Lauren Mitchell is a young, blooming Art Director, Designer and Illustrator who goes by the online moniker Curious Lauren. Social issues and female empowerment is at the forefront of the work Lauren creates.
She uses her platform as a safe space to talk about things that might be difficult to address in words. Representation, equality, inclusivity and self-care are themes that come through strongly in her illustrations. She believes that creative work can bring about meaningful change and stand for something good.
GLAMOUR recently caught up with Lauren after she unveiled one of newest illustrations titled Together Apart – An interactive piece of art that allows people to come together while practicing social distancing.
Tell us about your work and your personal creative journey so far?
It’s been a pretty surreal life experience, for someone who didn’t have a clue what to pursue after school, I have landed myself my dream job and found my calling at a significantly young age. I always loved creative things but didn’t realise (in the early 2000s) that you could actually make a career out of it. Fast forward to 20 years later and I’m successfully leveraging creative work to bring people together, address social change and rally for the representation and empowerment of women.
Who and what inspires you?
I’m inspired by all my colleagues, my partners and the brands that I work with, on the daily I’m scrolling past local photographers, artists and fashion designers, in awe of their creations, but what really inspires me, are the societal tropes and inequalities that drive me to make creative work that stands for something good.
What’s it like being a creative during a time COVID-19?
I think being a creative is already a very demanding position, and with COVID-19 that pressure just increased. The world at large literally lost it’s collective mind and turned to creatives to try and help navigate us through the new, now not so new, normal. The fear was that as the world slowly shut down, the workflow would too, but actually the opposite happened. We have pivoted towards digital creators at an accelerated speed, and naturally, as the only resource limitations we have are time and imagination. It’s been a weirdly positive time for creation, ideas and using creativity to make the world a little bit brighter.
You recently created a mural titled Together Apart that was unveiled in Nelson Mandela Sqaure - Tell us about it and take us through the creative process?
A once in a lifetime opportunity. To see something come together, at such a large scale is just incredible. Stella Artois Together Apart was born from the need for us to reconnect, in the safest way possible. The 700m² mural was created in the iconic Nelson Mandela Square, adapted from the global campaign and given more of an African representation, the artwork consists of a woman raising a chalice to her partner from a safe distance, who you can see reflected in her sunglasses. The circles on the mural designate where people can hang out together while remaining safely apart – between approximately 1-3 meters apart. The artwork incorporated 3200 mats that were plugged into each other like a puzzle and received 48000 hammer hits to secure. It took a team of 36+ production members, 13 amazing free-hand painters, 250 litres of paint and a period of 4, 12 hour days to complete. The biggest floor mural in SA to date!
How can people interact with Together Apart?
Make it a date, reunite with friends and head to Nelson Mandela Square before the end of September, grab a Stella and hangout in the sun while remaining safely apart in the designated circles, in doing so you will be supporting the surrounding restaurants and every member of the production team who brought this creation to life after months of not having any income or work.
What part do you think visual art plays in the world as we know it today?
We are living in such a visual space and time, we’re constantly scrolling and being exposed to thousands of things a day. Art breaks that boundary and pushes through the clutter and delivers a sense of escape, hope, or a really important message about something you should care about. Art is being used to communicate powerful messages, stand up for communities and make people feel heard.
What’s your hope for female visual artists in South Africa?
I look at the arts community currently in SA and I’m completely blown away, there is so much talent and I’m so here for it. I can see women putting themselves out there, taking stands, making money and landing big jobs and I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride. My hope is that more women take that chance, apply for that project you don’t think you can land, keep learning from others, work as hard as you can and most importantly, never stop believing in yourself – it’s the most powerful tool we have.
How can we follow your work?
You can find me everywhere and anywhere as Curious_Lauren