A ‘Sick’ Way to Draw: Studio Visit with Laurie Lipton

by CaroPosted on

The dark and insanely detailed drawings of Laurie Lipton mix elements from different eras of art and time, including her own surreal version of reality.  When asked her to describe her meticulous, cross-hatching in one word,  she answered, “sick” (with a grin).  She has exhibited and lived all over the world from Holland, Germany, France, and recently London, where she spent time with the likes of Terry Gilliam, one of her favorite creatives. Since her 2011 “Carnival of the Dead” series (covered here) inspired by Day of the Dead celebrations, friends traditionally present her with skulls that are strung about her current studio in Los Angeles.  When we visited with her, Lipton shared her latest series that explores technology, the fabric of the humorous dystopia she portrays. She will exhibit the art discussed here at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles next year.

HF: Is there a specific theme behind the pieces you are working on here? 

LL: I am currently exploring society’s relationship to technology and how it’s uniting us while simultaneously disconnecting everyone from each other. I am also being driven crazy by wires, in my home and in my work.

HF: How is what you’re working on now different from past work or exhibitions?

LL: It is getting bigger. Somebody stop me!!!

HF: Your art has an air of Futurism about it, such as in your renderings of technology. Is this something you think about? If you had to put a time stamp on it, would it be set in the future or present day?

LL: If I had to put a “time stamp” on my work, I’d be restricting it. I hope it can transcend “time” and speak to everyone… or at least outlast me and my time.

HF: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil immediately comes to my mind when I look at this drawing (above).  Any pieces of literature or film that have had an affect on you, or recently enjoyed? 

LL: I adore Terry Gilliam’s films. I also like the films of Powell & Pressburger, Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, & Elia Kazan. Authors that have affected me profoundly are the Brontes, Goethe, Thomas Mann, the Brothers Grimm, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, H.G. Wells, Sophocles, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Poe, Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Doris Lessing, & Carson Mc Cullers to name a few (I like to read).

HF: You mentioned you love Goya, and recently gave a lecture about how James Ensor inspires you. I found this interesting because your work is impressionistic in its composition, but controlled in its execution. What is it about their art that appeals to you?

LL: They expressed their emotions and their era through symbolism. It’s not “realism”, it’s not “surrealism”… they were able to touch the truth lurking behind the day to day reality. That is what I hope to achieve.

HF: Tell us about your process a little bit. Do you plan things very carefully, go with the flow, or a combination of both?

LL: I get a general idea & plot it out on the paper. As I get more & more into the detail, the work begins to change and grow. Sometimes the image goes places I hadn’t thought of… so it’s a bit of both.

HF: Where can we see your art in the near future?

LL: You can see my work now & in the near future at both Ace Galleries (9430 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills CA 90212 and At The Wilshire Tower, 5514 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036). You can also see my newest work online and keep in touch by joining my Facebook page.

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