My art depicts everyday absurdity marred by splashes of surrealism. I feature characters with unique experiences with personal identity, be it from from race, gender, or neurodiversity.
The mindset behind my work reflects my doomsday cultist upbringing: I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. For most of my life, I prayed for Armageddon to wipe out the world’s evils – all while clinging to liberal values in my day-to-day life. The cognitive dissonance gave me a pointed sense of everyday ridiculousness, which informs what and how I draw.
My art is influenced by my Okinawan-Japanese background, especially by movements like ukiyo-e that feature glorification of the female body, stilted perspectives, and flat colors. More contemporary styles, such as manga, move me to draw subjects with exaggerated features in absurd scenarios. When I work in color, I try to infuse a sense of Okinawan flavor through bright, garish palettes like one might see in bingata, which captures the traditional indigenous Okinawan spirit of open, joyful brashness.
I’m also inspired by 19th and early 20th-century illustrators like Edmund Dulac and Aubrey Beardsley. The “Golden Age of Illustration” and shin hanga, both cultural estuaries of eastern and western influences, feel relatable to me personally, as one of the Okinawan diaspora who was raised in the US.
I start every piece in traditional media: pen, ink, watercolor. Even when I use digital programs for color, my work is always hand-drawn: I need to have touched it for it to feel like it came from me.
She Called Me Lauren
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