{the interview series} Laura Ferrara

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

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Apresento-vos o trabalho de Laura Ferrara, uma artista americana que encontra no desenho e pintura as suas formas de expressão artística. Suave, delicado, misterioso, intimista, cheio de significado... são algumas das palavras que usaria para descrever o seu trabalho, mas Laura consegue fazê-lo muito melhor do que eu. Leiam o resto!

I present you the work of Laura Ferrara, an american artist that finds in drawing and painting the creative way to express herself artistically. Soft, delicate, mysterious, intimate, full of meaning... are some of the words I would use to describe her work, but Laura can do it so much better than I do. Read the rest!

Laura Ferrara
Washington DC | USA
blog | shop

Painting 03-18-12 B

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Laura Ferrara. Tell us a bit about yourself. 
Hmmm, let’s see. I think that if I had to tell you only a few things about myself that would allow you to know me without actually spending time with me they would be the following:
I have red hair for which I was never thankful because it has always made me feel self conscious until I met my husband who told me that it, combined with my fair skin, was the reason he was drawn to me at the beginning. So now I am thankful, but I still feel self-conscious.
I am a firm believer in taking little steps to get where you want to be emotionally, physically and spiritually.
And now for the more obvious kinds of self-categorization: I am 46. I have 4 children who are 22, 21, 18 and 11.  I work full time at a bookstore in a private school for boys in Washington. My birthday is April 24th and my favorite holiday is Halloween. I love summer, but when it here I find myself often dreaming of snow and trees without leaves. I grew up in Kansas City, moved to Chicago when I was 21 and lived there until I was 32. Then I moved to DC in February of 1999 and have been here since.

2. You say that you like to draw and to paint, as if this is an inseparable part of you. How was this creative passion born and what was the journey that led you here?
I studied art briefly in college before I dropped out and began raising a family. After my first marriage ended, as my children got older, and with the advent of my second marriage, I felt that I had the time and emotional resources to create again. So I began devoting 20 minutes a day around my 41st birthday to just drawing. For a long time I had ignored the need for an outlet for daily creativity and this is something I would advise against for any young parents out there who feel that they just cannot make time for themselves. Creating makes space available within you so that your capacity to give to others is more sincere and less arduous. It is a very spiritually nourishing exercise for me. I think the “passion” that ensues is born, at least in me, from the conviction that making art makes me a better person. 

Drawing 10-21-12 A
Painting 06-25-12 A

3. How are your subtle compositions and mysterious characters born? What inspires you? Share your creative process with us.
My process is just to get a pencil or a brush in hand and start working. Sometimes I do have a specific feeling or idea I want to explore but mostly it is just me wanting to get to that space where I am no longer aware of the time and I am watching and working with what manifests on the paper or the canvas.

4. Your technique is very delicate and your characters seem to float in ethereal minimalist landscapes. What are the messages they are trying to convey?
I think life is very complex and often complicated and the alone and lonely quality of my drawings and paintings reflect how very much I value simplicity and solitude. I also have long talks with my husband where we discuss how quickly time moves when you are caught up in the routines of day-to-day life and how the mundane quality of these routines can become meaningful if they create the security necessary to allow for a glimpse of transcendence now and then. I think (hope!) these glimpses make their way into my work.

Painting 06-25-12 B

5. Which mediums do you enjoy using in your work and why?
I absolutely love to draw. I love it because it requires no special set up and can happen anywhere as long as you have pencil and paper. 

6. Your online presence lets the whole world know about your work. What means do you use to promote it?
I am terrible at promoting my work. I am slightly ashamed that I have not done more to get myself out there. That being said, I do have an Etsy store that I update occasionally, as well as three blogs and flickr. I love flickr! I upload the work I have made and get instant feedback. Very satisfying! I would also like to say, however, that despite my less than stellar attempts if self-promotion, I have made such amazing connections through my blog, Etsy and flickr that I feel they are very successful. The friendships and like mindedness I have made and encountered are priceless. There are too many to name and I do not want to appear ungrateful, but Jane O’Sullivan, Cendrine Rovini, and Francis Willemstijn have made my life so much fuller and I am so grateful that we live in a time where technology has allowed us to “meet”.

