Courtesy of Neil Collins

Everything is amazing: an interview with Lauren Baker

A passionate traveller, animal lover and ambassador for Save Wild Tigers, Lauren Baker is a British multidisciplinary contemporary artist based in London. With collaborations with the V&A, Tate, Tate Modern, Jimmy Choo and Vogue to name a few, Lauren’s works are excitingly mixing up a wide range of media from glass piece mosaics to neon installations and skull incrusting.

Tell us a bit more about your journey into the art scene. With no prior art studies, you mentioned having an artistic epiphany whist being in the Peruvian Amazon?

It’s true I didn’t go to art school. When I spent time with shamans in the Peruvian amazon I connected with nature. I sat in the jungle and had an epiphany that I should become an artist. Since then I’ve been on an incredible creative journey. Inspired by this adventure in the jungle, I sometimes paint in deep turquoise mixed with vibrant colours and patterns.

Take us through your work process – how do you develop your works?

Sometimes I wake up and quickly scribble down the imagery from my dreams and then work out how to make the essence of that dream into a reality. Other times I have a specific message I’m trying to convey, for instance, with the theme of extinction. When creating my hand-painted and embellished skulls, I consider the sculptural form first before tuning into the frequency that I want to explore with that piece. I’m hugely inspired by nature and my surroundings. The art is an expression of my thoughts and feelings. Art makes me feel connected to something larger than myself, something mysterious and powerful.

I’m hugely inspired by nature and my surroundings. The art is an expression of my thoughts and feelings.

What is your workspace like?

I have a railway arch studio at Hackney Downs Studios. It’s got white exposed brick work and I put a mezzanine in to create more space. I use a lot of different materials and there are a lot of random things in there, like prosthetic limbs, skull moulds and the treasures I gather when I’m abroad. Most of my work is sculptural, but even in my abstract paintings I use around twenty different materials on the canvas. I need a fair amount of space to create.

What influenced your choosing in materials in your abstract pieces?

The shards of broken glass and the burnt out matches, for instance, may represent times of struggle – yet they are presented with fluidity, movement, repetition and balance. As in life, whether we experience pleasure or pain – accepting the flow of both is imperative.

Your work gathers a wide range of materials – from glass and acrylic to crystal encrusting, metal work and neon light tubes. What quality in working with mixed media do you find interesting?
Many of the new works in Transition were conceptualized in a dream-like vision, it is heartfelt. I have harnessed these feelings and strived through these pieces to express them in the ethereal aesthetic of the new creations. Our Journey in the Dream contains approximately 21,000 slithers of metal and wood individually placed, which calls for a lot of patience, and attention to detail. For The Remains of the Beginning, consisting of various degrees of burnt matches, thousands of holes were pre-drilled so that every match was seamlessly positioned. Such works, represents memories and the story of a life. I find textures, shapes and forms more expressive than 2D.

Do you find there is a certain aesthetic preferred by the audience? What do you think makes your work stand out?

People tend to love skulls.

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Whilst working as an artist you are also an ambassador for Save Wild Tigers. Tell us about your involvement?

I have been working with SWT for 3 years now. I have created artworks, curated exhibitions and given speeches for the charity initiative.
My artworks have raised over £50k for the charity. It was an incredible experience to speak about tigers at the gala dinner in Malaysia, addressing an audience of 650 people including the Sultana of Malaysia. There are just 3000 wild tigers remaining and we have a lot of work to do to reverse their imminent extinction. Check out http://www.savewildtigers.org to get involved.

How was it to work with Jimmy Choo?

He’s a legend! We worked together supporting the Save Wild Tigers charity. He is a big fan of his home country of Malaysia and it is admirable that he finds time to help save wild tigers. The number of tigers in Malaysia is dwindling at an alarming rate.

With collaborations with Vogue, Jimmy Choo and exhibitions at the V&A and Tate to name a few – what’s next?

I’m working on a solo show with Rise Gallery in October. I have various group shows, such as Contemporary Vanitas curated by Lee Sharock of Saatchi, at Lights of Soho gallery in May. I’m also showing at Clerkenwell Design Week in May and hosting an installation called Awaken the alchemist within.

 

Lauren Baker’s work also features in the sixth issue of our magazine, ‘Roots’

More can also be found on her website.

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