Lorien Stern tells us why she was lucky enough capitalising on family connections with a junk yard, her top five art crushes right now, helping to start a gallery with her sister on the other side of the world, and how a misunderstanding of an in-class assignment at school lead to creating amazing work in the future!
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?
After I graduated from California College of the Arts in 2013 I moved to Los Angeles to intern with the Art Department at Abso Lutely Productions and to work as an artist assistant for Ruby Neri. Both experiences were very enjoyable, but they also helped me realize how much I wanted to be working on my own art.
My family owns some desert property 150 miles east of LA that has served as a junk yard and place to store large equipment since 1990. There are several broken down trailers, cars, boats, shipping containers, and other stuff you can get from government liquidation auctions in various stages of repair. When I was a younger, I hated going to the land. I thought of it as a hot place where I sat in the car, waiting to leave. When I revisited the property in high school, and the collection of junk had grown, I came to appreciate it’s uniqueness and the land became one of my favorite places to visit. Shortly before moving to LA, my brother and his fiancé had moved out to the desert property and my visits to the land increased, eventually convincing me and my boyfriend to move out. We renovated an old trailer to live in, and turned a shipping container that used to be a military control room into my ceramics studio. Eventually we would have a screen printing studio, a photo room, music studio, and a heat press room. I have been doing my own art full time ever since we moved out here, almost three ago years now.
Who are your top five art crushes right now?
1. Matt Furie has been one of my favorite artists since high school. I love the wide range of colors he uses for his prolific cast of characters.
Any passion projects you would like to share?
Right now I am helping my sister start a gallery/boutique called Ventana Creative Collective in Martinborough, New Zealand. We will be selling items from small businesses across the globe, including; BFGF, Kindah Khalidy, Group Partner, Dusen Dusen, Floss Gloss and much much more. We will be hosting a variety of workshops from ring making to leather sandals. We will also offer kids workshops, sewing, and computer classes. The store opens July 9th with an art show and musical performances.
How did you develop your style as an artist and what tips would you have for others?
It became important to me to choose subject matter that made me feel happy and subjects that I wanted to learn more about. I made my first shark sculpture because I misunderstood an in-class assignment, where my instructor asked every one to make a 6” sphere, but I thought he said a “6 inch fear.” I made a walking shark, because I always thought it would be so freaky if sharks and whales could walk upright, onto land just as easily as we could swim in the ocean. I really enjoyed making it and that lead to a claymation, which lead to hundreds of shark sculptures. I enjoyed making the sharks in bright colors with goofy expressions, while learning about the species and how misunderstood they are.
What have been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it?
I made my first large ceramic shark with clay that is normally used for throwing small objects on the wheel. When I pulled my shark out of the kiln it was split into 5 pieces, and I was so bummed because I had spent weeks on it and really loved the piece. When I showed my instructor, he said to my disbelief, “we can repair it!” and thats when I learned about the wonders of two part epoxy and enamel. It was actually really fun and it ended up looking like a scarred shark, which I thought was kind of neat.
Whats in the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
I am going back and forth to my sister’s shop in New Zealand and will be at the opening on July 9th. I am in a dog-themed group show at Carlos Queso Gallery in Los Angeles July 16th and a solo show at Breakfast Gallery in Santa Barbara in January 2017. In March 2017 I am having a solo show at Ochi Projects in Los Angeles, where I am creating my dream ceramic cemetery with lots of animals, plants and colorful headstones.
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