name: Lauren
surname: Natvig
year of birth: 1992
country: United States


by SilentShout-030


Q1: When did you start making art?
I always had creative tendencies as a child, building little houses out of shoe boxes for figurines and rigging up strange “entertainment boxes” for family pets. I always enjoyed the drawing assignments most in elementary school and quickly became the go-to-girl anytime the other kids wanted something specific drawn for them but didn’t quite know how to do it themselves. My brother Karac was actually the biggest catalyst for me I think as far as drawing was concerned. He was in middle school about the time that Anime was starting to get more attention in the states and was constantly drawing Dragon Ball Z and Final Fantasy characters. I would sit and watch him draw, and his ability to conjure to mind an image and make it a reality just blew me away. As he got older he gravitated more toward music, but I craved so desperately that ability to take what was in my head and bring it to life on paper. I really loved animals, mythical birds and beasts and (to this day still!) Pokemon, and would spend my class time drawing made up creatures. I didn’t begin to take art seriously until about 7th/8th grade when the catalyst bug bit again and I got really big into Japanese anime. The sleekness of the lines, and emphasis on gracefulness, paired with the over-the-top characters, focus on fashion, and just general coolness it oozed was something that I was not used to seeing and in the same way that a child watches cartoons and wants to be able to draw the characters, I found myself wanting to make my own characters and stories as well. I have since strayed away from it in an attempt to find my own style, and out of a desire to convey more serious concepts as I have become older and more interested in philosophy, spirituality and human nature. Inevitably some remnants are bound to always remain.

Q2: What does inspire you?
Like I said earlier, I have always been really interested in animals. People never really seemed very captivating to me, as I was made fun of quite a lot in school as a child, so I gravitated more toward animals as they seemed so gentle and free of judgement. I especially loved (and still love) birds of all kinds. There was a spirit of freedom and magic I always felt watching birds and they continue to be one of my favorite things to draw. Nature is the most common subject depicted in art and I think that fact alone says a lot about humans and our relationship (or lack there of) with nature. Inspiration is a tricky thing that I think most artists have trouble with. I tend to suffer from artists block a lot, but I find most times, when it comes, it comes. When you force yourself to do something with the anticipation of the final result instead of enjoying the process, rarely does any good come of it. I find some good things to do when your creative juices are virtually non existent, are to browse around and look at other art, watch music videos, watch a movie or listen to lectures on youtube. I tend to draw things that reflect my current emotional state and are a somewhat symbolic narrative of things that are going on in my life or profound realizations that I have made, so self-reflection is a big (if not the biggest) inspiration to me as well.

Q3: What are your techniques?
I tend to follow the same sort of procedure for most of my projects, but they almost always start with tracing paper. I draw my rough draft on tracing paper making sure to be pretty definite on things like body outlines and facial features, but being simple and rough in areas that involve things like hair, fur, foliage, clouds, etc. as these things are #1 – very tedious to transfer to final paper and #2 – more appealing when done spontaneously and fresh from the pencil as oppose to being rigid and indefinite due to tracing. If I am using paper, I transfer using a light box (which is where the tracing paper comes in handy as it is easy to see through and make any necessary tilts and adjustments) If I am using illustration board (which is what I have gravitated toward using now) I make my own “carbon” paper with another sheet of tracing paper and a large stick of graphite as I’ve found carbon paper actually makes it very hard to erase your marks. I also spray some rubbing alcohol on the sheet once I’ve finished covering it with graphite. This helps to dissolve and liquify the graphite, at which point I rub it down with a paper towel to make sure every part of the paper is covered. I place my rough draft over the board and make sure everything is positioned correctly and gently tape it, wrapping around to the back of the board (with painters tape or Scotch magic tape) I then transfer using a colored ballpoint pen. It’s best to peek periodically to make sure that your image is transferring. After that, I essentially go in and re-draw everything, adding in all of the hair, perfecting lines and adding details. The inking process is next, and becomes essentially another level of refinement and detail adding. I typically do textural watercolor backgrounds, so after Ive erased all of the non essential pencil lines, I go in with masking fluid (which is the worst smelling thing on the planet) and cover all of the things I don’t want the watercolor to get on using (of all things) a plastic pen cap. The triangular tip makes it good for both detailed and broad coverage. for large spaces, I cover it in painters tape and then burnish the edges so nothing can seep under, and then make sure the edges are sealed with the masking fluid. Watercolor brings its own challenges, but it is a medium that is easy to manipulate and change as you see fit. I use salt, rubbing alcohol, Saran wrap, plastic bags and strategically placed paint lifting to create texture. For the most part, I use colored pencil (Prismacolor) on foreground figures. I won’t cover every last little thing, but if anyone has questions or would like some tips, feel free to contact me!

Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
If I were to choose the first word that pops out at me looking at my drawings without attachment, that word would probably be “longing”. Longing for connection, longing for something bigger, brighter, more beautiful, more fulfilling. As I stated before, I tend to do a lot of things based around my emotional state at the time, and in retrospect, I suppose the common denominator would be just that; longing. I have frequently entertained the idea of centering my projects around ideas that are less personal and more universal, more constructive and uplifting, but as of late every time I try, the projects fail! It’s a bummer when it happens, but I bear in mind that I have to keep trying.

Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I tend to gravitate toward the same groups of colors for some reason; brown/green/gold and then there’s purple/red/orange there’s a few others I stick with a lot as well but I think I find them soothing. I’ve never really been a big fan of stark/ straight out of the tube colors. I’ve always seen it as campy and simple. Visually I enjoy things that have a great deal of contrast, lots of dark with muted mids and couple of spots of vibrant saturated color. I think it creates a really balanced and complete image that is fun to look at.

Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
I have always been terrible about keeping a sketchbook, and consequently, my drawing ability has suffered. I’ve always been more of a memory drawer and have a great deal of respect for people who can take an image straight from their imagination and do it without any reference. This is something that takes a great deal of practice and knowledge of your subject, but is knowledge you will not attain unless you draw…ALOT. I try to use reference as little as possible, looking at an image, studying it, and then closing it out immediately as it feels like cheating to me, but consequently the quality of my work suffers because of that lack of knowledge, so yeah, keeping a sketchbook would be #1, that aside, I think I also need to work on my values, adding in more intense darks, and lighter highlights, everything still seems wishy washy to me now.

Q7: Do you have any projects for the future?
I always do things one at a time, so as soon as one drawing is finished, I begin thinking about what I am going to do next. I would like to get into doing more sculpture and perhaps mask making in the future.

Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of SilentShout-030.
Reflective, Corrective, Selective X3

Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
I dont have a digital file of the oldest drawing I have on hand, but the oldest thing I have online is this thing HERE from September of 2007. I did it during a really rough time in my life, but it was done more for fun than anything expressive. It’s pretty goofy, but I still have a soft spot for it deep down. Ha ha

Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
A lot I hope! I still have many of the same aesthetic preferences, but hopefully I’ve gained the ability to convey that in a more mature manner.

Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
Art for me is neither of those things. I would say it is more a way to explore reality than escape it. With every person, every creature, every plant, pond, or plane, whatever you draw, you learn a little bit more about it, and you gain an appreciation for it that I don’t think a lot of people get to experience. With every subtle curve of a whales fin or the tiny, radiating, nebulous spokes in an iris, you get to know things on a macro level. You get to look at, and I mean really look at, the things that most people overlook, and you get to hold them in your mind as a silent secret between you and the subject. My husband will never see his face the same way I see his face, and I get a silent joy from that. I struggled for a good while with the feeling of “Visual art is so useless. It’s the most vain and materialistic of the arts, why did I have to get stuck with it?” and then one day I was watching the opening “Circle of life” sequence in the Broadway Lion King play, and all of the actors walked out through the isles, waving their paper birds around and paper mache’ antelopes were jumping to the stage. I saw in the faces of the audience a look of childish wonder, and then it hit me. The job of the artist is to wake the people up, it’s to instill wonder in the most immediate and effective of the senses; sight. My expression now may be selfish, but in time I want it to help people, I want it to make them remember what is important. I want to help them remember the feeling of wonder.

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