Goddess Initiation_web
Interview with LAuruS Myth on the occasion of her solo exhibition Light and Soul Experiences in Natural and Cultural Landscapes at KALEID during the month of Aprl 2013.  Interview conducted by Lacey Bryant.KALEID:
Can you start out by telling us a little bit about how you came to be an artist? Did you have an inclination from an early age and family support or was it something you discovered later?

LAuruS:
I was always a creative person, making collages all over my room, painting, and mostly taking snapshot photography. However, I did not start to take art as a serious career possibility until college. At first I wanted to be an environmental scientist, or maybe marine biologist. So, at orientation day, I was told that if I wanted to pursue those majors that I would need to take a math placement test in about 20 minutes. Since I did not prepare myself for this, I asked which major could I do that didn’t involve taking a placement test. They replied with “Art” and so began my art career- unaware of the possibilities and opportunities ahead.

KALEID:
That’s great, it all started with taking a chance! You have mentioned before that your work is inspired a lot by your travels. Can you tell me a little more about how you came to travel, where you’ve gone and how it’s influenced your work?

LAuruS:
Sure, when I was younger, my father, an international traveler, encouraged us to experience other cultures. He brought our family to Japan and the Philippines where we got first hand experience meeting new cultures. During my undergraduate study, I traveled abroad to New Zealand where I studies art and learned how to create meaningful concepts and visuals through a variety of art forms. Living there for six months, I was able to engage with some Maori and Aboriginals in Australia. These people shared their visual culture with me so that we could celebrate their culture.
After my return from down under, my artwork really began to develop and find its role. I started first researching cultures I have experienced and cultures I could connect with. I have done series based on my Chinese and Celtic heritage- though I haven’t been to either countries, I felt a deep connection to understand these cultures and my identity through visual expression.
In 2010, I did a volunteer program for three months in Nepal, where I worked on a garden, and painted murals all over the rural community where I lived. Living here, I struggled to regain balance and then began to build anew. The energy and spiritual flux of the general region (Himalayas) is strong enough to show almost anyone the path to their own soul. Constant questioning and the search for a deeper self, this experience lead me inward. Upon my return, my work developed to communicate these deeper experiences of oneness and internal power.
My more recent travels have been to Egypt, Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, and Peru is next. The symbols in my paintings are derived from lots of research, and my first hand intimate interactions with these other cultures. Finding a deep connection to every culture that I permeate, I celebrate the variety of culture throughout painting as a hope to evoke a worldly sense of unity.

KALEID:
It sounds like you’ve had a lot of exciting experiences out in the world! You’ve talked a little about how the cultures you’re experienced and researched have played a role in your work. Tell us how you’re woven together cultural images with natural in your work for your solo show at KALEID, Light and Soul: Experiences in Natural and Cultural Landscapes. What are you drawn to and what connections do you see?

LAuruS:
Specifically in these paintings, I am expressing connections I have had with sacred spaces and natural landscapes in other places. For example, in Egypt, there is an amazing conglomeration of ancient and modern spirituality that is skewed across Cairo and Giza. From Mosques to Pyramids, these temples of new and old create the natural landscape across the cities. I explored these visual encounters in my piece “Patterns From Cairo” to which the center pattern is repeated from carvings I found in a Coptic Christian church in Old Cairo. In my piece “Celebrating Creations” I expose a collection of temples I have visited, from the Step Pyramids of Saqqara Egypt, to Hindu prayer sites in Nepal, to the Taj Mahal, and back to the Torii Gates marking entrances to temples of Japan. The fusion of natural and cultural comes through subtly here as I represent animal spirits from each site that I engaged with at each temple. I believe all of these sites were constructed as gateways for the people to connect to a higher power or their higher self. I find that it doesn’t matter which place temple you are at, but that you allow yourself to be realized within each unique environment- and thus our ability to celebrate each moment.

KALEID:
I like how your work expresses the mythic idea of the unity of opposites by mixing images of nature and technology, two things that we hold to be as distant from each other as can be but are in fact both expressing similar patterns and are two parts of a whole. Your various spiritual explorations throughout the world seem to have let you to see the common thread running through it all. Would you say that your work is a reflection of the modern world we live in where we are able to experience and compare a vast array of cultures, mythologies and technologies?

LAuruS:Laurus
Yes, actually that is a great way to summarize this series of works Lacey. It is always great to get feedback that reflects your artistic intention. I believe that once other people can start to understand and relay your art’s message thus communicate it to another, the body of work has been successful.

KALEID:
You’ve mentioned that another reoccurring theme in your work is to plant a seed. What does the seed represent to you?

LAuruS:
The seed is a metaphor that represents something to be nurtured, or an idea that has been waiting to sprout. My connection to the earth has grown stronger since I began gardening and growing food. I have learned a lot from my time in the soil and with plants.The same energy releases in your body when you touch the soil and earth, and when you receive a hug. I choose to share the message of our relationship with the plant world and revive the vision of its integral connection to our complex body and mental systems. When I think of the seed, I think of fertility and promotion of growth. I work with this theme because it so closely relates to our conscious development- it is not something that just happens, it develops based on how it is nurtured.

KALEID:
In your exhibit you worked with installation for the first time. How do you feel this added to the experience? How did you enjoy working with new materials?

LAuruS:
Given such a great space to let my mind and ideas expand, I really wanted to take advantage of the space and create an environment that the viewer can become engulfed within. After watching people interact with the work at the opening, I could tell that everyone had a different connection to the work. I spoke to a professor of mine who came to the show, she said that although my paintings reflect on deep connections and experiences, that the installation successfully created a deeper connection for the viewers something they could directly connect to. It was my vision to create a space that reflected my inspirations like gardening, landscape, culture to add a context to which my paintings were created from. In regards to the new materials, it all seemed really natural for me to form shape and composition in 3 dimensional space. Given space and a budget, I would really like to continue making innovative installations that spark thought and create interactive connections.

KALEID:
How did you arrive at acrylics as your chosen medium?

LAuruS:
Over the past four years I have been doing a lot of traveling- not just abroad but throughout the West Coast and other parts of the US. While some of my destinations are events where I display my artwork, others are native landscapes and national treasures. Though I started painting in oil, the conditions to which I carry my work in progress around are not fit for anything but Acrylic Paint. I use three kinds of Golden Acrylics: the Fluid Acrylics for super fast drying and glossy finish, the regular tube acrylics for a stable dry time and opaque consistency, and lastly Open Acrylics that can stay wet for up to three days depending on its applied thickness. Acrylic has become a very diverse medium as technology continues, to which goes well with the variety of processes I use to create my paintings.

KALEID:
Do you have any closing thoughts that you would like to leave us with?

LAuruS:
I guess I would like to thank KALEID for offering such a great opportunity for local artists. It is really important for culture to be developed in San Jose, and what better way to do it than through the expression of art! Thank you!

 

See More of LAuruS Myth’s work

 

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