Today's Artist Interview is with Lauren Minco. You may notice her artwork explodes with color and a crazy cast of characters! In addition, Lauren's love for illustration is so strong that she started teaching the subject at various colleges in 2007. You can see her this year at Surtex, booth 252.
Name: Lauren Minco
Location: Nashville, TN
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I like to say I'm an Artist/ Illustrator. I create a lot of personal work for galleries and also collaborate with Art Directors on illustrations for magazines, book covers, and other projects like album art. Currently I freelance from home with my fiancé and our lab-mix close by.
What are your influences?
At a young age I was very inspired by old Japanese wood block prints and various contemporary Japanese artists like Yoshitaka Amano. Comics, street art, and animation are definite influences, and at one time I even wanted to be a comic book artist! I also like a lot of organic, expressive artists such as Egon Schiele. In recent years vintage illustration and folk art have really taken a hold of me, and I try to combine all of these things to hopefully create something unique and interesting.
Are there any markets you are especially interested in?
My background is more editorial and publishing, but in recent years I have realized how appropriate my characters could be for products like bolt fabric, wall art, and children's items.
Are you self-taught, or did you have any formal training?
I earned my BFA in Illustration from The Rhode Island School of Design. Since then I have stayed sharp with various online courses and community classes offered through local art colleges.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
They always say you should make a living out of your passion, and art just happens to be my passion. It's great to create something that not just makes you happy, but makes everyone ELSE happy. It's a wonderful feeling to hear how others connect positively to something you have made. As a freelancer, there are the obvious benefits: working from home in comfy pajama pant attire, flexible schedule for family time and travel...and a dog that is my studio mate (if only I could train her to make me coffee!).
What is your biggest struggle with your artwork, and how do you deal with it?I can get quickly overwhelmed when I start to see other artists out there in the world- I start to doubt myself! Luckily, my brother is an artist, too, so since I was a child I felt like I had the courage to not compare myself too much to others and remember that we all have our own unique strengths.
What advice do you have for people interested in making a career out of art and design?
Focus on the art that you are the most passionate about making, and THEN try to identify what market(s) you should aim for. Too many times people have it backwards. One of the other things I tell my students is that it takes time. Time to learn your craft. Time to promote yourself and get people's attention. Be patient with yourself and your goals. Listen to your teachers or peers who have good advice (even if it makes you flinch). Have a thick skin. Surround yourself with other positive artists who you can vent to when times are tough and celebrate with when the good times roll!
What are your future goals?
I am working on new art and patterns to debut at Surtex 2014 (booth 252). I would love to license my work for things like home decor and the gift industry. I have noticed that my work makes people smile, so it feels like a natural fit.
Tell us something special or unusual about yourself!
I'm a big Star Trek fan!