Hi! I wanted to share this video made by Eric Minh Swenson. The video documents me in the studio, as well as the studio preview of “All Yoni Is Love,” for collectors and fans. The show will be installed at de Plume Gallery opening Aug 11th.
Laurie Shapiro’s large-scale, mixed-media paintings can be viewed from the wall or in an otherworldly setting where she creates installations that you can walk inside of. Her work is driven by an insatiable need to inquire about the nature of how we perceive the world. Fascinated by color and process, Shapiro initially builds up her paintings by screen printing stencils of her drawings, then hand sewing the segments on raw muslin which she then brings to life with layers of painting. When viewed up closely, one can see the intricate details and hand-stitching of her screen printed drawings. A few artists she admires are Roy De Forest, Gustav Klimt, and Kerry James Marshall.
Shapiro’s holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University (2012), during which she spent a semester abroad at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey (2011).
An Interview with Laurie Shapiro:
Your work features has a mystical feel, has been called “otherworldly” and features goddess-like female figures throughout. What kind of spiritual place is this coming from?
The spiritual place that the work and the goddess female figures originate from, is from within. We are all trying to make sense of our lives. Since I was a kid, I’ve dealt with a lot of my feelings by writing them out. It might sound strange, but I get into this state of being where ideas just flow through me. This is an easier place to access when traveling. Everything has inspiration in it; I’m open enough to see it. Sometimes I’m driving, or walking, having a conversation, seeing strangers kissing – there’s a spiritual resonance in so many moments. Maybe I’m lost, or maybe I’m connected, but what I am most interested in representing the parts of our existence that elevate.
What are your thoughts on identifying as a female artist?
There are universal concepts that women, in particular, relate to. I only know this life through my own perception, and that is as a woman. However, my ideas on being a female artist have changed a lot since I’ve gotten older and moved to LA. In my best state of mind, I feel extremely grateful to be a female artist. Nonetheless, I do have my moments where I wonder if somebody is actually interested in my work, or wants something completely unrelated from me, which can make me frustrated and even sad. I take my work seriously, and it irritates me when I’m seen as less than that. A lot of people tell me that my work is as much me as it is the work. I accept this, but I wonder if this would be the case if I was a man.
The creation of Before You Were Born entailed long hours of meticulous work. What was your approach in tackling such a large-scale project?
I feel best when I’m creating; I enjoy having ongoing projects and deadlines. Some people deal with a breakup and major life change by dating new people, or going out a lot. I focused on my work and read some really interesting books. I am happiest when I spend long hours in the studio. The state of mind I mentioned earlier, of ideas flowing through me, often happens when I’m in a zone of creating. It’s a very meditative, reflective, and expansive process. However, for me to feel that it’s meaningful, I need to have those deadlines.
Before You Were Born had a line curling around the block for your opening. What advice would you give young artists looking to increase their visibility?
Be genuine and authentic and real. You can’t predict when things like that happen, just do what feels right and do your best work.
How have the creative communities you’ve lived in impacted you?
I grew up in Long Island, New York. Being an artist in “the real world” was something I didn’t know existed until I was at Carnegie Mellon University (in Pittsburgh, PA) for my BFA. In school, I was able to really focus and grow as an artist in a very supportive and nurturing environment. During my time at CMU, I traveled throughout the Middle East and Europe, including a semester in Ankara, Turkey. From 2012 – 2017, I lived in Oakland, CA and ran a print shop, working with lots of creative people. Now I’m in LA. Every place I have traveled and lived in has taught me more about humanity and broadened my perspective of the world.
Sometimes people ask me why I didn’t just stay in New York since fine art is my passion. When I was younger, I pictured myself living in NYC as an older woman. Life is about the journey, and I love learning – which happens most for me through experience.
What do you most look forward to with your upcoming collectors preview?
The collectors preview is on July 26th from 7pm to 1am. It will be a good chance for collectors and fans to preview new pieces before they go to de Plume on August 11th. This is also a great chance to visit my studio. A lot of people tell me they feel tranquil and peaceful in my space. Right now, the studio is transforming into a more immersive installation wonderland. Reserve your ticket here!
Today we’d like to introduce you to Laurie Shapiro.
Laurie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had a passion for creating art and worlds from my imagination. When I was in high school, I read a lot of books about spirituality and one’s inner journey. Maybe being so introspective and critical at that age led me to also question what I wanted to do in this world. It wasn’t until I was at school at Carnegie Mellon that I realized being an artist was realistically very possible.
