Laurie Raskin is a Los Angeles based artist who works in mixed media on paper using printmaking, collage and paint. She received her BFA and MFA from California Institute of the Arts. In 1984, she was one of 12 artists selected to design the official Olympic Poster for the Summer Games in Los Angeles. Laurie has had a successful career as a graphic designer and as an architectural interior designer, and is currently focused on doing her own personal mixed media artworks. She finds inspiration from her extensive personal collection of photographs, vintage and found images, magazines and posters. The artist’s work currently appears at Vogelsang Gallery and B.K.W in Brussels, Belgium, and her work was featured at Art Fair Dubai April 2015.
Where were you born?
What is your medium?
I consider myself a collage artist and a printmaker. Many of my works are mixed media. I cut all my collage images by hand because I like the quality of hand to heart. I am also very low tech.
What themes do you pursue?
Life’s observations with a whimsical twist, personal journeys, women, beauty and everyday moments. I have been working on a series about women and aging. I am turning 60 this year, so I guess I have to have a sense of humor about it and am using my art to deal with it.
How many years as an artist?
I have always been an artist. I am drawn to the visual world. I always took art classes as a child and then I went to art school for college. I worked as a graphic designer when I got out of school and then began working in the field of design and architecture in the early 80’s. I had a career as an Interior Designer for 25 years and then in the beginning of 2008, I realized how much I missed and needed to create art. I have been working at my personal art ever since.
Most important tool you use?
A xerox machine and my intuition.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
When you put something down on a page, does it add to your piece, take away from your piece or is it a neutral? I always use that rule. Every time I add something, it has to enhance the piece or it does not belong on the page. Also, what you don’t say is as important as what you say. I use the negative space as equal importance to what I put down.
Where is your studio?
I work at an art studio in Santa Monica, California where I use a press to do my printmaking and share the space with other artists. I then paint and collage over the images at a studio I have in my home. It is in the hills of Los Angeles overlooking the valley. I have an inner garden that my studio looks out onto. It’s a is very healing environment where I often spend time reflecting on my current project. I also like working at the home studio because I can stay up very late at night and not worry about driving home in LA traffic.
Why do you make art?
I have to make art. I love and live to make images. Ideas are always coming into my head. I get inspired by the world around me. I can’t stop creating.
Art school or self taught?
Art School. It is the only place I wanted to be. I have a BFA and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.
Clean and simple Helvetica light.
Prefer to work with music or silence?
I must have music. I am inspired by Jazz and World Music. Miles Davis is always a good choice and I love Latin Jazz, especially music from Cuba.
Succulents or cigarettes?
Where can we find you outside the studio?
Yoga class, hiking, reading, spending time with my husband and lots of traveling. I never stop thinking about my art. Everything outside the studio inspires later images.
Who are your favorite writers?
Too many to name. Muriel Barbery’s Elegance Of The Hedgehog. It was very Wabi Sabi. I also liked Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I also love English writers from the early 20th Century.
What could you not do without?
Beauty and Humor.
If you could not be an artist, what would you do?
Be unemployed. At this point in my life, I have to be an artist. I have no choice.
Would you rather be able to make a living as an artist now or become famous after you die?
Now. I live in the moment and try to stay true to who I am.
Being asked to do one of the official posters for the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984.
Astrology or Astronomy?
Astrology! I am a Leo and totally right brained.
Religion or pop culture?
Would you rather see your art on a T Shirt or on a Billboard?
Both. I have designed T shirts and my work has been on over 100 large murals in stores.
Traditional or conceptual?
Conceptual. I always start with an idea and the images follow.
What do you collect?
Works that speaks to my soul. A few contemporary paintings, photography, 12th-17th Century buddhas and goddesses, art work by friends. I also collect tons of images to be used later in my art. I have thousands of post cards.
Favorite contemporary artists?
Robert Rauschenberg, Henri Matisse, Warhol, El Lissitzky, Kirt Schwitters and Sonia Delaunay. I guess they are not so contemporary any more.
A piece of art you love?
The Matisse cut outs.
Which living or dead artist would you most like to meet?
I would like to have been a student at the Bauhaus and hung out with all the artists there.
Favorite Paper Type?
Arches Paper 300 lb for Hot Press
Use anything other than paint?
I don’t really consider myself a painter but I do use paints. For paints I use oils for grounds. I usually use acrylics and gouache with my images. I also use prisma color pencils, inks, pastels, photography and cut out images to paste over my prints.
Figurative or Abstract?
Both and neither.
What do you wear while you paint?
Old T shirts and jeans. I always have paint all over me.
Working Inside or Outside?
Inside. I need to sit at a large table and move images around. I work outside when I create grounds for my prints.
Monet or Manet?
Monet for sure. I went to see a traveling show of some of the Water Lilly’s in Chicago when I was very young and the paintings have always stayed with me. I was in Paris last year and went to Musee de L’ Orangerie to see the large Water Lilly paintings and they were such an inspiration. Sheer Beauty!