July 5, 2020
Interviewed by Shohei Takasaki

Lauren Luloff

Artist name: Lauren Luloff
What kind of artist: Painter
Based in: NYC, USA
Age: 40
Pronouns: she / her
Website/instagram/facebook/etc: laurenluloff

Thank you for your time today (Stop biting your nails). Ok great, Ordinary can be good right? I’d love to start off with a boring question. What are you trying to express through your creative work? 

Oh god, what a huge question!!  Every weird decision I make, I question and think, what about this?  Like the choice to use dyes and silk, and previously bleach on bedsheets, there’s a tremendous possibility of these works being non-arvichal and what does that mean?  And then paired with my overwhelming urge to paint through many tongues like pattern, the landscape, and abstraction, the desire to paint as much as I possibly can and to blend these languages in and out of each other…  And my interest in having many things happening at once in my studio, all overlapping, an incredible sense of possibility or potential piled on each wall, but the enormity of potential is within itself an actualization of a certain kind of meaning- I don’t know, what does all that say to you? 

Your earlier works seemed to eschew the perfectly stretched canvas for a more three dimensional expression, and recently it seems you’ve managed to penetrate into wearables as well. Your choice of wearables as a new format does not seem to have that much of a difference from what you’ve been doing previously. Would you agree or disagree with this view? We would love to hear your thinking behind the shift here. 

LL: The clothes are another found surface to paint on, which is so inspiring.  Those are real paintings on those clothes!  When I get a new silk garment I really take it in, regard it for some time, before I enact some artistic process on it.  There is a dialogue happening, what the item is and how it leads me into painting it in a certain way.  Making clothes brings the human body and issues of masculine/feminine and sexuality right to the surface of the content of my work.  A real human being will activate these paintings.  It’s thrilling. 

Do you have a certain routine/regimen you follow in your studio? What time do you start and end? How often are you in the studio? If you live with your partner or family, how do you work around each others’ schedules? Apologies if I seem intrusive, I’m quite curious.

During this time of the Coronavirus, I still go to my studio everyday, but earlier than usual, since I’m not taking my son to school at 8 anymore.  I get to the studio around 7:15/7:30 and work until 12:45, then I bike home to take care of my son, Julian, switching with my husband, Alexander Nolan, who then goes to the studio and comes home around 7.  We do this Monday through Saturday.  When I get to the studio, I wash my hands, sanitize all the shared surfaces, make a cup of coffee and hope to dive into my complicated work!  I’m always searching for music I can trance out to or I may talk to a close friend on the phone.  It helps me concentrate and permeate some deep levels of the brain. 

When you make a presentation to the public, what kind of things do you feel are most important in building your presentation?

Each body of work is different and with each series there are different aspects of the work I want to highlight with a particular type of installation.  Right now I have several shows in mind I’m building up.  I think an exhibition is an important part of the equation- especially for my work which can otherwise feel so ephemeral.  Knowing where I may hang the work, too, helps me build up a story or aspects of the installation in my mind.  Lately, I am very invested in the relationships of the works to each other and how they create negative space, or overlap on the wall.  That’s part of the limitless potential I feel for the silk paintings: they could go on and on forever, layered and touching and stacked up to the ceiling.  It would be great to have several opportunities to show this series so I could experiment with a dense, layered, endless version of the work and one where each piece sings out its own note.  I love the permeability of the silk paintings, how they could be interchanged and in motion, but some have their own story to tell and I want to give them the space to do that too.

When/if you find yourself in a crappy mood in the studio (whether we like it or not don’t we all know this feeling…), do you have any silver bullet solutions to get yourself out of the funk? If so, please elaborate.

I guess for me when I feel like I can’t work, and I don’t know what to do, I try to remember a tip my friend Sarah Kyp, from undergrad shared with me.  She said “if I can’t paint I clean my studio.”   It always helps.  Especially if things have been up on the wall too long, finished or unfinished – they’re clogging up the works and I have to clear them away to make room for fresh potential.  I have to do that soon in my room now- my walls are so packed I can’t isolate any one painting to “work” on it.  But I kind of love staying in that realm for a while- all the incidental interactions of the works are inspiring to me.  And I photograph them a lot.  As things that “could be.”

BTW, did your parents ever teach you to “never ever lie”? Come to think of it…is the act of lying actually a bad thing?

Well, of course I grew up knowing lying is bad, although I don’t remember that specific lesson from my parents.  I am a fan of truth telling, even when it’s painful and messy.  As another dear friend, Robyn Olds said to me, about me, “I’m never one to avoid conflict.”  I feel I’m always trying to get at the heart of the matter, or the truth below the truth.  It’s a quest, and often many parts contradict each other so I find that one answer doesn’t always suffice.

Ultimately, is it really truly important to live honestly with oneself? 

Of course!  That’s so of much what my time in the studio is about, being with myself and my relationships and experiences, sifting through things, seeing where I went wrong, or what I really want or meant… I’m always trying to find my truest true, which is often difficult in the multi faceted nature of one’s brain and the complexity of a life lived with others.

Do you find yourself having exchanges like this? “What do you do? Ah I see, an artist eh? So, what kind of art?” What is your standard response to a witless inquiry like this? Do you tailor your response depending on whether or not the questioner is from the art community or not? In other words, please tell us how you usually define yourself.