I moved to LA in July of 2017 because I felt in my heart a deep need to. My first LA show “Before You Were Born,” opened at Radiant Space January 6. On opening night, the line to get into the womb-like installation of mixed media paintings extended around the block. Working with Radiant Space has been an amazing experience that has also connected me to other creative people in Los Angeles. I’m really grateful that I am able to live, create and work with other people who share similar visions.
Carnegie Mellon’s motto was a quote by Andrew Carnegie – “My heart is in the work.” I feel that way every time I am making artwork – it is something I have a deep passion and love for.
The next time to see my work will be this March 15-18. I will be displaying at “The Other Art Fair” at the Majestic in Downtown LA. I also do studio visits by appointment.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Every struggle is a lesson and I am constantly learning. You climb one mountain, only to get to the top and realize there is another mountain you could not see before. This is life: a constant search and find. I’m realizing that the enjoyment is in the climb, not just reaching peaks. Change is a constant and necessary element to continuous growth.
Please tell us about Laurie Shapiro.
I’m a mixed media artist who makes paintings and installation art. Sometimes my pieces are displayed on the walls and sometimes they create immersive environments.
A lot of my work is big, raw and emotional. It’s intuitive, spiritual and honest. I’ve also been making smaller watercolors lately and I am planning on venturing into making specialized clothing items.
Some people say my work is like nothing they have ever seen before. I’ve always felt that what sets my work (or anybody’s work for that matter) apart is that it should come authentically from you and your connection to the divine.
That being said, LA is a creative vortex and I am very inspired by what I see happening in various creative communities here.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
State of mind is everything, so I’d tell myself to always appreciate and be kind. Enjoy everything, put forth your best and expect nothing – because life is full of wonderful surprises that you cannot predict! Also, always be confident in yourself – only you know your answers.
- Website: www.looure.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: LaurieShapiroArt
- Facebook: LaurieShapiroArt
Jim Newberry, Remo Fioroni
Remo Fioroni’s video documentation from the opening of “Before You Were Born,” at Radiant Space. He interviewed me, as well as some people who came to the show. Thank you so much Remo and to everyone who has come by! The work will be up through February 23rd. 🙂
Thank you Art and Cake LA for the review of “Before You Were Born,” at Radiant Space.
” This month, Radiant Space presents an unexpected den of astral visions from the mind of Los Angeles based artist Laurie Shapiro. Just off of Sunset Boulevard, Radiant Space conceals its white walls under kaleidoscopic tapestries of painted muslin and hand-sewn screen prints.
Before You Were Born functions as a celestial womb rather than a gallery space. A smoking sage stick rests on a plate by the entrance while music plays of an assembly of hypnotic drums and guitars. Dazzling arrays of paintings mimic the gesticulations of symbolist painter Gustav Klimt and are sewn together using silver metallic sheets. Hand-sewn lanterns hang at eye level, thrusting visitors into a surreal perspective shift.” – Sydney Walters
The opening at Radiant Space on the 6th made Artillery Magazine’s Last Night Column.
” In West Hollywood, a doorman regulated a two-block line at Radiant Space. The reason for the wait: artist Laurie Shapiro’s walk-in installation, Before You Were Born, on view until February 3. A glittering textile-based mixed-media Aladdin’s cave, every surface was transformed by sewn and painted materials. Alien flower-like lamps glowed, foil covered the floor, a dancer—a painted artwork herself, moved through the exotic mix of rich palettes bedazzled with gold and silver, packed with hipsters and art lovers. “
See the full article of LA art events featured on the column by clicking the picture or the link. 🙂
My show “Before You Were Born,” opened in Los Angeles this Saturday at Radiant Space. The opening was great!
Lauren Steiner – a political blogger and activist came to the opening and did a live-stream video and interview at the opening. Here’s the video.
LA Magazine also did a write-up on the show. The article can be read here.
What a great turnout – the line was long for hours and around 1000 people showed up. I’ll be posting a video piece by Remo Fioroni within the next week of the opening and an interview. The show will be up through Feb 3. Radiant Space has normal gallery hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11-4pm. The gallery will also be open for special events in the space and by appointment.
Photographer Stephen Levey came by before the opening and took these great photos of the installation. Check them out here.
Thank you Los Angeles.
I was writing out a newsletter yesterday and realized that I’ve made a lot of new work since I moved to LA. I’m using this blog post to consolidate these new pieces. Everything has been made since July.
