Lauren, we love your unique style of artwork - where do you get your inspiration from?
Thanks so much! I think it’s quite eclectic. Style-wise, I think I’m heavily influenced by wood and lino-cutting techniques. I’ve got a history of printmaking in this way, and my drawings emulate that process to some extent. I tend to start with the bold black shape, and then carve my white lines into it. I definitely enjoy primarily working in black and white, but sometimes add a wash of colour to my work.
Some of the more abstract shapes and forms certainly have a nod to Matisse, but also natural forms and botanical shapes. I’d also say traditional tattoo iconography plays its part too.
We know that you make illustrations for interior spaces, how did interior design become an interest of yours?
For me, creating visually appealing interiors links naturally with my creative being. I’ve always been inclined to bring interest, balance, and appeal to my own homes. I find it really grounding to do this. Then, as an extension to this, when I’m creating a new illustration or pattern work my mind buzzes on all the possible applications for this art. Whether it be wallpaper, rugs, or ceramics, I think illustration can bring such an amazing level of personality and individuality to space.
Do you think we now care much more about how our home environment makes us feel after 3x lockdowns?
For sure. Our homes have never been so lived in! They are now our offices, our studios even our schools. Creating spaces that function efficiently and dynamically for all these different tasks, whilst also remaining a sanctuary and safe space for peace and relaxation is quite the juggle.
What is crucial to making you feel comfy at home?
For me, it’s key to create cosiness. I like a well-balanced mix of low-level lighting and lots of soft cushions and warm blankets too. I like having books to hand for an impromptu reading session, music on, and often a few candles in the evening.
Would you encourage illustration and making art a way to keep our mental health in check?
If art is your bag, yes, 100%! I left my job last year at the start of lockdown and having the time to draw every day was my salvation. Drawing gave me something to gently focus on without the need to rush.
Top lockdown survival tip?
Take your foot off the pedal of productivity. It’s totally unsustainable to expect yourself to be smashing your to-do lists every day. Take it easy, spend more time ‘off’. Get outside when you can and take some deep full breaths of fresh air.
We love your coverage of tattoos! Next up for you?
Thanks so much! I’ve got an appointment to get both of my palms tattooed by a friend, Jon at Dust & Bones in Plymouth. Of course, it’s been put back a few times now but hopefully, we’ll be able to get to it this year sometime. Honestly, I don’t mind that it’s been put off since I know it’ll hurt like all hell!
Do you feel like being tattooed is a way of you extending your expression?
In some ways, I suppose having tattoos does proclaim my identity as a creative person. But I’ve never really thought of it that way. For me, getting tattooed over the years has enabled me to feel increasingly at home in my own body. My tattoos are really only about me, and how I gain confidence and feel good about myself.
Does caring for your tattoos come into your self-care routine?
I’m quite into my skincare and making time to take care of myself in that way. I’m proud of my tattoo work so definitely give it the attention it deserves with good, natural moisturisers and sun protection.
After trying our range of products, is there a particular product that you like the most and why?
I love the highlighting oil! It’s really easy to apply. I’ve been using it every day after a morning shower, misting it all over my skin, and then gently rubbing it in. The scent is hard to describe, kinda coconutty, kinda zesty, it’s great. It’s so lightweight it soaks in really quickly for an oil and leaves my skin glowy and nourished. I think it’ll be great to use in summer too!
I’ve also really been enjoying the vibrancy serum. I actually have been keeping it on my desk for quick use throughout the day. It is really nice on my hands and the scent is super uplifting so it’s good for a mid-afternoon wake-up.
Aside from our current range of products, is there anything else you would like to see from Stories and Ink this year?
How about some packaging-free options? Some soaps or some solid moisturising or exfoliating products would be great. I’m a fan of the zero-waste movement, by no means am I there yet, but I do try and limit my ‘throwaway’ amount as much as possible, as there really is no ‘away’ on our beautiful planet!