Interview by Mia Kingsley
Lauren Poor is a visual artist, using photography, collage, painting, stickers, toys.. absolutly anything to create her wonderland art! Her imagination is pure, colourful and exciting, everything she loves she pours into her art work. She grew up in Takoma Park Md, of the USA, where her love for dress up, make believe and her community was channelled into making visions real. She now studies at The School of Visual art, explores New York city and expands her imagination ever more. Meet Lauren Poor...
I found this photographer online by accident and stayed up almost all night so I could get through her whole flickr feed. She made life look like a clean, fresh catalog and I was stunned and inspired by that. Does her life actually look like that? I want that! Is it just tricks of the camera? I was motivated and excited to use a camera and see what would happen. I'm still trying to figure out what is happening!
When did you explore illustration and collage within your photography?
That started mostly when I left my hometown for New York City. In some cases it was a technical way to make up for what was missing in my opinion- the nature and magic that I'd loved at home growing up. I also began printing while at school which I hadn't done as much before and had physical objects to work with so it was fun to experiment with the possibilities of that. I often enjoy having my hands on many aspects of the images I create so they're weathered and infused with energy, time and emotions.
Have you always had a creative side?
I think so because my childhood was very allowing and protective of my inner imagination and provided spaces for it to mix with the environments I was in. Make believe, dress up, building fairy houses, running around the neighborhood through backyards and up trees, not having as many boundaries between the real, outside world and my inner life allowed me to live creatively. I value that time and try to find my way to it now- it seems like a gift not a given in this world and I dream of being able to create or support these kinds of spaces for people.
Your work is full of colour and vibrance with a fantasy theme, what inspires you?
I'm very inspired by fairies and fairy worlds because I was obsessed with them as a kid and used to collect images of them and paint and draw them with my friend. I'm really excited by dressing up and costumes and I've been trying to learn about dressing up in different cultures and how it functions. I also love to think and learn about visionary environments and art by so called "outsider" and self taught artists.
Which artists do you admire?
A few of them are Jack Smith, Monica Canilao, Chantal Akerman, Elliott Smith, John Darnielle, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Shakespeare and lots of people who make visionary environments.
What was the last exhibition you attended that really impressed you?
I recently went to the American Visionary Art Museum and saw art by Kenny Irwin Jr. in a part of an exhibition there. He had a bunch of colorful ballpoint pen drawings on the walls of Islamic looking outer space worlds inhabited by aliens and people that lit up my eyes. If I remember what I read about him correctly, his images have come from his detailed dreams ever since he was very young. In a room nearby also by him called "robotmas" what sounded like Bollywood Christmas music was playing, mechanical robot parts spun around, lots of weird, little Christmas robots were attached to places, some with resin glove hands filled with bugs on their heads, and other things filled the room. It was very colorful and made up of many sculptures fused from Christmas objects, bugs, mechanical junk, paint, resin, lights and eyeballs. It was wonderful to be in that room knocked from the normal ambling path of museums into one of slow spinning around, walking backwards, coming to full stops in awkward places and ducking to look at something more closely… ordinary life transformed. I'm excited to continue to learn about him.
You love fairies, make believe and fantasy, what are your favourite books or films?
As far as I can tell at the moment I like Invisible Cities, films by Peter Greenaway, pictures from Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa are often stuck in my mind, Maiden Voyage and The Boy Who Sailed Around the World Alone although I haven't read them in a while; two non-fiction books by kids who sail around the world alone, Streetwise, films by Harmony Korine, tons of architectural design books that were around my house growing up, Self Made Worlds, Conquest of the Useless, Random Lunacy, Cabaret and more…
When you have a vision for a piece of work how do you go about creating it?
Most of the time I think about my visions and write them down in my journal to remember them or to figure out if they need to be made and how. I often have to make objects for pictures and ask people if they'll help me by being in the picture. What I do ranges from image to image, but there is usually a layer or two on either side of the picture where I'm making something with my hands… and often times lots of thinking on either side as well, especially after I've made the image.
What, who, where and when would your dream photo shoot?
I have a dream of having an old wooden house that I've fixed up that's in a woodsy suburb. I've decorated the house by painting it and filling it with amazing things I've found and built out of junk. In the house there's rooms for making things and rooms that act as museums to show art and found treasures. Outside of the house and around it is nature as well as a neighbourhood street that runs along the front. There are seats and tables around, a stage, tons of strange sculptures and little storage sheds and studios. People in the neighbourhood visit the house and use it to meet and play. They can use dress ups from craft rooms in the house and any other materials they find in those rooms and they dress up and make things and adventure outside by the flowers and streams. I dream of making art with the neighbourhood kids and people, and of photographing colourful, dressed up, flower covered people around the fertile grounds and taking trips to work on parts of the city, exploring and making art on buildings and climbing into trees and through dense forest paths to little silver pools. We'd go back to the house and use materials in the craft rooms to make the pictures we take and print out into gleaming fossils of our shared play dates, doodling onto them glitter, colours, unicorns and imaginary things.
What is next for you Lauren, what do we have to look forward to?
I'm working my way through a project that coincides with school deadlines so maybe I'll have something to show of that in the spring. Hopefully I'll have an installation I'd want to share also later in the spring. I plan on spending part of my summer working on a little environment my dad and I are building in our backyard and learning new building techniques which I'm excited for. Throughout all this time I'm going to continue thinking and working and creating new things that I enjoy, maybe I'll have things to share from that ongoing endeavour as well.
Amazing! Thank you so much Lauren :) To find more of Lauren's work follow the link to her website below:
Next week I will be chatting to the super cool photographer Coco Captain! So be sure to keep updated! But until then for more ‘Mia Meets…’ or more Mia Kingsley: