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Arts in Milwaukee

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Lauren Zens

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artist bio

Lauren Zens recently returned to her roots in Milwaukee after graduating from Columbia College Chicago in May 2012 with a BA in Music Business. Her interest in contemporary abstract and geometric art started in 2008 with a hard edge assignment during a high school painting class. As taught in 11th grade, the acrylic medium and hardboard base became the fixed anatomy of her work moving forward, with rulers, blue painter’s tape, and an X-acto knife serving as her key tools.

During college, as Lauren’s goals accelerated toward the music industry, art existed as an intermittent hobby. Exhibiting or selling wasn’t a consideration until some of the unfinished pieces scattered around her apartment started drawing attention from peers, at which point Lauren began to embrace the potentials of an underdeveloped talent.

The all-too-familiar post-college identity crisis kicked her motivation into high gear to build a presence for herself and led to shows in Chicago at Dose Market, Sacred Art, The Den Theatre, and her first solo exhibit at Ugly Step Sister Gallery. Since her homecoming in August 2013, The Waxwing, Rogues Gallery, and Sparrow Collective have taken Lauren’s work for display.

artist statement

There’s a lot of conjecture surrounding the relationship between creativity and perfectionism. But for me, perfectionism has taken on its own art form, manifesting in a measured (literally) approach to visual rhythm. Even though fussing about a semitransparent color or a millimeter of off-centeredness is a nuisance I bring upon myself, painting has become an otherwise positive outlet. The feeling of fulfillment after attaining a summit as simple – yet complicated – as using a protractor for the first time since high school is the reason I spend months fine-tuning a single painting.

Despite my idiosyncrasies, I don’t take the concept of being an artist too seriously. I own an easel, but I choose to sit on my living room floor and paint. I store my 50+ mixed colors in 35mm film canisters that I’ve been hoarding since I was 16. The titles of my paintings are made up words – in fact, they are sounds that came out of my mouth when I looked at each painting after completing it. The concept of symbolism is fairly irrelevant to me because I create whatever my hand decides to draw on the board. Most of my paintings don’t turn out the way I initially envisioned, which I end up liking more because I can readily say that the result is raw imagination materialized.