Laurie Lipton: Santa Muerte
Laurie Lipton's extreme dedication to her work has allowed her to lead a life led by her art. It is a consuming reality, fully devoted to creation, and one of tremendous habitual focus. Lipton's work is an entry point into her mind and her experience, drawing from her upbringing and what currently compels her. She leads a life of near solitude, enjoying every moment spent with her work, and it is in the unparalleled intricacies of her creations that one can easily define her as an accomplished modern-day master...
The assumed object of our existence is to gain experience, lead a satisfying life, and do so with unsurpassable passion and dedication. We aspire to ascend to the greatest heights of the mind and take full advantage of this life, as we see fit. Knowledge gained is the starting point of our mental career, and we carry this wisdom with us until the day we die. Those who rise to the height of their potential, the "masters", may or may not share their enlightenment with the world or with those around them, but their commitment carries them to the peak of personal fulfillment. Laurie Lipton's extreme dedication to her work has allowed her to lead a life led by her art. It is a consuming reality, fully devoted to creation, and one of tremendous habitual focus. Lipton's work is an entry point into her mind and her experience, drawing from her upbringing and what currently compels her. She leads a life of near solitude, enjoying every moment spent with her work, and it is in the unparalleled intricacies of her creations that one can easily define her as an accomplished modern-day master. - Lust After
Lust-After: How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
Laurie Lipton: Disturbing, large black & white pencil drawings about life in the 21st Century.
Do you ever feel your work is misinterpreted or seen as something that it’s not?
Frequently... but once it's "finished", it's out of my hands and in the Public Domain. It's not my business to interpret my art. That is what the viewer is for.
You grew up Atheist? Will you tell me about this and how your upbringing might have been different from other kids?
My parents were both the Black Sheep of their families and always looked at life slightly askew. My mother was brilliant... like Dorothy Parker, only funnier.... and she believed in treating children like intelligent people. My parents didn't practice any religion, but I knew that we were Jewish because my grandmother said "Oy" a lot. I was taught to think for myself and to question authority, which put me at a grave disadvantage in school.
What did your drawings look like when you were very young? Have you kept many of them over the years?
I drew bodies being blown up in wars and cowboys & Indians mutilating each other while other children were drawing flowers and bunnies. My parents were very proud of my efforts and used to show them off at family gatherings. The aunts & uncles would look at me (a cute little chubby faced girl in a frilly dress), then look at my drawings (blood oozing from the decapitated limbs of soldiers) and slowly edge away.
Amazing. Though you’ve described your childhood in New York suburbia as idyllic, and yourself as a polite and lovely little girl, how did this point of view arise? How did your work evolve to depict some terrifyingly grotesque imagery?
I housed a swirl of anti-Disney feelings inside my head at a very early age. It always disappointed me to look in the mirror and see a sweet, angelic child looking back. If thoughts could be transformed into looks, I should have resembled The Bride of Chucky. I have grown into a polite and lovely adult, but it doesn't negate the dark shadow I still carry within me. I don't think this is unusual. Most sentient Beings have Shadow Selves... that's why there are laws and police.
When were you first exposed to the arts and how did that impact your work?
My father used to take my brother & me to The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in upstate NY on Sunday. It was a real treat. It housed a wonderful collection of Medieval & early Renaissance paintings and sculptures. The baby Jesus frightened me, though. He always looked like a weird circus midget. I had no religious background whatsoever, and had no idea what the paintings meant. Why were there men in nightgowns with wings in that lady's bedroom? Who were the demons torturing all those poor people? These surreal scenarios fascinated me. I felt that my life was as insane as those pictures and thought, "I could make something like this about my world!" I stood in front of a painting for hours trying to burn it into my eyeballs so that I could never forget it. I used to attract a crowd. It was odd seeing a young child stand so still for so long.
Read the rest of the interview at Lust-After for Juxtapoz Magazine.