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Meet Lorraine Bubar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lorraine Bubar.

Lorraine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in Los Angeles and received my B.A. from UCLA. I studied animation at UCLA and Yale University, and my short independent films won awards at animation festivals around the world.

I worked for many years in the animation industry, animating television commercials and special effects for feature films. During that time, I exhibited watercolor paintings in numerous art exhibitions. These narrative paintings always included my animation sensibilities: the passage of time, movement, and metamorphosis.

I was the featured artist for a calendar published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and recently illustrated a children’s book, Lullaby, by the late singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman in my watercolor technique. For years I taught animation at Santa Monica Community College, got a Masters in Art Education and a Teaching Credential at CSULA, and then taught studio arts to middle and high school students.

I am now devoting myself to my own art full time and find myself incorporating all of my passions, vast knowledge about art materials, and knowledge from examining art at so many art institutions in so many locations. My love of hiking and beautiful places and traveling the world has also influenced me greatly and led to be the Artist-in-Residence at Denali National Park and Zion National Park.

I am a painter, but I currently cut all of my work out of paper. My painterly papercuts, created from layers of colored papers, cut by hand with an x-acto knife, reflect the heritage of papercutting and capture the diverse ecosystems where I have traveled.

While traveling the world, I realized that in numerous cultures artisans create varied forms of papercuts. From Mexico to Japan and China, to my own cultural heritage in Eastern Europe, there is some form of papercutting, with uses that vary from decorating for holidays, creating calendars, to recording family trees.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have been very fortunate that my road has not been too rough. Life always has its ups and downs and conflicts. There is always the challenge of finding the balance between work, family, and relationships. I worked hard in many art-related fields because I was fairly confident that I would not be able to support myself by my fine artwork.

There were also challenges being a woman in male-dominated fields, both when I worked in the animation industry and in the art world. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I fit into the art world, which is always evolving, but now I am very happy doing the art that is most authentic to who I am. The way that I am currently working is being true to myself and incorporates all of my interests.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
My painterly papercuts are very unique. They are created from layers of colored papers, hand cut with an x-acto knife, and have to be seen in person to appreciate the detail, depth, and texture. They reflect the heritage of papercutting that is found in so many diverse cultures, including Mexico, Japan, China, and my own cultural heritage in Eastern Europe.

My recent work incorporates the contrasts that are often apparent in working with paper. The contrasts include working in a medium that has an old heritage but doing it in a more contemporary way and working with a material, paper, that appears fragile but is actually very strong. It is important to me to make a statement through my imagery.

Many of my papercuts illustrate the hierarchy of flora and fauna found in fragile ecosystems around the world, including their predators and prey. Many of these places are threatened either by climate change or political change. My urban compositions highlight the hierarchies that exist in cities, contrasting the beauty of the place and the reality of how some people are forced to live.

“In Route” refers to the movement in all of these pieces. There are species that are moving to follow their natural migratory routes, the monarchs, and the arctic terns, and people who are on the move to find new homes for political and economic reasons or to explore new places. I find myself “in route” as I follow my personal vision in my art, allowing it to evolve.

Cutting with an x-acto knife, I continue to create images composed of layers of paper and layers of meaning.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I am happy with the life I have led up to this point, including the places I have traveled to, the trails I have hiked, the family I have raised, the friends I have made, and the books I have read.

I think we spend too much time when we are younger worrying about what other people think and let ourselves get influenced by them. The world is a different place than when I grew up. I still believe that people need to get into the outdoors and keep moving, which also means spending less time on their computers.

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