Symbolism remains far more felt than understood, more disquieting than soothing. In these primitive visual myths of their secret lives, animalistic figures provide a means for emotive personification, characterizing or exhibiting human motives and foibles, with external traits suggesting internal ones. – Lori Field
Below is the exclusive Miroir Magazine interview with Lori Field
Q: How long have you been an artist? Please tell us a little about your development.
A: I have been an artist since my grandfather, whom I adored, taught me to draw stick figures at the age of two. He gave me that pencil and I never looked back.
My development as an artist has been a self-guided journey leading me from textile design, illustration, back to fine art drawing and painting, learning some archaic mediums like silverpoint and encaustic, and now to working with metal and making wearable sculpture. I’m constantly intrigued with taking my cast of surreal and symbolic characters and realizing them in new and unusual materials and methods.
Q: Have you been trained, and if so, from what institution? Or are you self-taught?
A: I consider myself to be primarily self-taught although I had exactly two semesters of art school at SUNY Purchase many moons ago.
Q: Tell us about your process, can you give a little insight into your artistic endeavors?
A: My processes are both drawing based and incorporate relatively obscure materials and methods. I love to draw so the mediums I use always have to be drawing based in some way. I love working with mediums that aren’t necessarily considered to be art materials…or making art that uses materials that are considered craft oriented and transforming them into ‘fine art’, breaking down those boundaries.
Q: Was your family supportive of your artistic endeavors?
A: Not particularly. My immediate family growing up were somewhat supportive of my becoming a commercial artist but not necessarily a fine artist. There wasn’t a lot of encouragement though, even though my father was an amateur artist. My current nuclear family is very supportive. My present family are all artists so we are very supportive of each other’s creative endeavors.
Q: Is there someone special who has encouraged your work and your path as an artist?
A: I have had many teachers along the way that have inspired me. Some of my art dealers have believed in me and always been encouraging and helpful. I find that doing my work is a form of self therapy or spirituality realized and so I’d have to say my biggest encouragement, corny as it sounds, comes from within. I overcome obstacles in my life and embrace the world by really engaging with the process of making work.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams and future goals?
A: Let’s see…to continue to show in new places and travel to show my work, curate and collaborate with other artists I’m inspired by, and to apply for residencies and grants that introduce me to interesting people and environments. I’d love to expand upon my work in wearable sculpture and write a graphic novel too.
Q: If you could do any project with full funding what would it be?
A: That’s easy…it would be a lush and elaborately animated film of my drawings….starting with bringing my large scale silverpoint drawings to life but then next the color pieces. My son and I are starting to plan how we will begin this project right now. I’d love to show it in an amazing gallery setting when it’s done. We will probably crowd source to begin to finance it, then who knows… any Medicis out there?
Q: If you could meet with any artist who is no longer living, who would it be and why?
A: It would probably be either Hans Holbein or Hieronymus Bosch. I love history, especially in Tudor and Elizabethan times (past life?), so I’d love to pick ol’ Hans’s brain about Ann Boleyn and Henry the 8th, among others. Hieronymus was just so far ahead of his time, it’s amazing. How the art world called Andre Breton and those dudes the fathers of surrealism is beyond me, Hieronymus was already there 500 years earlier.
Q: Tell us about the fantasy elements of your art?
A: I don’t really think of my work as being fantasy….those creatures are real, and they live inside my head. I think of myself more as a creator of myths…myths peopled with creatures that are symbolic and psychological portraits of humans in anthropomorphic form.
Q: Has the fantasy theme always been of interest to you?
A: Again, not considering it fantasy, but narrative storytelling and myth, I have always been drawn to creating figures that seem fantastic on the surface but move viewers in inexplicable and emotionally charged ways to identify with them as human.
Q: What inspires your creations?
A: This will be too long an answer if I list everything that inspires me…I am constantly inspired and creatively motivated by things I see…from interesting pieces of paper lying in the street, to antique acupuncture charts, russian prison tattoos, my cats, my children, Henry Darger’s work, vintage Shanghai flapper posters…you name it…I’m inspired,….all the time. This must be why I’m an insomniac, can’t turn off the inspiration, it actually keeps me awake!!!