Motifs of natural elements, rendered alongside mechanical objects or things displaced from their natural environment, encourage viewers to examine weirdness, magic, memory, and glimpses of a speculative future in Faulkner’s work. Objects so ubiquitous they’re almost unseeable are elevated and removed from their ordinary context. At the core of Faulkner’s work is a sense of questioning both personal and collective experience. What happens when we see a car’s headlight? A woman’s braid? A translucent wing? The commonality of these materials, removed from their expected environments, allows for the creation of a unique world - atmospheric, restrained, textural, transparent and desaturated. The attention to the materiality of natural elements in Faulkner’s work is informed by her Pacific Northwest upbringing and professional experience as an award-winning floral designer. Faulkner lives and works in Portland, OR and New York City where she is pursuing her Master’s in Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art.  

Drawing by Lauren Faulkner

What initially drew you to your medium/media of choice?

I’ve always been drawn to charcoal, graphite, and oil paint as compelling vehicles for storytelling. There exists a distinctive, almost ethereal mix of sense memory that creates a captivating narrative through drawing and painting. I'm especially drawn to the unique specificity of colored paint and the control found in graphite.

More recently, I’ve explored printmaking, a medium that embodies the opposite qualities in that it takes more planning, and the narrative is revealed in slow, more surprising ways. Much of my work attempts to marry the sensitivity of paint and graphite with the happenstance of printmaking.

What aspect of your art do you hope really comes across to your audience?

My ultimate goal is for the audience to identify and be moved by the humanity in my work, which explores emotional and physical fragility, vulnerability, and personal memory. There are many opportunities for the audience to connect with their own experiences when examining my work, and to become keen students of the human condition as well.

Who inspires you in your life, whether it be artistically or otherwise?

Currently, I’m a graduate student, and Elle Woods of Legally Blonde is inspiring me. The story of a woman finding strength in her own voice while pursuing her dreams of academia with great hair and an adorable canine sidekick resonates with me on a cosmic level.

What keeps you going as an artist? Where do you find that creative drive?

My relationships with other artists keep me going. Being an artist requires immense personal courage and can often be isolating, but there is nothing more inspirational than watching one of my best friends going through the same process and thriving. I’m fortunate to have lifelong friendships with other visual artists, filmmakers, quilters, beaders, musicians, writers, and so many other creative creatures. The support we’re able to offer each other helps all of us move forward. Watching and loving my friends and my artist community at large create amazing work inspires me to keep making my own.

Tell us about your primary goal for the future. Has this goal changed over time?

I want to make work that is bigger and more technically complex. I envision work that more thoroughly integrates oil painting and printmaking techniques. As the two-dimensional work becomes more cohesive, I want to introduce installation elements. I’ve been a floral designer for years, and its high time I bring that level of floral sculpture into my own practice. These goals have certainly changed over time. Not that long ago, I couldn’t imagine my work developing beyond the medium of painting. I’m curious and open to developing beyond the confines of canvas.

Drawing by Lauren Faulkner
Lauren Faulkner