We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Sinner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
I’m not the kind of person who does well doing the same thing over and over again every day. I would much rather prefer balancing a variety of smaller jobs and projects that I can bounce between, so things can stay fun and interesting. While sometimes this causes the amount of money I make to fluctuate, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Right now, I own my time and how I want to spend it. This has allowed for me to work when I feel like being busy (and making money), while other times taking a bit of time off to take care of myself. It’s also opened up the ability to travel for temporary jobs, artist residencies, and more. I think one of the key skills that has allowed me to do this with my life is the fact that I’m very organized and am able to balance multiple projects and jobs at once.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Hello, I’m Lauren. I’m an artist, curator, teacher, writer, and performer based in Portland, Oregon. I’m currently the Managing Editor of Surface Design Journal (a quarterly publication exploring contemporary fibers and textiles), Mentor to MFA candidates, and independent contractor to many arts organizations throughout the country. I received my MFA in Applied Craft + Design from the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts and the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2016.
My creative life oscillates between two vastly different, yet connected, activities: the solitude of embroidery, and the collaborative nature of improv comedy. These two ways of working seem at odds, but constantly feed into one another. Sewing gives me a chance to slow down, take my time to react and be comfortable being alone. Improv requires quick thinking, where I need to immediately react to what is in front of me. They blend in a way that allows me to actively listen to the artworks I create, seeing what they need from me, not just what I planned for them.
I appropriate text and imagery from punk music and botanical illustrations to create pieces that balance between comfort, humor, and mental health problems. Using both found and handmade, I create pieces referencing domestic life, but have been infected with the stigma we have on mental health issues. Using variations on dyes and ink, I examine how shame is cast upon someone. The dye chemically bonds with the fabric—the two become one, whereas ink simply rests on top—never fully becoming one with the fiber. I use quilting and embroidery techniques to create pieces that appear to be simultaneously “put together” and “falling apart.” My work oscillates between funny and sad, empathetic and apathetic, sincere and sarcastic. I aim to tell my story, not necessarily through a traditional linear narrative, but rather one that translates my perspective.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place in LA is the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Surface Design Association, surfacedesign.org
Personal photo: taken by Emily Shankman Photography (https://www.instagram.com/shankbabyyy). 8 artworks: all taken by the artist, Lauren Sinner.