Lauren Webster is a rarity in the world of art and creativity – someone who actually does everything by hand. Her work evokes images of lazy days by an isolated Mexican beach sipping beers after a surf, at least to me anyway. She chatted to us about getting down and dirty with your art, the ‘dirty’ art of self-promotion, and her wish to own more Harley Davidson t-shirts than any other artist.
Give us the skinny on who you are and how you got to where you are today?
I’m an artist living and working in Sydney. How did I come to be here? I guess I’ve just been doing the things I liked doing since I was a kid and stubbornly never stopped. I definitely ignored the reality that I might need to grow up one day and have just managed to turn those things into a career of sorts. Peter Pan Syndrome at its best!
I did go to art school but have generally just had my head down drawing and painting furiously for years.
For a lot of people, art/design seems to be a solitary, static thing. Ie. sitting, hunched over a Mac for hours on end. Your process seems to be a lot more hands on, throwing paint at a wall and such. Is that a concious thing?
It’s not really a conscious decision, it’s just how I work. First and foremost I’m a painter and drawer so those things are my artillery. I’ve never had a huge interest in sitting at a computer to create things. I love getting messy in the studio and my brain and creativity function more naturally on that practical more hands on level. Plus it’s fun!
If you could have an art studio in any part of the world, looking out over any view, where would it be?
Can I be totally greedy and ask for a couple!? It’s kind of the dream to have more than one base. I love to travel around and feel like I can’t still still at the moment. If I can indulge that desire to wander while I work I’ll be grinning.
A studio in Indonesia would be pretty darn awesome! There’s a buzz of creative kids over there making cool work and living it up by the beach. So maybe working between that imaginary dream-factory studio and my studio in Sydney would be the way to go.
Ideally though the freedom to cruise around and work from any old place is the pie in the sky!
You’re big on documenting work. Is that an art school habit that you’ve kept? How do you find it informs your work?
I generally just take photos of my art to keep record but it’s also a good way to share what I’m up to and let people know what kind of work I have up my sleeve. More and more I have been working on a broad range of different projects and applying my art through different mediums predominantly by way of collaborations. For instance I’ve been working with a fashion label, a skateboard brand, a surfboard brand and a candle company. All a bunch of fun and I love doing these kinds of collabs!
Documenting and sharing these projects is cool because it’s the best way show people that my work doesn’t need to be limited to canvas or paper. I don’t really think the documenting side if things informs my work at all though and I wouldn’t want it to. It’s more of an afterthought than anything.
Sometimes artists can feel a bit uncomfortable when it comes to self-promotion. How do you handle showing your talents to the world without feeling dirty?
Ahhh dirty! Haha, yea that’s exactly it! The self promotion side of things is definitely something I had to to get my head around a little. No one wants to be ‘That Guy’ (or gal) talking themselves up all the time but it’s definitely worthwhile to share your work with the kids that want to see it. I just think of it as a bit of fun and put a few bits and pieces out there for whoever wants to take a gander.
Fast forward to 2025. What’s future Lauren Webster up to?
I’ll still be covered in paint.
I’ll own the most extensive collection of vintage Harley Davidson T-shirts to ever exist in one wardrobe.
I’ll be surfing with far more grace than I do now (god help me if i’m not).
I’ll drive a pretty vintage pick-up truck And I wont be sitting still for too long.