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Meet Lauren Kai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Kai.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in Maryland in a small town called Ellicott City. As a child, I always gravitated towards art and the creative side of things.. for a while, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Once I got in high school, my passions changed and I decided I was interested in fashion and design. My dad loved cameras so my junior year of high school I started experimenting with photography… I would take photos of my self, friends, and family just as a hobby.

I moved to Los Angeles after I graduated high school and went to college to study fashion design for two years. In my time spent in school, I came to the realization that design wasn’t where my heart was, so I took a break from school. In my break, I delved more into photography and started test shooting with modeling agencies… I fell in love with the visual aspect of fashion.

It has now been 3/4 years that I’ve been taking photography seriously. It has allowed me to learn so much about myself and connect with others on a more personal level.

Please tell us about your art.
At the moment, I identify as a photographer. However, I like to dabble into a little bit of everything from creative/art direction, directing, and styling. My art consists of photography and short film… I love creating bodies of work that are very subtle and simple but provoke a feeling. My inspiration comes from my life experience and what’s around me. Of course, I also get inspired by other photographers and artists such as Gordon Parks, Peter Lindbergh, Andy Warhol, Jamel Shabazz, Richard Avedon, Sally Mann, Dorothea Lange, & Mario Sorrenti.

I feel the purpose of my art is to combine the world of reality and fashion into one. I want those who look at my art to take something away from it and see themselves through what I create. In my opinion, art has no meaning if: 1. it doesn’t make you feel something and 2. you cannot relate to it.

My artwork is a reflection of my life experience and the beauty I see within others.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My work can be viewed on Tumblr or my website. My Tumblr (laurenkaiphotos.tumblr.com) has work from when I first started taking photography serious up until now and my website (laurenkai.com) is always being updated with my latest features, test shoots, clients, etc.

I had my first solo show in September last year for a fashion film I directed called ‘Cut From the Same Cloth’. This particular piece was meant to give model’s, specifically those of color a voice to express the difficulties faced with agencies and the lack of representation in the fashion industry through an abstract fashion film that includes two women embracing their beauty as one. I talk more about the process of creating this very special piece here: (http://livefastmag.com/2018/09/lauren-kais-short-film-cut-from-the-same-cloth-is-an-exuberant-reminder-that-representation-matters/).

I also have my first photo book, ‘La Force de La Beaute’ for sale through Blurb books (http://www.blurb.com/b/8850512-force-de-la-beaute) it has some of my favorites i’ve created from 16′-18′.

As far as keeping up with what I have planned for the future, Instagram is where I post most of my updates of what I have up and coming. (@l.kq)

What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I think there are a lot of artists who are all working towards the same goal which can make it kind of difficult to filter out those who have very honorable work. Everything has it’s pros and cons… I believe it has become easier for artists to showcase who they are and their art; however, the struggle of being an artist and monetary success is still a battle the modern artist has to fight.

I am very happy to see the progressiveness in the industry and even my generation when it comes to expressing ourselves. I think cities like Los Angeles should create spaces for artists to get together and connect with other like-minded artists. I feel the culture of LA has always been ‘every man for himself’ but I think with a community where artists can show up and be who they are would allow for creatives to progress much quicker.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Image of myself taken by Mariah Mckenzie / Sade Harris

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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