We discovered Activate last year and decided to go to one of their events. Right at the entry there was a large beautiful paste-up of a girl. The simple yet perfectly balanced image was collaged using photographs of some of our favorite things, flowers. After asking around we found out that the piece was created by artist Laura English. Speaking with Laura we were immediately drawn to her sweet personality that just happens to translate directly into her work. All of her soft, feminine pieces are intricately configured and thought through in order to create the perfect little story. Make sure to keep a look out around town for this emerging artists’ exciting work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
My interest in art, specifically photography, started in high school. That initial enthusiasm lead me to get my BA in Photography and Art History at Columbia College. While I was there, I fully submerged myself into the program. I worked in the photography darkroom for nearly 3 years aiding teachers and students but during my junior year I was looking for an alternative. That is when I started getting into collage.
Through collage, I create portraits of women that in one way or another reflect women's history as well as my own background and personal aesthetic. Each collage is handmade, scanned and eventually printed digitally.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Laura.
During the day I work as a marketing and merchandising coordinator for a luxury consignment store in Lincoln Park. This part of my day is mainly fashion orientated while at night, I spend most of my time doing an array of things for my own artwork.
All of my collages are made in a series of steps and each night you can find me somewhere in the process. I initially start by sifting through and pulling out pages in contemporary and vintage magazines and books. I look for specific colors, textures, and facial features that resonate with me. These elements are then cut out, spread out on my desk and carefully placed together. They are later scanned, edited minimally and finally printed. A collage is never made in just one sitting so each night I'll be focusing on something different.
Where do you find inspiration?
Anywhere with a floral arrangement.
How do you make time for your creativity?
I am lucky enough where I am always creating whether it be for my professional or personal life. It's not about making time for my creative life, it is just about living.
What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started?
"Every artist was first amateur " - Ralph Waldo Emerson
You wear many creative hats–do you have a favorite?
It depends on the day I suppose. There are times when putting together a marketing campaign can be incredibly energizing and fun and other times when I am eager to create my personal artwork.
If you could live the life of another creative for a day who would it be?
What keeps you motivated and making?
I find laziness to be boring.