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Meet Lara Lee Meintjes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lara Lee Meintjes.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lara Lee. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started painting after moving to the US from South Africa with my husband and daughter in late 2010. Initially, I focused on illustration work, building up a client base for portraits and wedding invitations and the like featuring anthropomorphic animal/human watercolors. The watercolor work led to some interesting editorial work and allowed me to express my voice as both a writer and a painter. In late 2015, I started painting big, bright, floral pieces and that is when my work as an artist really started to build – I have shown work in all kinds of places from coffee shops to museums (shout out to the Museum of Latin American Art – both a great local resource and a fantastic collection!) and had the opportunity to collaborate with some great brands, most recently Urban Outfitters.

Growing a business seems to involve periods in which business is really slow and then sudden frantic periods in which things are just rolling and I am trying to ride, rather than get crushed under the wave. These frantic periods really push my work forward in interesting ways so I wouldn’t give them up for all the pasta on the planet. The support of the community in Long Beach has also pushed my business to ever-greater heights and I really value the love and support that locals have offered throughout my journey so far.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have frequently found that the hurdles along the way offer new direction and chances for growth in the long run. A few years ago I was approached by the owner of a local boutique who was expanding her business to open stores in other cities, she asked if I would allow her to use my art in her stores. In return, she promised to buy a few of the pieces and then offer others for sale, I gave her enough pieces to decorate two stores and she never paid me for anything. When she opened her fourth store she had the audacity to approach me for more work – ha! I had recently written off all of the stock she was carrying and had let it go and moved on to new things so I just politely declined — reminding her that she hadn’t paid me at the same time. A week or two later a client saw my work in one of her stores and commissioned a painting, he ended up referring a couple more clients over time and I got to create new work out of it, work that people love, work that has been given a space in someone’s home – that is a gift.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a painter, my work is a reflection of myself – I am sure there are others out there doing work that is similar or related, but there is only one me. I create all of my paintings myself, my husband – who specializes in art photography – then photographs them for reproduction and licensing purposes. I sell originals on Saatchi and Chairish and through various galleries around the world, and I sell licensed reproductions through Society6.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Art is always changing, I am fascinated by the burgeoning online marketplace and interested to see how this may affect the rather inaccessible world of museums and the like in the long run.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jason Meintjes

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