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Meet Lauren Stevens

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

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve been excited about art for as long as I can remember, mostly because both of my parents are either musically or artistically talented, but I really started thinking I could be good at art when I was about 11. I’ve never had a period in my life where I wasn’t doing something involving art, music, dance, cooking, etc. because the art world is what makes me grounded and less stressed.

For the last 3 years, I’ve been working full time at a non-profit teaching arts-based classes to kids and older adults in affordable housing. Having art in my life every day not only as a passion but as a career has been a new phenomenon for me, and at first I thought I may burn out painting and drawing every day. Instead, it had opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on art. I’ve always been such a perfectionist, wanting every detail of the piece to look just like the photo or nature that inspired it. Having seen so many varying levels of skill and style of art making my students feel accomplished, I’ve begun to shed that perfection skin and view art as something I can do for myself. That has been my biggest turning point in my art life, choosing to create for my happiness, and then sharing it with people once I’m happy with it, not once it’s “perfect.”

Please tell us about your art.
I have always had a fascination with realism and the classical painters. I always loved working with acrylics and oils because of their ability to hold texture and create beautiful art. I also tend to consider myself a bit of a “Renaissance woman” however, I don’t like to stick to only one artistic outlet. Although painting in acrylic and recently more watercolors is my bread-and-butter, I absolutely love working with my hands to build things. Pottery, wood-working, crafting all give me an objective that needs to be solved or finished. I’m drawn to these styles of artwork because they have more of a definite ending to them; there’s a form inside the material waiting to come out.

My newest passion has been calligraphy and hand-lettering. Most of what I show to the outside world is my calligraphy, because usually I’m more reserved about my paintings. Showing them off means leaving open the chance for criticism, which I’ve never been a big fan of (but who is!) The inspiration behind my work tends to be catharsis. I paint because it gives me a different level of focus I don’t find with most other work. I can get down to business and paint until the piece is complete, I don’t have to think or make decisions, I just create. That’s where I truly thrive.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Finances are constantly on the back of most creatives’ minds, and I am no different. I would love to say “Just quit your job and dedicate everything to your art because it will definitely work out,” but of course that’s not always true. I think everyone’s path is different, and for me I find time for creating during the classes I teach as well as all my other free time.

I really think financial burdens are something our community of artists needs to un-focus on as much as we can allow ourselves, because if you’re creating purely for money, it’s likely the money won’t be flowing. Art is one of the few professions that you have to truly focus on the creative reasons for your job instead of focusing too hard on moving up in the world.

I think my main advice would be something my dad always said to me growing up, in reference to future careers, art, etc. He always said “find what you love to do, do it well, and the money will come.”

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I don’t have any exhibitions coming up, but people can check out my art and calligraphy on my Instagram: @lettered_by_lauren, and can purchase my cards and custom chalkboards on my Etsy, also called Lettered by Lauren.

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