7. What is creating for you: a profession, a passion, a necessity, a life style or a hobby?
I would have to say at point that it vacillates between a passion and a necessity. I think everyone is creative. It is just whether or not you are practicing. I am practicing!

collage 09-22-12 A

8. I’d love if you could share some of your favorite artists with us.
Iris Schwarz, Catherine Meheut, Katrien De Blauwer, Ulla Saar, Cathy Cullis and Betsy Dadd. EVERYONE at hand drawing collective.
Milton Avery, Leon Spilliaert, Jockum Nordstrom and Vilhelm Hammershoi are the four that come to mind as well while I am typing this. When I think about how almost every day I find someone making something that perks me up and opens my eyes- getting me to see a little bit more, notice a little bit more- I am so thankful that people make art. If you can make it you should because you never know whom you may encourage.

9. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
I recently moved my space out to the stand-alone garage of our home that still needs a lot of work and cleaning up but I really enjoy going out early in the morning and getting started without being concerned if I am keeping another member of my family from sleeping. I also still love my nook in my bedroom. Very cozy and reassuring.

10. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
I start by drawing. I work out the ideas I might have had from a dream or a thought on paper. Then if I think they work I move to canvas. If I have no direction to start from I draw or make collage. At night, after my day job during the week, I sit on the bed after dinner and draw while watching a movie on Hulu or Netflix. I watch mostly movies made before 1970 and preferably before 1950. These tend to have the most atmosphere. If I am not watching a movie, I listen to music while drawing.

11. Besides creating, what else are you passionate about doing?
I love to go on walks. My husband and I walk a lot. I love to explore older parts of cities. I am drawn to walking in places with a lot of old buildings and structures. I gather images and impressions from these walks for my work. I like discovering atmospheres that are slightly spooky and definitely evocative. It is difficult to describe! I also love to read and watch movies and listen to music. My husband writes about film for Turner Classic Movies. Movies are our shared passion. I love to eat excellent food. I love coffee and sparkling wine! I love my children. They are quite remarkable. I am very passionate about doing what I can to ensure they have meaningful and full lives.

12. You live in Washington dc, USA. Tell us a bit about what you love most about it. Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
I love the diversity of Washington! I love it so much. I love that the museums on the National Mall are all free. I LOVE The Hirschorn and the whole room of Francis Bacon’s paintings. I love that spring and autumn are both very long seasons here. Especially autumn! I think Washington’s autumn is about 3 or 4 months long- usually running from September until at least the middle of December. I love that it is only 30 minutes to Baltimore and a few hours from Philly and New York. It is a beautiful city and I feel lucky for every day that I get to live here.

13. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
Without a doubt I would like to have been born around the turn of the last century and lived my life through until the beginning of this one. The art being created from the early 1900’s through the 1950’s- well- it would have been remarkable to see it when it was being made. And the music and writing! The romantic and courageous part of my nature wants to have been a part of the French Resistance! Doing terribly brave and dangerous things whenever I could.

14. What advices would you give to someone who would also want to become an artist?
Everything you need to create is inside you. You can only grow by doing. Trust your vision of what you would like to say and communicate it as clearly as possible. Never listen to the voice in your head that says your idea is stupid. Even if it does not work as you want it to you have to make it to get to the next part of the journey.

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
I would like to write and illustrate another poem. I would like to make enough money that I can buy a place to live outright and reduce my expenses so I can spend more time creating. I would like to spend more time in Vermont on my cousin’s land. My dream is to have an apartment in the city and a cabin in Vermont and spend 6 months in each location making art.

 Drawing Collage 08-19-12

Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes!
Tell us one:

book: Howard’s End
music: Sigur Ros
movie: The Third Man
personality/artist: Milton Avery
color: Dove Grey
object: Clock with a pendulum
animal: Cat
drink: Wine
food:  Baguette with chevre, roasted peppers, basil and a little drizzle of olive oil.
season of the year: Autumn
travel destination: Iceland
piece of clothing: White linen blouse
secret: I am very superstitious about the number 13. I even got my husband to change our room during a recent hotel stay because it had the number 13 at the end of it. Silly!

Thank you for sharing your art and thoughts with us, Laura.
And by the way... enjoy your favorite holiday today: happy Halloween!


  1. Thank you!!! So honored and thrilled:)

  2. I've been a fan of Laura's for several years now, very nice to know even more about her!

  3. beautiful work, so dreamlike and delicate!
    I enjoyed reading the interview so much :-)


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