Lauren Baker will be launching a new body of work at the iconic and newly refurbished club at The Ivy this evening.
Having previously exhibited her signature sculpture work at the Tate Modern and V&A, Baker will now be presenting her first solo show after two years. Set to feature are a range of sculptures, including a resin tiger skull painted in strikingly vibrant patterns, a crystal encrusted T- Rex head, a handful of notable neon works as well as the painted and embellished skulls for which she gained recognition from Vogue Magazine as “The Queen of Skulls” . The show also features intricate mosaic works that transform harsh everyday materials such as pins, needles, matches and thorns, presented in an antitheses of their original purpose.
Lauren, it’s great to have you on After Nyne. Tell us a little about the body of your work in your upcoming exhibition at the Ivy “Transition” and if or how the title is in anyway reflective of your own current journey as an artist.
Four years ago I sat in the Amazon jungle and had an epiphany that I should become an artist. Since then I’ve been on an incredible journey full of highs and lows and this collection is an expression of my journey. I’ve gone back to my mosaic roots yet I’ve evolved the diversity of materials. Introducing glass, plastic, wood and metal feels like a significant progression from the precious stones and crystals I’m known for. I’ve transformed every-day objects and the potential danger they have into abstract ethereal expressions of my thoughts and feelings.
The shards of broken glass and the burnt out matches, for instance, may represent times of struggle – yet they are presented with fluidity, movement, repetition and balance. As in life, whether we experience pleasure or pain – accepting the flow of both is imperative.
How do your “unorthodox” art-beginnings inform your work?
I didn’t go to art school. When I spent time with shamans in the Peruvian amazon I connected with nature. Inspired by this adventure in the jungle, I sometimes paint in deep turquoise mixed with vibrant colours and patterns. I am revealing my new tiger skull in this style and this piece will go on to be exhibited via Save Wild Tigers at The Club at Café Royal from 22nd Sept – 1 Oct and goes on to be auctioned at the tiger gala dinner on 9 Oct to raise funds for the charity initiative.
Many of the new works in TRANSITION were conceptualised in a dream-like vision, it is heartfelt. I have harnessed these feelings and strived through these pieces to express them in the ethereal aesthetic of the new creations.
Give us an insight to your creative process, do you choose the sculpture first or its design?
Sometimes I wake up and quickly scribble down the imagery from my dreams and then work out how to make the essence of that dream into a reality. Other times I have a specific message I’m trying to convey, for instance, with the theme of extinction, when creating my hand-painted tiger skull and crystal encrusted T Rex head, I consider the sculptural form first before tuning into the frequency that I want to explore with that piece.
Despite your signature medium being often recognised as sculpture, your artistic craft extends to a handful of mediums including painting and embellishment. Do you find self expression is easier through several mediums rather than just one?
What I value most of all is freedom. I don’t want to limit myself to one style or one medium. I experiment with a plethora of materials and techniques as I find this most enriching.
Skulls and animal heads usually seem to be your preferred “canvas” — what is it about these objects that appeals to you?
A core theme running through my work is the fragility of life. I express my thoughts and feelings on this topic through forms and textures. I’m revealing a crystal encrusted T Rex head sculpture in this show. I chose an extinct creature to highlight the inevitability of death. The piece aims to both exalt and pay homage to our fellow species.
How long on average does it take you to complete a piece?
My aura paintings are created over a week. My mosaic works such as the needles, matches, thorns, glass and crystal works take months of painstakingly repetitive work, which I find puts me in a meditative state of mind.
Is there a particular piece in TRANSITION that stands out to you as a favourite or has given you the most satisfaction personally/creatively?
‘When we met in the fourth dimension’, is an ethereal piece containing thousands of shards of glass. Hundreds of hours work goes into each meticulously detailed mosaic work and I get into a meditative state when creating these pieces. I get a buzz and sense of accomplishment adding the final piece of a very long (3 month) puzzle.
Lauren Baker will be exhibiting at The Ivy Club from 1st August until the 8th August.
The Club at The Ivy
9 West St, London, WC2H 9NE
Lauren Baker was speaking exclusively with After Nyne’s Arts Editor Luciana Garbarni (@LucPierra)