The sweet line drawings of Laura Shallcrass will have most definitely crossed your path at sometime or another. As an illustrator, she has long held court with a successful print career and audience from around the world – but now, shes on a new path.
I love Laura’s answers to my questions below, particularly about her struggles to be brave enough to define herself as an artist. Self confidence is a fickle creature!!!
Laura’s new body of original paintings which you will see below are available on her website and will also show at this weekends NZ Art Show on in Wellington. I’d HIGHLY recommend checking this out if you are local!
In the mean time, enjoy getting to know this Queenstown based artist, her own favourite art heroes as well as an insiders guide for your next weekend in the Wakatipu!
Laura, can you share with us where your creative spark began? What have you done in your life to cultivate it and improve your practice?
I’ve always loved drawing, painting, any kind of creating really. But I didn’t start drawing seriously until late in high school, and even then it was only because I had decided I wanted to go to design school and I needed more creative subjects. Once I got there I was really drawn to illustration but I never thought I was good enough to actually focus on it. So I took graphics papers and computer graphics papers until I had a timetable clash and was forced into an Illustration paper by chance. In truth, the fear that I wasn’t good enough at art is why I didn’t focus on it earlier. It’s taken me a very long time to call myself an artist, and even now I feel like I need to add a disclaimer that I’m not a real artist, I’m an illustrator and I still do graphic design too, so I can’t really be an artist right?
In terms of my career I started out making prints of work which I did for fun, mostly for friends, (because what 20 something can afford original artworks!?) Which got picked up by a few galleries and gift stores and grew into the business I’m so lucky to have today.
After a really successful few years selling your print runs and products with your highly recognisable illustrations, you have now headed down a different road concentrating on painted originals.
Can you explain to us what has changed for you and the direction you want to continue your career?
The affordable art movement gave me a lot and I’m incredibly grateful for the humbling number of people who have paid hard earned money for my artwork. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about art as an object, a finished article, with its own journey and mana. Some of which seems diluted by the act of replication. There seems, also, to have been a sort of natural progression for me in the last few years, as my work has evolved I’ve been seeing a slow decline in the number prints selling but a steady increase in the number of originals. This has led me to decide to move away from prints and focus more on my original artwork.
You live in one of my favourite parts of the world (somewhere I called home 10 years ago!). Imagine we are coming to stay for the weekend – what would the Laura Shallcrass Insiders Guide to Queenstown and the Wakatipu include?
Ok – let’s start with the important stuff. Breakfast and coffee at Bespoke Kitchen is the best start to any day, then we’d definitely have to hit up a scenic walk/swim if it’s summer. Bob’s Cove or Moke Lake probably.
If it’s winter let’s head up the The Remarkables for some snowboarding/skiing & hike up above Shadow Basin chairlift and look down the front face towards Queenstown. After these activities it’s time for more food obviously and you can’t miss The Empanada Kitchen. Then wander the streets a bit before heading out to The Sherwood for dinner and if we’re lucky an awesome music gig.
As someone with a significant art problem…I can only imagine the issues faced by an ACTUAL artist! I am surprised you can part with any work!!
Given that you probably won lotto last week …..which artists work do you covet the most?
Photography by Vaughan Brookfield
What I learnt from Laura:
There is a great beauty in being undefined.
Allow time, confidence and skill to dictate what you offer to the world instead of guessing what they will demand.