I am happy to to discuss my work with strangers or people not in the art world.  It’s funny because my first response is always that I’m an abstract painter, but I don’t know if my work really looks that way anymore – with all the flowers and landscapes and imagery creeping in.  But I do still feel like an abstract painter – even in that my approach to making a painting is an abstraction on what the act of painting may typically look like.  I’m always fucking it up somehow, always have been.  (I don’t say that.)  I feel a bit foreign, trying to describe current projects to non-artists, but it’s usually nice to get to talk to anyone so it’s worth it, especially from the perspective I have now, so isolated from humanity.

“Art should be open/accessible to everybody” — if you have any thoughts about this attitude, please share.

I have tons of thoughts about this- as a teacher, and someone with a socialist political bent.  I truly believe in the healing qualities of making art and art’s unique ability to release a person’s history through the idiosyncratic movement of one’s hand/body through a particular medium.  It’s beyond spiritual and a vital part of being human.  I don’t think all people find this in art, or have to- there are so many other outlets, but I find it so essential and specific that I believe everyone should have the opportunity to explore this dialogue – inner /outer- through experiencing many different types of art making.

Being an America living and working in New York City, what kind of effect does this have on your work (if any)?

I think living in New York gives one the sense anything is possible.  We may be struggling today, but tomorrow, who knows!?!  Although it is stressful as hell and one’s quality of life suffers and that’s real too.  Although sometimes that doesn’t feel real, because even though time is squashed into minuscule stress follicles where every second slams into the next and the streets are loud and sirens and train screeching overhead and  traffic and no space no nature- even SO!  -everyone around you is making this incredible work and there it all is and you’re all kind of in it, even if you’re not exactly together in it.

As a visual artist, do you ever find yourself in a pickle when you have to explain your work through words?

Yes, but I like to talk and ruminate, so that’s ok with me to an extent.  But a lot of what’s in the work I like to remain quiet about because the paintings should say that.  There is so much they say that I can’t.

As a contemporary artist living in the year 2020, do you have any goals?Moreover, do you even think a goal is necessary for you as an artist?

I have a goal about this kind of show I want to have in a huge gallery where I can have the opportunity to really max out my ideas about what these silk paintings can do!  That will really push the work forward.  I want to have a great show, and then more opportunities to show other aspects of the work that were maybe overlooked or not shown.  I have some secret projects on the back burner.  Yes, there are a lot of goals/visions for the future!

I hope that you don’t think this question is rude. After your death, how do you think your works should be treated? Or are you not concerned with posthumous judgement?

I think a lot about how my work will age and live.  I hope it will age beautifully and decay in ways that are complimentary to the feeling I put into them.  I think about their lifetimes a lot and how long they will last.  I think about this a lot more and in many ways quite separately from how l consider my own lifespan and mortality.  I picture, too, the silks all rolled up and not being interesting or significant until many years later, perhaps after my death, revealing the thousands of silk paintings I’m making now that can be so easily rolled up and tucked away.

Jerry Saltz likes to say “destroy your envy”. Does the act of comparing yourself to others play a part in your creative output?

I am certainly inspired by many artists’ work.  But currently I feel so out on a limb in my work that it’s a pretty solitary adventure.

What are your thoughts about how best to interact with the society we live in now? If there is any art/music/culture/etc that left a big impression on you in the past few years, could you please elaborate? It could be anything.

I love music.  It’s a huge part of my studio time/life.  It’s a certain fuel that allows me to dive into the work, and into myself; my emotions.  I’m constantly looking at and thinking about paintings, from my contemporaries back through abstract expressionists and  impressionists.

Please describe what the most disgusting food you’ve ever eaten was. We’d love a story with that too, if you are able to share.

No answer received.

If you could change one thing about your body, what would you change and why? 

No answer received.

Curious… do you have any stress about raising a child at present? If so, would you mind sharing?? But of course, only if you do and also would like to share. 

No answer received.

What did you think of this interview? Apologies if the questions were meandering. If there are any last thoughts you’d like to leave with, please go ahead.

No answer received.

 (from email)

Hey Shohei!
So I worked on this a couple weeks ago and it’s been sitting here unfinished for weeks so I thought I better send it out to you before it gets too forgotten! Sorry but this is the best I can do!  Oh and pictures- I’ll work on those next. xo


July 5, 2020
Interviewed by Shohei Takasaki

Lauren Luloff

アーティスト名 : Lauren Luloff / ローレンルローフ
種類 : ペインター
活動拠点: アメリカ・ニューヨーク
年齢 : 40
性別 : 女
IG : laurenluloff




















ニューヨークには、住むと「可能性は無限にある」と感じれるマジックがありますね。例えば今日は生活が苦しくても明日になれば変わるかも!っていうね、、、。それと同時に、ストレスを感じることは本当に多いし生活水準もそうは高くないっていうのも本当ですよね。 時間がストレス細胞として濃縮され、毎秒幾度となくお隣さんと衝突を繰り返し、街はサイレンの音で溢れ、電車はいつも頭上でキーッと鳴ってるし、渋滞も最悪で自然なんて無い。でもしかーし!それでもあなたの周りのみんなは何かを創っていて、それを目の当たりにする事ができる。もちろん、みんなが一緒に作業してるわけじゃないけど、不思議なことにみんな一緒に頑張ってるんだなって気持ちになれるのよ。







例えばJerry Saltzは「Destroy your envy(自分の妬みをぶち壊せ)」なんて言っていますよね。そもそも、自分と他人とを比べることは、自身のクリエイションに深く関係していますか?














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