We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Zavala and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has always been a tricky thing for me. In my personal life, I would say I am pretty risk averse. I’m careful and really put a lot of thought into everything I do prior to doing it. In my career and with my art, I have had to unlearn a lot of that. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to be up for anything- even if it scares me. I try to be “game” for whatever comes my way. In my experience, it’s best to expect the unexpected. I know how cliché that sounds, but it’s the best piece of advice and the hardest thing I’ve had to adapt to. Art in and of itself is a risk. There’s always a risk someone won’t like what you do, or not take you seriously, or not see the value in it. Honestly, anytime I put a new piece out there, I am risking that someone won’t like it. That can be hard when I think about how much time and effort I put into each piece, but with art, you just have to understand and roll with it. After all, it’s subjective! You have to be confident and know there’s value in what you put out there and (in my experience) people will believe you. Fake it ’til you make it.

The entire beginning of my career in art started that way. I can honestly say I felt like I was taking risks in every way. Risks that I wouldn’t be successful, that people wouldn’t be interested, that I should pick a more stable job in a more traditional profession, but I jumped head first into what I do and never looked back. Good thing too because I love my job. I always say it’s my favorite thing I never thought I’d get to do. So my personal life has had to catch up to my professional life and learn that risk can be everything if you trust yourself, put in the time, and ask for help if you need it. Nobody starts out knowing everything, and everyone needs a support system to push them when risk feels scary or the pressure gets to you.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am the artist behind my studio, Zavala Bespoke. Zavala Bespoke uniquely operates where fashion and fine art intersect. I customize and transform luxury pieces into one of a kind wearable art. From clothing to luggage, bags to briefcases, and everything in between, I tackle it all. I like to think that what separates me from a lot of other artists is that my work is meant to go with you. I want my work to be accessible. Why limit art to a gallery when it can go to the beach? Take that bag to the museum, but also take it to a concert. My pieces are meant to be wearable works of fine art. Ready to travel the world.

I am most excited about new art. No two pieces of mine are exactly the same, so anything coming my way is a new adventure. I am constantly motivated to keep creating. It’s one of the best aspects of my job.

I would like to think I’ve gotten to where I am by a mix of hard work, patience, some luck, and a willingness to learn. In this climate, I’d also have to add in perseverance. It’s one of those things where I feel like I’ve been in such a good place professionally, but then the pandemic really changed the landscape of my job. I have really had to adapt and not get discouraged when the future has been super uncertain. Everyone has had their fair share of that this past year, and it’s been scary to be a small business owner. Pretty much any small business owner or creator can agree that they’ve had to adapt this year to new challenges. It may have felt like a lot of pressure, but it truly has been worth it; especially now that we seem to be coming out the other side.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Boulder but really go all around the Denver area. My quarantine activity/hobby I started was a love of antiques. I have been all around the Denver metro area shopping for antiques. It felt at the time like the best way to get out for some distanced fun. I just discovered Found Antique & Artisan Mall in Wheat Ridge and am totally obsessed. There’s a little something for anyone. Not only antiques but also artisan gifts and one of a kind pieces of art. If I were traveling to Colorado for a week, I’d definitely hit up some of the antique stores around here.

Food wise, we have some great Mexican food. Nopalito’s in Boulder is by far my favorite. My fiancé and I go in there every Saturday for breakfast. The owner, Milton, and his wife, Dora, are just about the nicest people in town. So if you’re looking to support a small business in Boulder, that’s it! I’d also head into Efrain’s, T/aco, and Centro.

Of course if you’re in Colorado, you have to take a good hike, or ski in the winter. You can’t go wrong with some outdoor activities. Colorado truly has it all.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Art is scary! Without my family pushing me to try it out and go for it, I’d never be sitting here writing this. When I first started out, I painted a leather jacket for my boyfriend (now fiancé). He wore that jacket everywhere- and boy do I mean everywhere. He told anyone who listened that I painted that jacket and begged me to make business cards to pass out. I had just finished my masters degree and was looking for a job and made some cards for fun as a possible hobby. He kept a stack in his car to pass out to anyone he could. I’m not kidding; he gave friends of friends and strangers my phone number so they could text me asking if I could paint for them. I never in a million years would have pursued a career in art had he and my parents not pushed so hard for me to do it. I had major imposter syndrome and didn’t think my work would really be able to hold its own and never thought that I’d be able to do this full time. Support systems so wildly important and so necessary. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be some crazy artist without them!

Website: zavalabespoke.com

Instagram: @zavalabespoke

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zavalabespoke/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUsJJM6Z58Ps55h9WmveTkQ

Other: Follow us on TikTok @ZavalaBespoke

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.