We had the good fortune of connecting with Louise Androlia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Louise, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Growing up as undiagnosed Autistic, I was always desperately looking for a way to explain my perception of the world to others. Creating and making things was, and still is the only way I know how to process the world or my own feelings.
My primary interests have always been about observing and then playing with what I’ve found – Translating my experience into another form.
Making spells and potions, creating kingdoms for bugs and pets, playing piano and making up songs when I was a child became preferences in art, photography, psychology and classics at school.
I dropped out of Art college and spent most of my 20’s chronically ill. I learned that it was going to be essential for me to have a career that involved being able to structure my time around the things that I need to have in place to function day to day. I had to be creative.
For a while, as I was running all over the place trying to find myself, I also ran away from painting, and in the last twenty years I worked as a nanny, a latex clothing fit assistant, a massage therapist, a psychic tarot reader and run my own luxury lingerie and accessories brand. Although I’ve worked in a lot of different ways, they have all been creative in some sense, whether that was teaching kids how to make art, learning how to pattern cut clothing or nurturing others in a creative way.
I’m fortunate that a lot of opportunities arose for me to end up in creative environments, as well as having assistance + support from friends and family to be able to stay afloat. I returned to painting and illustration in the last five years and it feels good to be home.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are two ways that I work. One is working directly with clients as an illustrator and designer, and the other is making fine art as purely a personal outlet and selling original pieces. I have an equal enjoyment for both sides. One enables me to connect with others and the other to connect with myself.
With my own fine art projects, they are all some form of self portrait, whether figuratively via a nude drawing or introspectively via a photo that I have taken and painted into. I paint as a form of processing my feelings and my sensory experience. I love to paint on nature photographs, amping up the colours to show how my synesthesia is experienced. I narrate my life experience into my work, scattering poems in pencil or hiding great love stories underneath bigger paintings. When I am overwhelmed by my feelings or senses I will get into a painting and wait for the words to rush through. It’s the best therapy I know.
When I work with clients for illustration I’ve always really loved being part of someone else’s vision, and collaborating one on one with others to help their projects come to life is a joy for me. Since my brain is purely visual, I listen and start to get a floating vision forming around me. I find it so exciting to be able to give back to people something they had no idea how to bring to life on their own.
I’ve been in creative industries now for over 15 years and believe that building up contacts and sharing ideas with friends has been the main thing that has helped me reach the position I am in now, and I also love seeing how my past careers have made an input, even when I was in an entirely different industry. It reminds me that all parts of our lives, even the challenging ones are threads that weave everything together. I also have been given a lot of support as I’ve pursued my interests, I know that doors have been opened because of certain privileges I have.
The biggest challenge as a freelancer is of course regular income and uncertainty. I think an important thing is to not hold yourself to punishing standards or goals, dictated by comparing yourself to others or societies idea of success. I’ve always enjoyed having jobs on the side to support me and found that doing something alongside my artistic work was a helpful balance as well as made me more inspired to create when I could.
I’m not a natural networker and don’t have the capacity to be in the ‘hustle’ as I work around my disability – But what I have is a good ‘word of mouth’ clientele from years of hard work and some really kind and genuine people in my social circuit. I still have people now who will buy art from me that came to know me because they purchased a pair of handmade panties from me in 2008. One of my long-term clients for illustration came to me for a Tarot reading ten years ago and one of my friends who connects me with some of my design work used to be a massage client of mine. I regularly paint portraits of people I have met over the years. I love that people think of me when they have an idea or want to brainstorm with someone who has a brain works a little differently to theirs.
Whilst I’ve worked with some bigger brands in the last couple of years, my favourite thing is always the person that emails me wanting help with a logo, an illustration for their perfume branding, a portrait for their website, or a cover for their EP or self published book. I like collaboration and the excitement that comes from seeing someone launch their passion project and know I was a part of it. I’m not someone who relates to the idea of climbing a ladder of success or someone who sets career goals. I’m just happy if I can pay my bills and help people along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favourite thing about LA is being able to be outside most of the time and access to all sorts of nature. I moved here from London with the intention of it being the middle route back to living in the countryside.
Walking is my favourite way to see ins and outs of this city, whether it is up and down secret staircases on the east side or hiking in all our parks. I love Griffith park and going in all directions to get different views of the city, exploring that park is like neuroplasticity, every walk rewires a bit of your brain. I watch the hawks circling above and the coyotes and deer and then wind back down via my favourite fantasy homes in the Los feliz hills.
For a drink I like anywhere where you get a taste of old Hollywood like Musso & Frank but my favourite night activity is to watch Cinespia movie showings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery or to find a spot up high to watch the sunset or moon rise.
A good trip to LA also has to involve a drive out to Big Bear to the forest or to Joshua Tree to experience the desert silence, or of course a drive up to a secret Malibu beach spot.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My best friend Laetitia Wajnapel who has been through it all with me.