We started featuring ma'ams as an opportunity for Handyma'am to connect with and share the work of makers and artists we admire.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, a lot of what was special about our ma'am features had to be modified; in-person interviews turned into lots of emails, photo shoots were replaced by self-timer portraits, and launch parties were cancelled. Roadblocks and production delays aside, we think this feature couldn’t be better timed because of two things we know to be true:
1.) Lauren’s bright colors, playful designs, and humor are sure to bring you joy.
2.) I think we can all agree Mother Earth is the hardest working ma’am we know, and she’s always worth celebrating.
What is your background?
I'm a graphic artist and illustrator who also works in 3D formats. I got into sign painting and murals about 5 years ago.
What got you into painting walls?
In college there was an opportunity for me to intern with a local, well-established sign painter and work on a project refurbishing faded signs in the city. I eventually was asked to recreate a sign on my own. Doing that project from start to finish built my confidence in taking my designs and making them real big on real big walls.
What do you enjoy most about the work?
I always try to put humor or push some sort of happy reaction out of my work, whether it comes from the super bright colors I'm using or the playful imagery. Either way, the entire time I'm creating something, I'm usually laughing and really enjoying making it and experimenting the entire time. I'm always so stoked to see how people interact with my pieces, and knowing that most of your work makes people happy is one of the best feelings you can have.
“I always try to put humor or push some sort of happy reaction out of my work, whether it comes from the super bright colors I'm using or the playful imagery.”
How would you describe your style and who or what has influenced it?
I guess my style is pretty playful and childlike but I get a lot of inspiration from old mid-century illustrations and posters that use simple shapes, forms, and primary colors. I like to make things fairly simple and then ruin that simplicity with something completely random and stupid like a joke. But sometimes, I can maintain simplicity and I always feel really happy with how that turns out. I've always been inspired by southern folk art, like primitive tin work and paintings on wood. Because I'm from Georgia and my dad was an artist who made a lot of things out of found objects, I definitely take a lot of cues from that general strange aesthetic.
What projects are you working on currently? Do you have a goal or dream project?
Right now everything is super weird and somewhat on hold because of COVID-19, but I'm doing a super rad collab with you guys for Earth Day! This summer I'll be working on two large public murals in Philadelphia which I'm very excited about. My dream project is to create a fully immersive experience (indoor or outdoor or a combo — who knows!) that includes my illustrations, paintings, murals, and 3D pieces. Ever seen Pee-Wee's Playhouse? Like that.
“I'm beyond honored to be a part of a huge community of creative humans making different work throughout the world. I just want to say — if people are making stuff, keep doing it!”
Anything else you would like to share or promote?
I'm beyond honored to be a part of a huge community of creative humans making different work throughout the world. I just want to say — if people are making stuff, keep doing it! Oh, I guess I should say check out my website store if you're interested!
Be sure to follow @laurencatwest on Instagram and shop our Earth Day collaborations.