Briefly describe the work you do.
My work is a continued and varied exploration of the duality and potential visual intrigue of materials. The materials that I chose to manipulate rely on the optical seduction of their superficial, synthetic, and slick surfaces. These “tease” paintings as I call them pull you in with heir sensuous surfaces and yet repel you with their reflective nature. Their simple formal compositions highlight these materials and best illustrate their tactility in their pared down arrangements, I see the vinyl as a transforming medium that emphasizes the literal physical presence of objects and forces the viewer to perceive physical reality of the object and its existence in his or her space. The attitude and style of the materials create flashy objects that call attention to themselves. I want the pieces to appear to be tough and assertive, yet gentle, familiar, and inviting thereby initiating a dialogue with the viewer. Ultimately I strive to create works that are embedded with a sense of joy, and are simultaneously fun and smart, while also being critical yet playful.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
Growing up, my father worked in the travel industry, which allowed me to see much of the world from a young age. I was fortunate enough to visit some truly remarkable and remote locations. While on these trips, it was critical to pay attention to my surroundings and always be looking at my environment. This fundamental idea of hyper-awareness has stuck with me and shaped the way I see the world.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I try to get to my studio as much as often, discipline is important, as being an artist is just as much of a job as anything else. I find that even if I don’t have an exact idea or plan in mind, just being in my studio around my materials, something productive will happen. Even if it’s a failed experiment, that can be more important in an ongoing exploration, that successes. I usually drive to my studio, meander on the way, grab lunch, hit an art store or Home Depot, and go from there. I don’t usually try to restrict myself to one strict routine or plan.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Public Relations. Carpenter.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I find it best to try to get into the studio before noon and leave around six or whenever I feel as though I’ve accomplished enough to feel good about. I don’t limit myself to particular times or days just whenever I’m feeling the vibe.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
The art that I was making while at college was stylistically much more representational and conceptually based off of memories and old childhood snapshots. However, now my work is clearly much more abstract and lacking in any representational content. Despite the physical differences, my goal is still to evoke an instant attraction and emotional response. I’ve also broadened my use of materials and stopped limiting what qualifies as a painting as a canvas on a wall. Adding this idea of three-dimensionality and illusionism has really broadened the spectrum of what I’m interested in making.
While living in New York, my space dictated the type of work I could make, and since I didn’t have a studio at the time, was generally creating works on paper. Since moving back to Los Angeles, going back to school, and getting my own studio, I’ve really been able to focus on building my body of work and pursue art full time. I’m also still very young and very new to this, so I imagine my work will constantly change as I also have a relentless curiosity and perhaps a bit of ADD.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
I think as an artist it is imperative to look outside of your own field for inspiration, while also being aware of the origins of art history and what your contemporaries are doing. I’m lucky to have many people in my life pursuing different passions, including art, music, film, fashion, and literature that I can gain knowledge from. I have a nagging desire to learn about everything and become obsessed with learning all there is to know about a variety of different topics. I don’t think that these different creative fields are exclusive from one another, but rather inform each other in a multitude of ways. There is a long history of cross pollination that I find fascinating and freeing. I enjoy the works of Iza Genzken, John Armleder, Steven Parrino, David Foster Wallace, Joan Didion, David Lynch, Talking Heads, and most importantly all nature shows.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I initially was working towards a career in fashion, working during the summers during college, and for magazines and stylists when I lived in New York. However, I pretty quickly realized in New York that I did not enjoy the superficiality of the industry and felt removed from the act of creation, which is what I really missed. That’s when I realized I wanted to move back in the direction of pursuing a career in art and decided to move back to Los Angeles, and go back to school at Otis College of Art and Design.
Laura Watters (b. 1989) is an American artist living and working in Los Angeles. Watters was born in San Francisco, California, raised in Los Angeles, and has lived in Washington D.C., Paris, and New York City. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Fine Arts from George Washington University in 2011 and completed the Special One Year Program from Otis College of Art and Design in 2014.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.