Kalumi Chats with Lauren Jennings (Artist)
New York based artist. Designer. Babe.
Hi Lauren! Where are you from originally and how old are you?
I was born and raised in Coventry, England and I've been living in America for about 15 years. I am 27 years old.
How long have you been an artist?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn't drawing. Both of my parents are amazing at art so I was heavily influenced growing up. Although my dad is an amazing painter, I stick with my pen and paper!
We love that your Instagram profile bio says “Be lovely.” What was the inspiration behind these words?
“Be Lovely” is now my illustration company.
The name Be Lovely has always meant something to me. I believe there is so much madness and cruelness in the world that each person has the opportunity to turn that around. When I was 17 years old I got a tiny 'Be Lovely' tattoo on the side of my ribs. Every day it reminds me to be the best I can be and to keep working at all my goals.
You can follow my art at @be_lovely_illustrations.
You seem very into the outdoors - how often do you hike/spend time exploring nature?
Living in a city as busy as New York City I find it key to escape. At least once a month I try to get out of the city and into nature. Breathing the fresh air of the Adirondacks or Catskills* really helps me reboot and prepare for the busy work week ahead. There's nothing more gratifying than reaching the top of a mountain and finding the most beautiful views. My boyfriend is a photographer, so I am lucky enough to capture all these moments in incredible photos. There are so many incredible things to see... there’s no point in wasting any time.
[*The Adirondacks are mountains in upstate New York, while the Catskills Mountains may be found in the south-east. Stunning.]
"I believe every woman is creative and unique and can express themselves with their wardrobe.” We love this quote by you. How would you explain your personal style?
My personal style is a lot like my art: simple and sweet! I love basic colours and stick to a pretty simple, minimal wardrobe. Of course I love to throw in fashion pieces such as a statement coat, leopard print booties or an awesome beanie. I definitely always keep a tomboy look.
I sketch women who inspire me... whether it is their style or ethics, I want to remind them that they are women. Women need to encourage each other, not fight one another.
When you say you believe in a healthy lifestyle, what exactly does that consist of for you?
My healthy lifestyle is all about balance; exercise, eating well but also eating that slice of pizza when I want it. Exercise doesn't have to be a 45 minute run on a treadmill, it can be a hike or a dance class. I eat as plant-based as I can... I would say 70% of what I eat is fruit and veggies. However, I balance that with a love of wine. ;)
Has your art always been black and white?
My art has developed over the years along with my style. I used to always sketch black and white on a tan (kraft) paper. The dark brown of the paper really made each white highlight pop out. However, as my style has become more simple, so has my artwork.
You are so great at drawing hair! Do you like styling your own hair, as many of your illustration subjects have?
I actually am a wash it and go kinda girl. As to my fascination of sketching - although I hardly ever do fancy styling of my own hair, I do really enjoy drawing it. There are so many girls who do amazing things with their hair and I suppose I'm in awe of them. I enjoy examining each style and trying to best portray it.
How often do you draw/sketch?
I draw every day! I am a fashion designer by day and therefore I am constantly sketching technical flats of my designs. When I come home I work on Be Lovely, which is more free sketching. It’s a great balance of technical and creative sketching.
Who are your very favorite designers?
I have many favorite designers that I constantly look to for inspiration. Obviously the classics like Chloé, Celine, Elizabeth and James, and Iro. I'm also inspired by Suzanne Rae. I interned for her for a couple of years and was always in awe of her designs, drive and her ethics.
What about artists? What artists inspire you?
I love all art. Exploring museums and new exhibits is one of my favorite pastimes. However, I am mostly inspired by women I see on the streets of the City. There are so many unique styles in New York City that it’s hard not to absorb it.
What are your dreams and goals for the future personally and career-wise?
Things are ever-changing, but for now my dream is to let my illustration career become my only career. Right now it is a side project that I’m head over heels for. I want to work for myself and be my own boss.
As to my personal goals, I just want to travel more and experience more things. The more I travel the more inspired I become.
Thanks Lauren. And what an inspiration she is! To check out Lauren’s beautiful artwork, head on over to @be_lovely_illustrations.
October 2016- Susie Abromeit (Actress)