We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Goldenberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
A phrase I tend to throw around and tell myself often is “eat your vegetables”. It’s simple, nostalgic, versatile, and maybe a little goofy; a few qualities I try to embody. Yes, definitely eat those dark cruciferous greens and the whole rest of the veggie rainbow (self care is important) but that’s not what I mean. Beyond physical health you can “eat your vegetables” in many other ways. It has become a cheeky metaphor I use for things that I don’t necessarily want to do in that moment, but should. Or for opportunities that might intimidate or challenge me, but that I should seize and in turn learn something from. For example, my time as a resident in a performance art residency last year is one way I’ve eaten my “art vegetables”. As someone who primarily makes two-dimensional work it was definitely challenging, but I’m grateful for the experience as it helped me to more deeply understand and investigate my studio practice through a tremendously foreign and unique lens. Everyone’s got their own “vegetables” to eat all the time. Sometimes I crave veggies and feel motivated, while other times I sneak spinach in a peanut butter smoothie because I know it will benefit me in the future. That’s kind of dramatic, but also have you ever tried a balsamic-glazed, perfectly-roasted brussel sprout? Go do it, and thank me later. Whether this qualifies as an affirmation, life advice, or a command from a concerned mother I’m not sure. Nonetheless, challenge yourself. It’s good for you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since graduating with a BFA in Studio Art from Cal Poly SLO in 2018, I have moved back to the house I grew up in in the sunny suburbs of south Orange County. To keep myself busy (and my bills paid) I’ve worked many oddball jobs; none of which require an art degree but most definitely inform my practice. For a moment I professionally made fancy oat milk, lavender turmeric, half-caf lattes at a cutesy coffeeshop and rarely got a paycheck on time, if ever. Then I gave my shot at selling Google Maps marketing over the phone at a cubicle. I was kind of good at it too, and definitely earned some street cred with the team made up almost entirely of older men. I occasionally participate in focus groups and have spent some long weeks as a dog sitter. The whole time I’ve been home I’ve worked as an instructor by night at a wine and paint studio where I teach moms how to paint palm trees as they sip chardonnay. I get to tell a lot of dad jokes and the “camp counselor” side of me thrives in that environment. Most recently I am navigating my role as a recess leader via virtual elementary school Zoom time which involves a lot of dancing in colorful wigs. Pre-covid I was working nearly 60 hours a week and this forced-slow-down might have been long overdue. In between the constant chaos I always carve out time to be in the studio and get to work. It’s definitely a hustle but it’s so worth it. Calling upon real-life experiences and kitschy found objects, I make collages that explore the aesthetic and detritus of suburban American life. My studio is a chunk of wall space in my parent’s garage between 2 cat litter boxes and about 17 of my grandfather’s fishing poles. It is a playground flooded with loud early 2000’s pop music and a variety of materials where nothing is off limits or precious. Old clothes, cardboard boxes, and skins of past paintings find new purpose as Frankenstein-esque figures and creatures amidst a buttery, dense landscape. They are pathetic, relatable grotesqueries occupying what is reminiscent of a store bought sheet cake left to rot in the sun. Other times the work is more abstract but no less imbued with humor, melodrama, and an intuitive response to material. There is a push and pull between obsessively layering thin veils of a single color within taped off sub-regions, and knowing when to refrain from touching a surface. Multiple works being made simultaneously are susceptible to spontaneous smears of color and borrowed imagery from one another. The work constantly consumes and regurgitates itself into new strange amalgamations in a process that can only be described as “cannibalistic”. I’m working hard to create a strong body of work for my portfolio as I am looking to apply to a MFA program this fall. I have also recently been channeling my energy into my first curatorial project. It is an international virtual exhibition called “Archipelago” that I co-curated with my friend Anthony Angelilli, and we are so excited to launch it in early June. You can check it out on our Instagram @archipelago_show.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
So many great local spots. I’m a sucker for a good beach day with snacks. “Earth Bowl Superfoods” has the best hefty, build your own, topping-rich acai bowls in all the land and tastes even better on hot sand next to the pacific ocean. “Laguna Beach Beer Company” or “Docent Brewing” are some fantastic local breweries with very tasty beer and trivia nights. I’m exceedingly becoming a more active person so I guess I should also shoutout O’Neill Regional Park for all of the gorgeous hikes that saved my sanity during quarantine. I recently tried this banana cream pie flavored ice cream from “Handel’s” and it has now become something I need to introduce to everyone. It’s absolutely life-changing, no exaggeration. Now that I think about it, that’s getting moved up to number one on the list.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I feel so blessed to have so much encouragement from an exceedingly long list of supporters. Each one of them should be recognized, but we’d run out of room! I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my grandparents. They were impeccable examples of unconditional love, generosity, and unwavering humor in my life. Te quiero mucho, Mamita y Papito.
Other: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Recent curatorial project (IG): @archipelago_show
Lauren Hinkley, Blake Silva, Cynthia Post-Hunt