think a couple of my larger goddess oil paintings and the new x-ray pieces are my best work because they express my spirituality in unique, thought-provoking ways.
What role do artists have in our society?
Creator, inspiration, commentary, historian, conversation-starter, activist... art infiltrates so many aspects of our lives.. more than most people realize!
Have you sold many of your artworks?
I've lost count, lol. Not that I've sold thousands but I've been an artist for many years; I sell some originals as well as a lot of photography prints, illustrations, greeting cards, t-shirts, etc. which I consider art as it's all my work. Being that my background is in sales and marketing I know the value of promoting and being active in positive ways on social networking sites. I also do a lot of art events each year and have an art e-newsletter & blog.
Do you have any favorite methods of promoting art online?
Facebook has worked out well for me. I also enjoy doing my newsletter via Mailchimp to make it look professional and be able to track the results.
What are the influences for your ART?
Ancient art from the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Celtic periods have been a huge influence as well as modern, alternative movements like "lowbrow" and "steampunk".
Do you have a contemporary artist to recommend and tell us about?
Joel Peter Witkin has influenced me since college. His fantastical, disturbing photographic images comment on the often darker side of the human subconscious and he uses an interesting mix of subjects and settings.
Edward Gorey, although he passed away several years ago, is one of the biggest illustrative influences in my career! I collect his books and even had the chance to speak with him on the phone a couple of years before he died. His odd, Victorian style still lives on.
Please tell us an interesting story from your life.
Last year someone emailed me on Facebook asking if I wanted to be on TV! They wanted to feature my X-RAYted series and my 18+ inch-long, REAL fingernails! (that's another story in itself). I thought it was a scam but when I researched it, it was legit and I ended up on an episode of the Science Channel's TV show ODDITIES and the episode is still re-running today! I ended up selling a few of the digital collages to collectors in Maine, NY and the Netherlands!
Where do you see your career as an artist in 10 years from this date?
Still working my butt off doing events and shows each month but with more, permanent gallery representation and earning enough to fully support myself and travel more (with newer camera equipment!)
Advice for emerging artists
KEEP AT IT! And do not fear or snub the importance of promotion and networking. Also, be true to your own style but do not view doing commissioned freelance work as "selling out"...if you can make money from your art, then go for it and you can always create works for yourself as well!
Lauren Curtis - Artist gets X-RAYted
Website: Lauren Curtis Art