50 States – Louisiana with Lauren J. Andrews
Lauren J. Andrews – “New Orleans has a culture and an aesthetic that I find to be endlessly inspiring.”
This week The Creative Chair is in New Orleans, Louisiana talking watercolours and inspiration with local artists Lauren J. Andrews.
Lauren’s New Orleans series gained our attention due to her polarised use of minimalism and selective details. Somehow this technique manages to perfectly convey these vignettes from her state, making her the perfect candidate for the 15th instalment of our 50 States series.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do
My name is Lauren J. Andrews, and I am a visual artist living and working in New Orleans. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different mediums, but I’m primarily a painter, and watercolour is currently my favourite medium.
I love to paint people and places. In my work, I aim to portray the essence of the subject, rather than just the appearance. How does it feel to be somewhere, with someone? These are the questions I seek to answer in my paintings.
How has your state influenced the work that you do?
I first came to Louisiana about five years ago on a road trip, and I was immediately struck by its beauty. Specifically, New Orleans has a culture and an aesthetic that I find to be endlessly inspiring. This place is both vibrant and dark, joyful, and mean. New Orleans will give you what you need, even when it isn’t what you want.
I feel similarly about watercolour, which is a difficult medium to control. There is a certain amount of letting go that has to happen in order to paint with watercolour, and similarly, you won’t last long in Louisiana if you want everything to go as planned. Living here has forced me to enjoy the process of my work, and focus less on the outcome.
Of your own work, what is your favourite project and why?
My favourite project to date is a screen printed, accordion-fold book I made titled “Philadelphia”. I made the book after I realised that I was ready to leave Philly, and I wanted to capture what the city meant to me. I used letterpress on the cover, which says, “Lord knows I’ve got courage since I came here alone”. The pages are made up of bricks and negative space, the two things I was most obsessed with while living there.
In many ways, finishing this book was the permission I needed to move on from Philadelphia. I felt that I had said what I needed to say about the city. Since moving to New Orleans, I find myself on the same mission, trying to communicate exactly what it is I love about this place.
And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?
I fall in love too easily – Chet Baker
- Louisiana became the 18th State on 30th April 1812
- Named in honour of King Louis XIV
- Home to the world’s oldest operating street railway