Sand Laurenson’s art practice is limitless. Her fascination with the human condition and love of transforming everyday objects manifests itself in digital works, sculptures, drawings and paintings. She is a graduate of the Royal Academy and a winner of the Landseer Sculpture Prize, the Henry Moore Scholarship and the Ray Finnis Trust Award. Sand was also commissioned by Selfridges to install her metallic, colourful sculptures to create a striking window display! Sand Laurenson speaks exclusively to Artfinder to reveal that until August 28th she will be running a 50% sale on her work to enable her to hang up her working gloves and travel the world…
On becoming an artist
"My first memory is of sitting in front of a mountain of white paper and drawing, drawing, always drawing. I grew up in a working class family in the 70’s and there were certain paths that girls were pushed down. To fight against a predestined future was hard to do and still is for many.
Since leaving school my career path has varied, mostly due to necessity than preference. Environmental factors, opportunities and finances are not always available to make a viable career as an artist. However, I have always created art under the strangest circumstances because I have always wanted to and needed to. I always made things - whether it was painting pets or family portraits for friends, writing and illustrating stories for my children or printing my own films - whilst working and running a family home."
On being an artist
"Being an artist is an amalgamation of intellect, craft and the ability to communicate to a viewer what is seen or imagined. Studying Fine Art added an intellectual component to my art practice.
I started to call myself an artist with a capital A around 15 years ago, when I began to understand my motivation. For me, it’s more than having the right lifestyle or the coolest studio and moving in the right circles. I do what I do because I am compelled to.
I have a strong desire for change and that is why travel is so important to me - it’s a way of letting go of material things and everything seems brighter, amplified and simplified. In a country where I understand none of the spoken language, I am compelled to observe until my eyes ache! At home there is continuous stress to stay financially afloat and I love working without this pressure."
"My work can be hard to categorise! While studying at The Royal Academy I refused to settle on a ‘style’ because of the limitations that this may have impose on my creativity; I work in the medium that expresses my ideas most succinctly. Sometimes this is with canvas, other times with sound or film, but most often with object making.
I am passionate about recycling things and I like to use previous work as well as objects that carry human touch and hold memory. Again and again I find myself returning to transform everyday objects.
I use paint in the same way I use all materials: in a non-traditional sense. I use it to obtain a texture or a sculptural property, rather than to represent and so I mostly work with surfaces such as velvet and rubber as well as canvas.
Drawing is also very important to me; I see it as the root of everything that I make and use it to create maps of thought."
On the studio
"So many places have been my studio, both at home and away. After all necessity is the mother of invention; my working space is my sanctuary and I will soon be leaving my current studio to go travelling!"
"I remain fascinated by the human condition and take inspiration from science, history, politics, philosophy, myth and (probably most of all!) Family Guy.
While the universe throbs over our heads we all struggle to untangle aspects of our lives - our dreams, nightmares, winning, losing, trying. Through archetypes and metaphors we strive to find new ways to extract meaning and hold all our parts together. Making work is glue for me."
"I have had a lot of challenges along the way! I started with an O level in Art and went on to be accepted as a student at the Royal Academy in 2002. I was one of only eighteen students accepted worldwide every year, and also their oldest ever at 42!
The very fact that I am still making, showing and selling shows that I have met that challenge to beat the odds."
On other artists
"I admire many artists that have passed away, not because I don’t admire the living but rather I admire work that has weathered the passing of time."
On role models
"I have never had an artistic role model as such, though I have never sought one either. I found that there were very few inspirational female artists.That said, times are changing - hopefully in the right direction - and I hope that young female artists will see more, relatable female role models in the future."
"My work is my life, my life is the work. I have come to embrace impermanence and see it as a creative way of living whereby ideas can always be generated. What I have learnt from past experience is what I do and don’t want. I want an unusual, authentic and full life; a life that I can remember and smile at when I am truly old."
"Artists these days are expected to be social media savvy and entrepreneurial - I don’t know how we get any work made anymore!
I am a reclusive person when making work and Artfinder has provided me with exposure. I feel my work is important enough to show, so here I am, talking about myself and not screaming inside about doing it. Artfinder makes it easy.
It is really exciting to be ‘followed’, to have a brimming basket or a sale out of the blue! I welcome messages from fellow artists who tell you they love your work. Sure, you’ll get that at a show, but the community aspect is constant at Artfinder. It is like getting a little stroke every day - warm fuzzy feelings are good!"
On the future
"Last year I planned a trip to Nepal to set up a studio with local craftspeople producing items relating to trekking routes in the Himalayas. Sadly, two earthquakes hit the country and many of my friends disappeared into the hills. I stayed for a month and tried to help where I could, but without the ability to earn, I had to return early. I want to return in the future, but not with the plans that I had; for now I aim to travel to a place in Asia that I have not yet been and to document my trip and the work I make on my website.
I hope that the Artfinder community will join me in this adventure!"