Artist reconnects with personal projects

Lauren Rossouws art for the Getty Museum Challenge.

A Kenilworth part-time artist is making the most of the lockdown, using the time to focus on her art, learn new skills and complete orders.

Growing up in a “creative family” Lauren Rossouw was always interested in art. Her mother encouraged creativity and exposed her to galleries, museums, and different mediums.

“I also started attending art classes from a very young age – I expressed interest and luckily my parents were supportive, which I’m very grateful for. I also studied art at school and went on to study fine art at Michaelis School of Fine Art,” she said.

Ms Rossouw, a gallery co-ordinator at THK Gallery, said she had been fortunate to work from home during the lockdown, which had also given her more time to work on commissioned work and personal projects.

“I’m not a full-time artist, it’s a huge passion of mine but for now it’s something I only practise in my spare time. It’s been difficult to keep direction with my art, being at home has allowed me to touch base on personal projects. I was very lucky to receive a few orders before and during the lockdown which I have also been working on, and which has helped my focus.”

Ms Rossouw said the lockdown had given her more time to think and inspired her to start new projects.

“I’ve been experimenting quite a bit with digital photography and editing. It’s very challenging but fun at the same time. I’ll be using a few of the photos as inspiration for works in other mediums, so it’s helped my overall practise,” she said.

After seeing other artists’ response to the Getty Museum Challenge, which called on artists to recreate a well-known work of art using items found at home, she decided to take part.

“I saw the results from people all around the world and was just blown away by their creativity so I decided to give it a go. I chose Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring as it’s one of my favourite pieces. I could recreate it by myself, and I had similar items available to try and recreate it. I used a timer on my phone camera to take the photo and then edited it on Instagram. It was just a bit of fun, but made me feel connected to a group of people who have a shared interest in art, which I found very comforting.”

Ms Rossouw said the art world was in a state of uncertainty like many other industries, and it was a difficult time financially for a lot of artists. She runs her art business called, Made for you, by Me, on the side where she creates custom hand-painted jewellery, clothing items, or artworks for clients. “I mainly focus on wearable art such as jewellery, which incorporates an element of painting, or a jacket which had been updated to include something hand-painted, beaded, or embroidered. I’ve been commissioned to create painted portraits of pets, family members, or landscapes to name a few. I love creating custom pieces so really the sky is the limit in terms of client requests. I just enjoy creating something unique and special for someone,” she said.

When it comes to her personal projects, she pushes herself out of her comfort zone, using new techniques or media.

“I think it’s important to push oneself and see where other techniques and media can lead you. I also really enjoy creating abstract pieces – for me throwing paint at a canvas is really therapeutic,” said Ms Rossouw.

As for how she is personally coping with the lockdown, Ms Rossouw said she was trying her best to practise gratitude every day. “It’s a very difficult and uncertain time, and everyone is sacrificing something. However, I know that I am incredibly lucky to be able to go through this time in a safe environment with a supportive partner. My loved ones and I all have our health and the means to communicate with one another. It’s a very scary and overwhelming time, but I’m finding that if I practise gratitude every day – even just for small things – it helps to shift my mindset and helps me to cope better with the current situation.”