Sydney artist Lauren Webster brings a colourful and unexpected installation to public art space Lane Four, transporting a surreal desert landscape to the heart of the city with The Wayward Way.
Kicking off Lane Four’s first artist residency for 2015, Webster didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to take over the laneway space within CBD retail destination, The Galeries. Through a series of painted
and hand drawn works in her signature stylistic and expressive renderings; Webster presents a romanticised Western dreamscape – complete with larger-than-life cacti and retro neon signage. This pop-coloured hallucinatory interpretation of the Wild West is a continuation of Webster’s ongoing fascination with Americana iconography, in particular the signage and desert scenery synonymous with Route 66.
“These themes are something that have influenced me in some shape or form since I was a kid. I still have the first little cactus I drew on a scrap of butchers paper. I’m really excited to see that little guy super sized and hanging in The Galeries” says Webster.
Webster specialises in painting and drawing and has gained a cult following for her bold and spirited graphics. Her artistic collaborations include projects with menswear label Mister Mister, retail store Courtesy of The Artist, FBi Radio, Tanto Bikes, Qantas Magazine and The Australian Financial Review’s Luxury Magazine.
I was lucky enough to chat this super talented Artist and woman about what it's like being Lauren Webster the Artist and where she draws her inspiration and creativity from… keep reading for the details on Lauren's current exhibition.
Tell us about Lauren Webster the artist – what inspired you to become an artist and how did you come to develop your personal style?
I wasn’t necessarily inspired by something specific nor do I feel like I really even decided to become an artist… I just did! I suppose it was just on the cards. Each step I have taken from my teenage years has steered me in this direction and here I find myself today still painting and drawing and doing the things I did back then. Maybe it was blinding stubbornness or potentially just a cheeky desire to do what I love every day, but either way it never really occurred to me to do anything else.
I guess my personal style is just innate. Of course I’m influenced by all kinds of things so there are always going to be shifts in themes and imagery, but as far as how my work looks, that’s kind of just my language. I think it’s more fun to go with what you like and what comes naturally, so that’s what I do!
How would you describe your work?
Ahh that’s a tough one people ask me all the time… and suddenly I’ll get super awkward and articulate like a 5 year old – ha! I’ll try spare you that experience and just blurt out a few things. I’d say: graphic; flat colour; continuous line; playful with darker undertones; and generally with some kind of retro influence.
What processes are involved in the creation of your pieces?
Most of my work starts with a scribble in my sketchbook. It’s a bit of a “Let me just check if what I see in my head works on paper” kind-of-thing. It will usually translate straight from there.
One thing that’s constant is that most of my processes are really hands on. I’m used to working in a pretty lo-fi kind of manner without too much technology; although I’m trying to shake this up a little…
What is the biggest challenge in your career as an artist?
Time! Someone asked recently if I ever find it hard to think of things to draw, paint and create. It’s the complete opposite. My trouble is that the hours don't exist to make everything that’s dancing around it my head. That’s not such a bad problem to have though.
Where did your love of Cacti come from?
Well for starters cacti are just kind of rad! I think we can all agree on that. I have a growing cactus/succulent jungle at home which is slowly becoming my pride and joy… As far as my art, the cactus first showed it's pretty little face in my 2014 solo exhibition THIRD. EYE. WESTERN. The whole show was inspired by the American West and the cacti was a fitting member of that family. It must have been the middle child though because it’s still jumping up and down for attention nearly a year later…
You have collaborated with many renowned Australian brands, tell us about them?
I love collaborating! It’s so awesome to be able to share skills and expertise to create something you wouldn't have on your own. It pushes your boundaries and is really just a cool way to share your art through a different medium and also reach new audiences.
I’ve been lucky to work on a bunch of fun projects including collaborating with jewellery designers, I did an art series bike that I covered in bones and skulls and I’ve worked with magazines creating artwork for photo shoots. I also have a handful of new collabs up my sleeve for this year which I’m really excited about. I’m currently working with a fashion label, a surfboard brand, a candle company and a skateboard brand. They're all really cool people with great products so I’m chuffed to be on board with them.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
I’m just really happy to be working with people and brands that are aligned with the kind of lifestyle I like to lead. Chill and playful. Pretty things for the home, cool things to wear and fun toys to play with. I’ve always been into album art and that’s one thing I haven’t done… I’d love do a cover for one of my favourite bands.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
All over! Some major inspirations for me are vintage t-shirt graphics, music, retro signage and typography, classic flash tattoos and photography. I could go on…
What designers, artists or bloggers are you loving at the moment?
I love the retro throwbacks of Aussie fashion designer Emma Mulholland. Seriously fun and too cool for school!
I could give you a lengthy list of artists that I’m vibing but I’ll stick to the first three that come to mind; Kasper Raglas, James Ettelson and Fred Fowler. Another bunch of Australian creatives, these guys are all producing really beautiful work that I want on my walls!
See Lauren's latest Exhibition at Lane Four - Lane Four is an ongoing project which aims to promote and support cutting edge artists connecting with The Galeries’ customers through a mutual appreciation for creative expression.
WHAT: THE WAYWARD WAY by Lauren Webster
WHERE: Lane Four at The Galeries, 500 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
WHEN: Running from February 2015
THE DETAILS: Take a walk along “The Wayward Way” and be transported to the Wild West by Webster’s pop-coloured hallucinations of cacti and neon Americana signage. Paint on Plywood.