We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsey Warren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsey, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factors behind my success are hard work and resilience. These sound obvious but are incredibly difficult to maintain year after year amongst constant self-doubt and repeated rejection. I have never been interested in or good at marketing myself or my work, which is not typically a recipe for success. However, I have always had the willpower to work towards invisible goals and the ability to persist despite rejections and setbacks that far outnumber the number of successes and I have been lucky enough to see that dedication pay off. I define my success as being able to make paintings as my primary career. I approach my work as though I always have a deadline so that when an opportunity presents itself I am ready to say yes! I have yet to run out of ideas. With a camera (phone) always in my pocket, I am constantly collecting source material for my paintings and I treat almost every day as a work day. I teach part-time and do some occasional design work to ensure that I have a somewhat consistent income for the months where I don’t sell any art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I make oil paintings using an arrangement of shapes to construct images of moments I experience during daily activities. I capture observations using photographs, later comparing them to my memory of the time, resulting in modified representations of specific spaces. The essential components of each image are discovered through building up layers of paint while constantly adding and subtracting visual elements and details. Color and proportions are revised until the image most closely reflects my perception. I am constantly aware of the distinct colors and light within each environment and how these atmospheric differences alter the way we experience and interact with the urban landscape. The paintings are visual responses to my past and current homes and stem from observations of basic daily encounters that are commonly overlooked. Since returning to Los Angeles in 2015, I have been focusing on representing the magical light and diverse environments of this city, resulting in portraits of viewpoints and neighborhoods that I frequent and love. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I grew up in a world of creatives. The arts were part of my everyday life from a young age and I decided to study Visual Art when I realized I couldn’t imagine continuing my education without it. I attended Boston University, earning a BFA in 2004 and MFA in 2008. I moved to NYC in 2012 and then back to LA in 2015. Since completing graduate school, I have tried to make painting my primary focus with varying degrees of success. I have taught at the college level at five schools, in four different states, including one academic year at Indiana University. I have also worked as a restaurant server and graphic designer to make ends meet. All of these experiences taught me that there is never enough time and it’s necessary to make lots of sacrifices to achieve my artistic goals. Sometimes that sacrifice included turning down teaching jobs and often it means working seven days a week. Additionally, I have learned that teaching and/or doing design work is necessary for me to maintain a sense of accomplishment and contribution. I am currently represented by George Billis Gallery LA and had my first solo show there in September 2020. My paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States with work in recent shows in New York City, Los Angeles and Laguna Beach. While living in NYC I was a studio artist in Chashama’s Workspace Program and a participant in the Bronx Museum’s AIM program. I also occasionally paint murals which have been installed in Boston and New York City. My Los Angeles studio is located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Imagining a pre or post-pandemic world, when I entertain people who have never been to LA before, I take them to the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades followed by lunch at the Reel Inn in Malibu and a walk on the beach. For dinner we would go to LASA in Chinatown, somewhere fun in the Little Tokyo mall, or Bavel in DTLA for a fancier night. The next day I would take them for a walk or bike ride along the LA river and brunch at Spoke Cafe or Salazar in Frog Town. If my visitors like music I try to take them to the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theater and if they like baseball Dodger Stadium is a must. If we have more time or for a second visit, The Huntington Library and Gardens is a favorite place to visit, especially the Desert Garden. I also like to suggest an architectural home tour like the Stahl House, Eames House or Hollyhock House, a local hike, and a night out in my neighborhood including bowling at Highland Park Bowl and drinks at the Hermosillo.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been fortunate to have several mentors over the years who have helped shape my career and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support. However, the person who deserves the most recognition is my mom Robin. She has provided the strongest example of perseverance and generosity through her own actions as well as her support of mine. I would not be where I am today without her love and encouragement. I credit my mom with exposing me to the arts as a child and continuing to believe in me throughout my development without challenging my decision to pursue my passion. Despite its apparent impracticality as a sustainable career, my mom has applauded each small success and never let me forget how important each personal and professional accomplishment was along the way.