“Natural Beauties” – An interview with Lola

by Annie OwensPosted on

Lola is a multi layered artist, living and creating in Los Angeles, CA. Her work has graced gallery walls throughout the US and abroad since 2001. Lola’s darkly hued oil paintings continue to mesmerize for reasons hard to explain. It could be that the dark tones miss lead one to assume somber subject matter but in fact the intentions behind the work are of an optimistic and gentle nature. It is this dichotomy which makes the mystery all the more satisfying to uncover. Sentiments conveyed through her color palette and nearly featureless characters send familiar messages which aren’t obvious at first, or even second glance. But these mysteries are exactly what kept me inquisitively coming back for to look again and again.

Lola is busily preparing for her next solo exhibit “Natural Beauties” at CoproNason Gallery, opening March 7th but graciously took the time, despite a terrible cold, to speak with us

So how many pieces are going into the “Natural Beauties” show and what inspired the show title?

For this show I’m estimating 10 pieces, though I can’t say for certain. I’ve had to work differently with this particular show (meticulously one at a time), due to immediate ad deadlines and right after completing a year long body of work which was finally unveiled in October. my painting process is slow and obsessive, so we’ll see what happens.


Midnight Distraction at the Healing Factory

The concept for “Natural Beauties” was something I came up with early on last year, but had to keep off to the side until it’s time. I really wanted to explore the concept of inner awareness and mental progress in the selfless soul. in a way it continues from where the Wondermental collection left off.

I’m very intrigued by human connection, and I love to spend time on pieces that can celebrate good energies. I had been researching a handful of animals for reference to help portray a more realistic evolution in the work, when I came across some rather anomalous things. Graphically odd, but harmless and vulnerable. I knew then that I wanted to work towards a narrative for both the innocent creatures who come into this world “different”, and those who have that heart which seeks to help them.


The Out Pour
Beauty is a word that we immediately associate with physical attributes. Here in L.A. there are gorgeous people every which way. but my opinion, it’s a rare and special element that makes us truly beautiful. It’s what we are born with, and how we nurture and share it. Be it doctors and nurses, social workers, volunteers, etc. I have been lucky to find a few special people in my lifetime, and from a parental perspective I like to think I give of myself this way too to my own little love muffins who are often grouchy and angsty, but always need love and reassurance. Things, which define “natural beauty”, are things I want to seek both in real life and the paintings alike. I’m having fun with it!


The Out Pour (detail)
You have a very serene and gentle outlook, which is obviously reflected in your work and of course in the upcoming show. In some of your work, the hues for the skies and backgrounds provide a contrasting darkness to the sweet sort of innocence going on in the painting, creating a deeper mystery but not necessarily ominous. Can you talk about that a little bit?


work in progress

With my last body of work and now into this one, it started as an idea, and a notebook/computer folder full of text that began a narrative even before any of the work had been started. I knew I wanted to paint about escape and adventure, and doing so in the nighttime seemed most appropriate. Definitely not a dark or threatening scenario, but more to simulate the nervousness you get when going into the unknown for the first time. I like to think of an artist’s pallet as it’s own sort of character, delivering an equal amount of stimulation just as the content itself?


The Out Pour (detail)

I read that you used to do tattoos? I was wondering if it’s something that you’re still attracted to ever return to doing? What’s the last tattoo you had done on yourself and do you think you’ll ever have full sleeves?


work in progress
I was a tattooist in the late 90’s. I was only 23, and had just moved back to Riverside from living in Santa Rosa and San Francisco for 2 yrs or so. I needed a job! I had never thought about this as something I would ever pursue, but a friend of mine offered me an apprenticeship that sparked my quick love affair in that field of art. I do think about it, and often wonder if I would be able to return if my painting career were to come to a stand still. I would have to practice, maybe call up my old friends who let me try things back in the day!


stocking up on antique frames
I haven’t gotten any [tattoo] work done lately. Probably about 5 or 6 years ago. When I was younger, I wanted to be Japanese. And as I grew older I became fascinated with the culture, and eventually planned and executed a few Japanese inspired tattoos on myself from some great talented artists I had met while working. Only one of them is finished, the other is in a rather painful spot that keeps me away for now. I have a lot of sad and unattractive tattoos that like to hide until summer time. I’ve been curious about tattoo removal more these days and plan to try it in the future, perhaps when it’s less expensive and, fingers crossed, magically less painful.


Natures Hand Guide
How did you make the leap from tattooing to doing art?

I painted at work, and once I had my daughter Maya I had the chance to be at home and find a real routine with it. About a year later, I had my first exhibit.


(sketch on wood) The Out Pour
This is such a typical “slam book” interview question but do you have a dream project and what would it be?

Ha-ha, slambooks! what a teenage memory…I definitely have some things I’d like to accomplish, some are more of an enterprise than others… those I’ll keep under the radar until they have at least seeded with the chance at life. The closest in-sight venture is a book project of the paintings with all of the behind the scenes text. I’m also conjuring ideas with my sister and her film degree to give all of my talented friends more spotlight.


(beginning stages) The Out Pour
Some of your work is ginormous and cut into shapes and there are some surprising tiny details found in your work that can only be seen up close. I really like that and noticed it when I saw your piece at the Riverside museum last July during Baby Tattooville. And then your tiny paintings are like little detailed vignettes encapsulated in a very small space. I’m curious about your process technically, and what your power tool collection must look like.

I have been painting larger these days. It’s nice because I have more time to plan and research and spend time with each one. Perspective navigates me close (smile, I’m near sighted), so things tend to find themselves small and personal in each painting. If you find yourself pulled in, then you can eliminate everything outside of your peripheral and stay there for a minute.


studio
I love to research my ideas. Film and books are the first basis of inspiration I gravitate towards. I don’t always work from sketches, but I methodically sketch right onto the surface. I’m painting with acrylics right now, (oils are in my near future) on panels that I cut to fit for each frame. Masonite allows me to use dry brush techniques easily and I paint with many many thin layers. I also love teeny tiny brushes. My power tool collection consists of only one jigsaw, pretty sad and lonely. But my dad is only an hour away and he has a grand tool collection to suit any needs I might come across.

I see that “Superschool,” a group show you’ve curated, featuring an impressive line up, is also opening in gallery 2 at Copro the same night as your solo show opening. How did this work itself out and how did you arrive at the concept?


studioI’m very humbled to be showing work amongst my peers who were gifted such talent. I can’t take full credit for this show, it was a group concept, presented by Gary Pressman, which we watered and fed until it started growing. I’m fortunate to know such talented peoples. “Superschool” is explanatory to how I feel here in this art Mecca of Los Angeles. We are living history just going through life amongst this explosion of technically visual modern day masters. We form relationships with one another, we share, and we show our work alongside our friends, our inspirations, our teachers. Like a sort of college of life, only this is where we mark our stamp and have to survive simultaneously. I’m simply blown to the skies with so many artists today and thank them for being here, keeping me on my toes, and helping me to strive in my life’s calling.


progress shot


furry inspiration

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