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The Localist

Meet the Artist: Laura Waldusky

Laura in her studio

“When I start a blank sheet of paper, I have no idea where the lines are headed. Each piece I create is born out of moments and experiences where I felt powerless and exposed. While these memories can be painful to recall, the scraping of the pencil into the paper is a meditative process that allows me to exert control over the materials where I previously had none, transforming my vulnerability into my strength. In that sense, the patterns become empowering timelines of events as I recast them and serve as autobiographical representations of my feminist perspective.

I work with colour pencils as their analogue nature gives me a true travelled connection to the world. I was given my first set of pencils when I was 14. Nestled in a wooden case, those pencils have travelled the world with me. It’s a medium I continue to return to, allowing me to create contemporary works with my point of view embedded in each line I leave on the paper.”

Where are you drawing inspiration from at the moment?

I follow artists whose work I admire who make me think about colour, dimension, materials – all of it. Contemporaries like Jan Kalab, Felipe Pantone, Kate MccGwire and Kennedy Yanko all blow my mind. I have studio space and equipment. I’m also inspired by people who have been through some shit in life and they’re still standing, like Yayoi Kusama. I identify with that.

Where’s your studio?

I work from home in Brighton. I’m in the Marina neighbourhood, so when I look out my window I can see swans and boats and I’m a five minute walk from the gorgeous cliffside. I love how easy is it to get to London from my location. I would like to get a houseboat and have my eye on some conversion projects where I would like to live and work. I keep unconventional hours, so working from where I live – wherever that may be – suits me.

Where do you go to switch off, disconnect or find creativity when you’re feeling stuck in a rut?

This may sound stupid, but my immediate go-to for switching off is taking a shower. It’s where I can immediately clear my head. I’m constantly at odds with what I make and questioning what the ‘f’ am I doing, so I can’t be in the shower all the time. I also know how to crochet and sew, so my hands are always busy with something. I recently made a throw from odd yarn bits. Maybe I should get into textile design.

What have you learned about yourself as your work has evolved?

It has taken me a hell of a lot of personal pain to get to this point in my life. I used drawing to scale up to sizes that were daunting, conquered those and would start a new gigantic sheet again. The evidence of that mental torture is miles and miles of these lines. I’m now at a point where I am trying to have some restraint, to not let the process beat me up. I am still trying to find some sort of balance with art.

What does your ideal day look like?

When I was working full-time in Higher Education as a department chairperson, I described to someone that my ideal day would be to focus on my art, make enough money from that working with select clients to cover expenses and have a flexible schedule. That’s how I live now, so I guess I’m living my ideal day every day. I need to remember that more often!

How do you see your work evolving over the next couple of years?

I want to keep going bigger and keep pushing what it means to work with paper. Keep pushing how I can make my work more dimensional. I’m comfortable with drawing, but I’m starting to incorporate some paint and other materials, though it’s all still very controlled. I would love to not have to rely on framing as a means of display, so I do have lots of other ideas on the back burner.

Artwork hung on a wall