Interview: Lauren Sauder

Lauren Sauder is a visual artist living and working in Philadelphia, PA. She received her BFA from Moore College of Art & Design. Her artwork is inspired by vast landscapes filled with structures, systems, and patterns. 

Talk a bit about your background. What and where did you study?

As a child, creating and making things always seemed like a necessity (cliché, I know!). But it is true, I always wanted my hands to be reproducing whatever imagery I was creating in my head. I never thought for a second I had artistic tendencies until the big question came and I had to decide what I wanted to study in college. Art was what I knew and what I was excited to continue studying. I took the leap and attended Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. I studied Fine Arts and Business.

Did you always focus on drawing and collage? If not, what kind of work did you produce previously?

Picking up a pencil and putting it to paper always felt natural to me. I am still drawn to the grainy texture graphite leaves behind and the resistance of the smooth paper. The materials are accessible, and I can practice just about anywhere. When I moved to the city to attend art school and I began really honing in on my interests, I began seeing the world around me as environments pieced together. Challenged to express this point of view through visual imagery, collage became my best friend. I was able to cut, tear, manipulate, and piece together new environments much like the activity that happens in our everyday lives. I wanted to skew imagery to aid people to question the “natural” environments we live in.

Is the choice to use these mediums related to your subject matter? How?

Most definitely! Collage and drawing allow me to literally create environments and juxtapose architecture and landscape together, much like we construct our habitats in everyday life.

Where does your interest in landscape and architecture stem from?

For a long time, I have tried to answer this question for myself. Really, I am just interested in how people strive to organize the environments we live in. We force structure into our daily lives constantly. 

Where do you find source material?

Most of my collage material comes from National Geographic magazines. I really challenge myself to use only print material and not reference images on the internet. In my process, my last step is to enlarge my collage by something around %1500. Using print material allows the viewer to see the CMYK print dots every image is composed of. It helps tell the story of the false environment.

Tell me a little about each different series you have done. Did you create each body of work separately or simultaneously?

I have a tendency to work in mini-series all stemming from the same concept and ideas. I enjoy challenging myself to find new ways to illustrate the same ideas. In my mind, it helps me see my ideas from multiple perspectives. Each mini-series come from each other. As I am working I am questioning my materials, my imagery and pushing myself to consider other art forms that can convey the same ideas. I currently am creating works of art with watercolor. In my mind, I am still drawing just with inks. I love abstracting natural land forms and collaging those shapes and textures together. Sometimes I wish that I could just work in one series for an extended period of time, but I like to think that I am just not done experimenting yet!

What do you do to overcome creative roadblocks?

Creative roadblocks are challenging, but with anything in life worth doing you are going to have your highs and lows. When I am feeling stuck, I tend to turn to places where I can fill my head with visual imagery, whether that be Pinterest, Instagram, or even just prints I have laying around my house. I also like to reach out to other friends who are artists that I can bounce ideas off of. It provides room for conversation and the opportunity for new ideas to grow.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017 (art-related)? Do you have any upcoming exhibitions, projects or collaborations you wish to share?

This year I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pursue a creative business. I am very excited to pursue more of a graphic design route with the hopes that my whole studio practice can come full circle. I have spent a lot of time studying design and using it as a tool to create very geometric and mathematical imagery. I want to offer myself the opportunity to explore that creative side in hopes that both processes, fine art and graphic art, can inform each other simultaneously and help me continue to grow as an artist.