Here’s the larger painting I’ve made:
In addition I started making these “meta” flowers that are flowers with flower screen prints sewn into them. I can’t quite say what they will be used for, but I see them in a future installation 🙂
Lastly… I’ve been getting really into watercolors mixed with glitter. Check out these two new pieces:
What else? I’m going to be releasing new *digital and screen prints* really soon – stay tuned!
We also had an open studio for the Brewery Art Walk. It went really well – was great to meet so many art lovers 🙂 I posted a few photos and videos from that on instagram.
I’m happy to share the official photos from the DTLA art walk “Surreal Photo Experience.”
“Each month I ART U DTLA is committed to creating an interactive art experience for our audience. We wanted a photo opportunity for our guests, however rather than going with a typical photo booth, we collaborated with artists Laurie Shapiro, Darren Sarkin, and Sarah Butler to create the surreal atmosphere, filled with their works of art and asked photographer Stephen Payne to capture the moment.
Explore our album below and find your photo from the Sept 14th Art Walk!! ” – I Art U DTLA
See the album here: https://www.iartudtla.com/surreal
Below are a few of my favorite photos:
This past Thursday I collaborated with two very talented artists to create the installation you see below. As you probably know, I make mixed-media paintings on muslin, which I also (sometimes) combine to form spaces. For this “photo booth” at the DTLA art walk, I worked with Darren Sarkin – a lighting designer and visual artist, as well as Sarah Butler – a performance artist. The event was called I Art U DTLA and is organized by Renee Warren of Ren Gallery.
Ok – so the textile paintings are mine. Light sculptures by Darren Sarkin. Performer is Sarah Butler, and she also made that beautiful flower headpiece she’s wearing. The flowers were provided by generous donations from three local Trader Joe’s. Thank you to everyone who came, and please contact me if you want to be on my mailing list for future installations and shows. Enjoy the photos 🙂
“Wherever you go […] leave a trail of flowers.”
Woahhh great photo of last nights #installation #collaboration. ? and light sculptures by @wingspeak Performance and head piece by @kickinbutler Textile paintings made by me, and flowers provided by Trader Joe’s ? . . #installationart #textile #artgallery #performance #flowers #goddess #beautiful
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Well, Fiber Art Now published a photo and little blurb about “Before You Were Born,” in their Summer 2017 issue. Thank you!
I’m really happy to be in a space right now where I can get good photos (proper lighting and space) of big pieces. Here’s one I took very recently and edited. The piece is called “JP in Bed.” I worked on it over 6 months, from around the summer of 2013 to the new year of 2014, in a 200 sq ft art studio, which it was wrapped around the walls of. The idea was making a body that was big and immersive. The piece is made of hand sewn painted and screen printed components, as well as some found textile, plus more painting. Happy to share the following photos:
The piece is about 27 feet wide by 6 feet high.
This website will be updated soon. Over the past 6 months, I’ve made a lot of new work. The past 4 months have been particularly busy, but I knew that when I got to Los Angeles, I’d finally have some time to breathe. I’ve started two new (big) paintings, and have been sketching and thinking of new ideas… getting used to this new, big city.
The space I’m in gets fantastic natural light, and I was able to photograph a lot of my new work that was made at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textile (SJMQT). Still a lot more photographing of pieces to do, but happy about these. During my residency at SJMQT, I worked on a project that was based off of people I met (or saw) in San Jose. Honestly, I wish I could have made more of these small from-memory portraits. They were really fun to make, and it was educational to work small – to finish a body of work quickly. Nonetheless, I’m happy to be back to working large on artwork about my own personal journeys, though, I do feel inspired to make landscape paintings of Los Angeles. The city is full of dualities, as well as a history that feels personal to me.
The names for these pieces come from excerpts from my journal. Ideas and observations flowing through this mind.
There’s actually a few more pieces, including a collaborative one and two larger pieces that were finished at the residency. This was what I compiled today.
Alright… catching up on what I’ve wanted to post since the beginning of the month. There’s been a lot going on — my residency at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, as well as preparing for my move to Los Angeles.
Collaboration with Courtney Hartman and Renee Batres:
Courtney and I collaborated for her performance inside of my installation, “Before You Were Born.” We teamed up with Renee for the June 2nd performance. Renee is a makeup and body painting artist. She painted Courtney to look like the installation, yet a new creation. Here are some photos from June 2nd:
Collaboration is so much fun. Thanks to my residency at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, I have been fortunate to collaborate with other talented artists and art professionals. It’s been a great experience working with the museum staff, as well as with Renee, Courtney, Anna, Daniel, and Octavio. <3
Open Studio / Moving Sale on June 10th
Ok, so I have been planning to move to LA for a while now, and things have come together. On June 10th, I had an open studio sale. Thank you to everyone who came by. I felt so much support at this event, as well as at my residency at SJMQT. I have so much love for my community here in the Bay Area, and I am most sad to leave that community when I move.
