This is the second post in a new monthly series called, "In my next life" where I basically gawk at people whose jobs I'd love. See last month's with professional ballerina at the Royal Danish Ballet, Christina Michanek.
A few weeks ago, Luisa Brimble, a fantastic photographer based in Australia, showed a picture on Instagram of artist Laura Jones' studio. I was instantly (no pun intended) hooked. Laura paints florals in beautiful, bright colors and thus, her studio is a floral haven. I think I would be pleased as punch if this was my house.
I grew up in a pretty artistic household and at one point I had decided to be a painter when I grew up. I don't know when that decision was disrupted--perhaps school, sports, music? But never could I have imagined something like this. Laura's work takes the cake, right? I'm rarely tempted to actually buy a piece of art--I'm usually quite content to just post it on my Pinterest board--but I'm so absolutely drawn to her work. Check out the interview below.
Did you always want to be an artist? Why or why not?
I did, I have always made art and knew I would always want to make it. I didn't know if I'd actually become an artist but as I got older I realised that I could make it happen. Being an artist is really important to me now. I work hard at it because I believe that it is what I should be doing and because the world needs artists!
How did you get into painting?
I have painted ever since I was little. It has always come naturally to me although that's not to say it is easy. Painting is a very difficult thing to do because you are always trying to push yourself to make better work, and it is always hard to make space for it in your life around part time work.
As of late, you've been painting a lot of flowers. Why? What's the attraction?
I grew up in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia. There are a lot of beautiful gardens there and my mother always had flowers around the house. I have always loved them. When I was studying for a Masters in Art at the College of Fine Arts, I would bring big bunches of interesting leaves and flowers to the printmaking studio and make coloured etchings with them. I also started working in a flower shop part time to get me through uni. That was about 2005 and I have worked in flower shops ever since.
My most recent body of work is all about flowers because painting them just made a lot of sense all of a sudden. I had always done a little bit of flower painting here and there but I realised I should make a whole show about them. Flowers are very symbolic, reminding people about the transience of life, whilst also being very positive, happy things. They were good for the soul to paint and I hope that’s what people feel when they look at my flower paintings.
Were there people along the way in your field who you admired or helped you shaped the decision to be an artist?
I have so many. The most influential time was when I was at art school. Because I majored in printmaking, we often had a lot of artists come to the studios to do print projects. The students would assist the Master Printer (and our teacher), Michael Kempson, who would work alongside artists to help them make etchings and works on paper. I met so many painters during this time, and I would ask them about what they did and how they did it. It worked out that the first thing I needed to do was to get a studio. As soon as I graduated I found a studio and I have been a practising artist ever since.
Do you have a mantra or something you live by?
I can’t remember where I read this one but it helped me a lot when I was starting out and feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the potential in painting and where to begin! It was in my first studio, which was above an old pub in Western Sydney, and I remember reading it somewhere and then writing it on the wall, “There is only what you do and what you don’t do.”
My interpretation was to do the work, one painting at a time. Each painting will be better than the last and you will learn something from everything you do.
What's your favorite part about your job?
The actual process of making things. I am so interested and engaged in what I do, from preparing a surface to paint on, to applying the paint, to painting over something that doesn’t work, to making decisions about what to do next, or even just rearranging my studio. I love looking at something and then trying to describe it with my hands. I really enjoy everything about making work in my studio.
How do you juggle the balance of life/work?
I work all the time, and just get things done. I could probably cook and exercise more but I just love working whether it be at the studio or the flower shop. I socialise a lot and go to lots of art openings. I think I manage to squeeze everything in by working long hours and not watching tv. Life is a constant struggle for balance I suppose.
Is there anything you could do without? I could live without living in the city I think. One day, maybe soon, I'd like to go where there's more green.
What's one of the most memorable moments of your career so far?
My recent show is probably top of the list. I really felt so happy with my paintings, and the opening was a huge success.
Being selected as a Finalist for the Doug Moran Prizefor Portraiture- it’s Australia’s richest portrait prize and to be showing with so many other great artists including some of my good friends was wonderful.
Working with Grantpirrie Gallery as their Master Printmaker was amazing too. Also going to the New York Studio School to do a drawing course. There’s too many, and I can’t wait to keep working on more.
If you weren't painting, what would you be doing?
I would probably be travelling right now. Like a gypsy!
Thank you, Laura, for participating in In My Next Life. Don't you just love her? I love the part about hoping her paintings speak to your soul. The answer is yes. YES! Flowers do so much for the soul and I'd love to be surrounded by them like that. If you happen to be in Australia, she has a show right now until the 15th at the Maunsell Wickes Gallery in Paddington. More info here.
And are you looking at the floral print on the chair? It's from Edit. Isn't the matching chair/skirt lovely?
Did you ever want to be a painter? What would you do if you could do anything in the world? Speak up!