“I’m in two places at once” an Interview/Feature with Visual Artist Lauren Pelc – McArthur


Lauren kind of kills it, and by it I mean my perception of art and stylistic choices for visual mediums. It does what I’ve always wanted art to do, create something that is entirely new and never seen before. Each image and video of hers is like a fluid release of ideas and inspiration that gets molded into something compelling and beautiful. We got a chance to speak to her and try to figure out what was going on.

Your work is a tad different from most of the art out there, any specific reason for going pretty much completely computer based as opposed to more traditional art forms?

For me it is a back and forth process. I try to work with (traditional) paint and tangible objects as much as I make work on computers. I have been in between studios for the last few months so it’s been hard to make real life paintings. I have been focusing digital work right now. I definitely wouldn’t say I am completely computer based. For me, one can’t really exist without the other. If I don’t paint I feel like I’m going to explode, and if I don’t work on a computer then I don’t really have any motivation to paint.

Editor’s note: was going to remove this message to me in the interview but I got a great image of someone punching through a wall every time they answered a question: ‘I’m feeling pretty intense today. All of my responses to your questions might be hilariously impassioned.’

I went to school for painting, but I started messing around with Photoshop and the like when I was very young. I’m not really interested in portraying what I see in real life. My online life has always been way more exciting.

I’ve also notice that your animated work is different from a lot of the newer stuff coming out as well, it seems more fluid and less glitch art based. Was there a reason behind developing that style or is it just naturally what you produced?

Thanks. Well, I feel like computer glitches and now glitch art are only one portion of my every day experiences on the internet. I think of my videos as animated versions of my digital paintings. That is basically the way I tackle them. I think in video its a little easier to create forms that coalesce into some type of figure while still being (overall) an abstract work.

Can you explain your artwork in the simplest form possible? 7 words.
I’m in two places at once,bro

Okay, now can you explain it in the most pompous and convoluted way possible, it doesn’t have to be true, just extremely pretentious and ridiculous.
Here is my artist statement from about 7 months ago. Its kind of awful. The last part especially :

Lauren Pelc – McArthur is a multidisciplinary artist that works in painting, digital collage and 3-D animation. She explores how individuals mediate their realities and environments through a computer. By alluding to visual phenomena native to computer generated graphics and utilizing the viscous quality of paint, she is seeking out links between tactile worlds and the infinite realms of a screen. The brush strokes in her paintings are synthesized to mimic image filters, gradients, screen colours and glitches. These paintings have evolved from an impalpable territory yet they are produced and exist within reality. They are the artefacts of venturing into and experiencing deep realms of internet culture.

Are you in to the gif and glitch art rise that’s been happening, I mean short animated artists and also the seapunk kind of stuff is starting to become rather known. Do you see it evolving into something more than just something Rhianna stole for SNL?
Haha. I didn’t know what seapunk was until about a month ago. Gif art has been around for a pretty long while (Olia Lialina for one). I think the certain aesthetic that is currently making its rounds on Tumblr is…just an aesthetic. I mean, truthfully, I do have a hard time seeing much variety in any of it. I don’t want to say anything more because I feel like i’m often lumped into this category. There are so many great people on there, though. I think Jennifer Mehigan is amazing. Adam Ferris also. Both of them are doing pretty awesome unique work.

fucked compass from Lauren Pelc – McArthur on Vimeo.

How do you balance the various aspects that go into each piece? I mean there’s a modern art vibe, and impressionist vibe, and then you have the medium that’s used and the color of it that borders on chaotic while remaining controlled with in the context of each piece.

I’m not really interested in being balanced or making balanced art, to be honest.

There’s a depth to your work (ex. Iron Egg)), they’re like 2D sculptures. Do you have any experience with 3D work?

It’s something I have always wanted to try. I’m a little wary of attempting sculptures because I am not well versed in the medium. I have some ideas, but if I make anything it will be in secret, by candlelight in a cellar where no one will ever see it. I do have some ideas. I’m looking into 3-D mapping right now and even doing some stuff with that gimmicky Layar technology stuff.

What tools/programs/whatever are you using to produce your stuff? It looks like a mixture of the work of 40 different artist.
I’m assuming your referring to the Stroker Passage series? Those guys are a combo of real painting (which is then photographed with a bomb ass camera) , objects and shapes composed in Cinema 4D and Photoshop. It’s really great how malleable a digital file is. It can be modified any number of ways in any number of programs. I try to take advantage of that as much as I can in my work.

Usually I attempt to guess the musical taste of an artist based solely on their work but I can’t do it this time. I got as far as Brian Eno being turned into melted wax then thrown into a cement mixer with a bunch of punk bands. Was I close? If not what, do you have going on music wise?

Wow! That’s really cool. I usually forget to put music on while I’m working. I prefer silence… but if I’m working in a busy place or working somewhere where with a lot of folks talking then it will be anything from Tom Waits to the Field. I think the group I have listened to most while making stuff is a band called Storm and Stress. …Maybe Shellac or Steve Reich also. I’m a big fan of Iceage and Milk Music right now and I am really digging Marnie Stern’s new album. I am probably going to be a lifelong fan of Pavement and the Silver Jews.

The most played song on my iPod is tied. “In a Big Country” by Big Country and “and Therein…” by the Fall.

Where will you be showing next? What are you currently either working on, or about to put out? Anything that our readers should keep an eye out for?

I was in a show in Spain recently, I might have some videos in a show in Boston. I’m about to get a new studio in Toronto. I am dying to get back into painting. I start wigging out if I can’t make colourful messes. I’m working on a music video for a good friend of mine.

WE RUN IT from Lauren Pelc – McArthur on Vimeo.

For more of Lauren’s work visit her website

– Cameron Patton

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