Courtney took the above photos at the Open Studio Sale. If you took any and want to share, please email me them <3
I wish I took more photos, but I managed to get this cool one of Michael with his new prints.
Screenprinting Workshop San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
The last series of photos I am sharing are from my workshop at SJMQT yesterday. We had a walk through of my work currently on display, as well as a screen printing workshop. Everybody was able to make their own prints, from a screen I designed last week. The flowers in this screen will be used for my next series of paintings.
Last thing! My work was featured on Feminist Fiber Art — thank you!
Thank you Camille Miller for writing this piece for the Mercury News! So much love and appreciation <3 The last time to see “Before You Were Born,” as well as Courtney’s dance is on June 2nd – first Friday. 7 – 9:30 pm. Please read her write up below:
A Selection of photos from “Before You Were Born,” the San Jose Museum of Quilt’s and Textiles‘ 40th Anniversary Celebration. All of these photos are taken by Octavio Martinez. The first photo is of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo – take a look at his face inside of the installation! The other photos feature Courtney Hartman during her performance. The museum will host another performance inside of “Before You Were Born,” during the First Friday Art Walk in downtown San Jose on June 2nd. Space is limited in the installation, so come by early in the evening!
Seeing these photos made me so happy. Octavio was able to capture the installation and performance in ways I simply could not. Courtney looked stunning and was able to captivate the audience with her talent and expression. Collaboration is very fun 🙂 and I feel fortunate to be able to work with other talented people. It’s really exciting to see what can happen when different skill sets are bought to the table.
Also – SJMQT is hosting a screen printing workshop that I will be leading. I will also be speaking about my work and process. Learn more here and sign up! There are only 15 spots available.
Here are two other photos of the Mayor with my work, both taken by Octavio:
Hi! Please see this video made by Daniel Zapien (@baylingual <— instagram follow) of me talking about my process and piece at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Daniel is a super talented videographer and story teller! Features Courtney Hartman performing <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Collaboration is so much fun! Thank you Daniel and Courtney!
What a weekend it’s been. First Friday at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles plus their 40th Anniversary Celebration this Sunday.
For First Friday, Gwendolyn Reyes (the Manager of Museum Engagement) helped me plan a participatory art-making event. Museum go-ers could make their own small mixed media piece and / or they could contribute to a collaborative work-in-progress. I’m going to work on the collaborative piece throughout the next few weeks and display it as part of new work for next first Friday (June 2nd.)
Maya Songbird also performed at SJMQT on Friday! (See photo below.) I’m so glad that Maya was able to perform at the museum when I am the resident artist there. As two people who live in Oakland, we both agree that San Jose is a great place for art and music!
My project while at the museum involves taking in the energy of San Jose and reflecting that on canvas (or muslin). I’m looking forward to getting deeper into this project over the next few weeks, and then I will share some work.
Sunday, the 40th Anniversary was so much fun. It was really great to collaborate with Courtney who’s performance was stunning. She performed 5 times over the event, and she will be performing again for June First Friday on the 2nd. Courtney’s performance took place inside of my installation, “Before You Were Born,” in which she became part of the piece, interacting with viewers. We worked together on the concept for her costume, which I painted and sewed together. I also face and body painted her early this morning for the performance and event. “Before You Were Born,” will be on display in the maker space gallery throughout my residency.
A big thanks to SJMQT for putting this event together and having a kick-ass artist residency. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Enjoy the photos and video below. *Professional* photos to come. For now, here’s what I’ve put together.
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The outlined fist piece that’s blue and white is the collaborative piece we worked on Friday evening and Sunday… lots of work to do on it now! *** In progress photo of working in the maker studio space at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.
Look at all these creative people making mixed media fiber paintings!
Maya Songbird performed at First Friday doing a live music set in the main museum gallery. She’s standing next to a painting I’m working on of her — can you tell? A background detail is that when she was posing for this piece, she called this pose her “Malcolm X pose.”
