Featured Artist: Lorette C. Luzajic

As an artist myself, I'm always hyper aware of what other artists are putting out into the world.  I follow many Creatives on Instagram, peruse websites galore, and keep my eyes open at trade shows and art fairs.  I absolutely love bearing witness to what others are doing, effectively "listening" to the song of another human heart.

This week's featured artist, Lorette C. Luzajic of Mixed Up Media is absolutely one artist who has grabbed my attention.  Not only does her work truly speak to me (always a wonderful thing when another work of art can grab the deeper portion of my soul) but she and I have a lot in common: self-awareness, a meandering journey, a passion for art history (and the human story).  I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her -- and you will too.

Tell us about yourself, Lorette.

I'm a visual artist and writer in Toronto, Canada. Most of what I do centres around these twin passions. I write about art, and my art uses writing. Every day includes computer time, studio time, and "field" time. Computer time is marketing, customer service, submissions, social media, writing, researching, or editing my literary arts journal, The Ekphrastic Review. Field time can be fun stuff like going to the art gallery or an opening, or mundane stuff like hauling my art from one venue to another. Studio time is the best time, of course, where I cut and paste and paint to my heart's content. 

Tell us about your art, the medium you use.  What is your artistic process?

My art is collage and painting based mixed media. I glue layers of images and text among paint, pastel, wax, crayon, graphite, ink, marker, anything I can find. I mine books, magazines, and the street for images, and pillage the arts, culture, religion, and history- the whole world, really- for themes, allusions, and references. 

Where do you get your ideas?  What fuels your passion?  Do you find inspiration from other artists?

The very nature of my work is appropriation and remix, so literally "all" artists are sources of inspiration, of one sort or another. I am constantly culling, sorting, snipping from the world around me as I go, with scissors or pen, or the "file folder" of my psyche. From the chaos of all this data, I make new things. 
My work is raw and a little surreal and doesn't need to be fixed or cemented to a particular interpretation. More like Rorschach or dreams, and transmutable in meaning with the input and response of the audience. They are puzzles or mysteries to unravel and discover rather than solve. Some people may "get" a reference or recognize a line of poetry, others may remember a personal emotional experience, and another will unearth an allusion to a show or song. Even music makes its way into my work, as I listen to diverse compositions while working so that the rhythms inform my gestures and energy.
One thing that is very important to me is the pursuit of beauty. I enjoy the random absurdities of life, and I rail against its evils, but inside all of that is a quest for the beautiful, to participate in creating that. I notice obstacles to beauty, but my art is not about shock value or about anti-art, even if I use scribbling and cutting and raw energy. I want to bring attention to beauty that someone may have missed. It may be untraditional or unconventional, but through colour, composition, theme, and poetry I do intend to evoke the sublime and divine.

Where did you get your start?

I began throwing parties at home with a DJ and covering the walls in my own art. I literally thought, "Good grief, you could build things the standard way and hope for the best- or you can throw your own damn solo exhibition." 
Before too long, some creative friends and I were hosting regular events, showing my work along with that of other artists, turning apartments and other unlikely settings, like the local dive, into arty hotspots for a night. It was all about the fun, but when people bought my work, it fuelled my drive to make more and expand my ideas.
Now I juggle regular group and solo shows at galleries and other venues from cafes to laundromats to museums, and online. I participate in all kinds of creative ventures- collage workshops for birthday parties, kindergarten class, Pecha Kucha, anything I can try out. My work has found its way into shows not just at home in Toronto, but in Ireland, Australia, India, Chicago, Edinburgh, and beyond- and even as a 20 foot billboard in New Orleans.
I have a journalism degree. I didn't formally study art. That my artwork became more dominant than my writing side was a surprise.
I think what makes my work unique is that I skipped all the "critical theory" and "art theory" garbage when I was most impressionable. I was also out living the requisite tragic artist's life for real. It wasn't lab manufactured. I lived through some stuff, and tamed the wild streak, and am giving it all I have for whatever time I'm given.
I've always been voraciously curious about everything, reading and taking in and trying out all kinds of experiences, having friends from every walk and curious about human behaviour and cultures. I've been studying art history on my own for as long as I can remember. I think art history is extremely important, and that a great deal of "art theory" taught today- deconstruction and post structuralism, for example- is toxic garbage.
I do respect totally the study of technique, craftsmanship, and practice, the actual making of art. Whether in class or out, we learn by doing. I have managed to create something that takes from everybody, but doesn't look like anybody.

What makes you excited to go to work each day?  Do you find there are specific challenges in your field?

Not knowing what I'm going to make next is exciting. Even when I have a plan, there are too many variables and the finished work will be a surprise. 

Do you have an "ideal client"?  What kind of product is she looking for?

Every client is ideal. Every person who looks at my work, every person who considers buying something, or who does buy something, merits my gratitude and respect. 
photo courtesy of Bryce Murdoch Photography

photo courtesy of Bryce Murdoch Photography

Do you invite spiritual practices into your space?  What is your center, higher purpose or calling?

I am like the seeker in Ecclesiastes. I have sought meaning in everything, in many kinds of religions. I have also chased hedonism and nihilism with gusto and desperation. To quote the writer of this tremendous book, I denied myself nothing. 
After a lot of spirituality-hopping, I tried very hard to be an atheist and spent many years in this bleak place. It was a tremendous learning experience for which I'm grateful.
I have in the past few years taken some travels, to Mexico, Jordan, Israel, and Peru. I was looking for inspiration, for art. I kept finding God. I'm coming to understand that they are the same thing. 
Creativity, culture, art, music, imagination, architecture, language, poetry, even cuisine- these are gifts and blessings. I'm happy to accolade humans for their brilliant ideas and accomplishments- but it's worth noting that nowhere in the also incredible world of animals is there complex language or culture or invention. A cat will never begin toying with various spices, or grinding up stones in oil to create a pigment. Birds will sing, but they won't change their song or begin writing stories instead.
To find myself back in church, tentatively, occasionally, I have had to change my thinking. To stop expecting the people to be perfect. The frustrating arrogance or intolerance that can sometimes be found there isn't new- it was rampant in atheist communities, too. I have to stop trying to always be right, or certain, and simply respect the value of mystery. 

Where can we find you?

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Every Friday, Lauren Bee's the FINE ART of becoming features a sister artist -- and her amazing work.  Who is she?  Of what does her soul sing?  Why does she do what she does?

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