This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @laurencatwest
- Tell me a little about yourself:
“Hello! I am Lauren West, but I go by my “artist name” Lauren Cat West. No, my middle name isn’t Cat…but it does start with a “C” and I LOVE CATS.
Anyway, I am an illustrator, muralist and designer living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Before I pursued art full-time, I had worked in the bicycle industry (in different capacities) for nearly 12 years. I reallllllly love bicycles. I grew up in Georgia – in a world of canoes, lakeside swimming, cycling, camping and hiking and have always been taught to respect and appreciate nature. When I’m not working, I spend most of my days and free time outside as much as possible and draw a lot of inspiration from my time spent there.”
2. What things or people inspire when you are creating your art?
“I take a lot of inspiration (as I mentioned before) from the outdoors and nature. I love to take moments to look around at everything that exists amongst itself outside – seeing patterns, color, textures, space. As much as I love nature in its purest form, I also really love the dynamic visuals and strength of nature taking over urban environments. I live in a city, so that’s something that happens and grows all around you.
Vines growing up a chain link fence, daisies sprouting out of a dirt mound next to construction debris, or ivy crumbling a brick wall. A lot of the work I make is fueled by what makes me happy (I’m usually laughing while I’m working on something) and what I hope ultimately brings happiness to other people – that’s often driven by comedy, bright colors, simple forms, and throwing in things that just don’t make sense together but make you smile anyway. I like to play with simplicity but I also like to push things to their loudest and busiest. It’s really hard to describe truly where my visual style comes from because it’s what naturally just comes out while I create… But it sure as hell is a big mixture of everything I’ve loved and held close to my heart. I’ve always taken inspiration from Pee Wee’s Playhouse (Wayne White and Gary Panter’s visuals), outsider art, assemblage art (growing up in a lake my dad made sculptures from people’s garbage we’d find when they did the “annual lake drain”), Mid century children’s illustrations, old Golden books, Americana folk, textile, tin can packaging, mod and punk rock, etc… I’ve got a lot of random visual inspirations whirling around in my head ready to make the next thing! Take a look around – there’s good stuff to see everywhere. “
3. What are your top three favorite flowers or plants that you incorporate in your art and why?
“I do incorporate a lot of plants/flowers in my work! Sometimes it’s just a nice embellishment, other times it’s more of a focal point. I use a lot of daisies and tulips because their form and shape can be overly simplified while still remaining recognizable. I also use a lot of white pine or fern fronds as a shape that has more complex parts and relies more on pattern than a large blob shape.
I reference fungi a lot: morels, russula mushrooms, turkey tail, etc… Mushrooms are AMAZING (I can go on forever about that) – they are beautiful, strange and their connectivity to everything around us completely blows my mind. Anyway, I have a deep love for fungi so they make appearances in my work from time to time. “
4. What have been some memorable bike trails you have been on?
” I’ve been riding a lot in Vermont where the trails are DEEELIGHTFUL. Mountain biking is excellent up there and it’s “the state of a million gravel roads” (not really, but it should be named that).
Those roads can wind you through sunkissed woods, farm fields and breezy climbs along wild raspberry bush-lined hills. We Actually live close by to Philadelphia’s own wilderness, The Wissahickon Park. Which is a super magical spot within an urban metropolis. I really do love riding a bike anyway though. In the woods or through the city, if it’s on two wheels, I’m happy.”
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to include?
” No exciting events coming up but I hope that can happen sometime in the not-so-distant future…. As for exciting news, Getting my website store finished and putting up new products is my #1 only job/priority now and I am SO excited to finally have time to work for myself again. And another news flash, maybe my work will have even more greenspace/forest inspiration ifyouknowhwtaimsayin’ (I’m moving but not announcing the location yet).“
If you like to learn more about Lauren’s Art. The following contact information is below:
Thank you so much for the interview!
Until next time!!!