Courtney did 5 performances today inside of “Before You Were Born.” ?? Here’s a clip. Although I’m tired at the end of a busy week(end), making art and collaborating on projects is rewarding. Happy to see this come together. If you’re able to get to, or live in San Jose, Courtney will also be performing for June first Friday. ????????✨?. Thanks to everyone who came by and thanks to everyone who gave support in whatever way they could. It means a lot. . #love #collaboration #beforeyouwereborn #trippy #psychedelic #contemporaryart #bayarea #performance #beautiful #friends #sjmqt #sanjose #textile
Another video of Courtney performing just because.
This past Thursday I attended the preview opening for the Roy De Forest retrospective at the Oakland Museum. A professor from Carnegie Mellon, Bob Bingham worked for Roy a few decades (!!) ago. Thanks to Bob, I was able to see this opening and gain perspective on art that I am so clearly influenced by.
Roy’s work was SO inspiring, colorful, and fun. As an artist in this time, where art is so free and open to be whatever you want it to be, it’s sometimes not so obvious how other artists broke barriers, which opens up doors for future artists. I think of this in a similar way to feminism – women of the past fought hard and demanded rights that we often overlook – voting, owning credit cards and homes, pursing a professional career, having a family as a choice rather than an expectation, etc. Our actions are bigger than just ourselves. Roy’s work – though personal and intuitive – has many characteristics that I use in my work, and that I see in other contemporary artist’s work: bold lines, immediacy, over saturation of colors, and as Bob said, “maximalism.” Every inch of his big canvas paintings were full of layers of paint.
Bob told me that Roy would paint for 7 hours a day. He would make around six (large, overly detailed, intricate, full of love and expression) paintings a year and averaged a drawing a day. Art is work! I appreciate and admire Roy’s work. See photos below.
Bob also said that Roy didn’t talk much, but he did talk to his dogs. I often think paintings of pets are kind of cheesy, but as a unique artist, Roy was able to do it well. So much magic in these otherworldly pieces.
What a fun and productive day (April 26th) … driving down to San Jose with Courtney, painting her, and seeing this costume and her dancing come to life inside of the installation. The costume was just made over the last week before the photos were taken. I’ve been working on the costume inside of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textile’s maker-space studio and my Oakland studio. The idea is that Courtney is a part of the piece, so making her costume was like making a mini wall piece from the installation. The night before we took these photos, Courtney came over my Oakland studio and we did some spontaneous sizing of the costume (thank G-d). This fitting process and Courtney’s input gave much clarity on how to make the outfit look and function properly. Courtney is an amazing friend, as well as a very talented performer. It’s been great to collaborate with her. See this all come together on May 7th for the 40th Anniversary Celebration!
Yes, the Quilt and Textile Museum is 40 years old. Find out more about them here. This residency has been wonderful and supportive… SJMQT is a special place that really cares about being a supportive and educational space for fiber and textile art.
All the photos in this post are by Daniel Zapien, or Baylingual <– click here to see his work on instagram. I’m so grateful that the museum was able to get Daniel to join us for this rehearsal. (( T H A N K Y O U )) He took some amazing photo and video pieces, which I look forward to sharing in the future… As I said in a previous post, I am really impressed with all of the creativity I am seeing and experiencing in San Jose. Live music, great art… downtown San Jose has it. (First Fridays are a great time to experience the night life and energy of the city.)
Courtney Hartman is the performer. She is a doctor of psychology with a background in performing arts.
Please contact me before using any of these photos, as they need to be properly credited. (As with any photo from my website, thanks.)
The finger placement was very thought out.
When your best friend becomes a magical bat.
These photos were all taken by Octavio Martinez on Sunday, April 23rd. Getting this installation up at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles was a project. Octavio managed to capture this piece in such a beautiful light… I could have never expected randomly showing him the installation would lead to such compelling photos. Please check out his work at http://www.tiburon1431.com/
Special thanks to Anna at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum for making this connection happen. There is such a vibrant artist community in San Jose. I’m really happy to be working there for these three months.
Octavio took a bunch of photos. Here are my three favorites.
We’re going back in time with these first few blog posts, because I want to share these photos on here. Anyway, this is from… mid March 2017. When I was working on the pieces for my installation, “Before You Were Born,” in my Oakland studio and Courtney Hartman came over to do a rehearsal and brain-storming session in my studio. We took some cool photos. Here are our favorites.
I started working on this piece in December, after building a wall in my studio to make it logistically possible. Much of the segments were finished by the time we did this shoot.
People always ask me about my process. Everything is hand-made in these pieces. Hand-drawn images that are exposed onto silk screens. Printed by yours truly. Cut out and HAND sewn onto muslin. Painting, and over painting. I will try to get the amount of hours together that this piece took at some point. Hope you like the photos.