Copyright © 2018   All rights reserved    Laurus Myth

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Laurus Myth Artist Statement and Bio 2019

 

Creating modular, mixed media, and mobile sculptures, I challenge the purpose of space to inhibit reflection and connection through activation and play. Interactive art can instigate inter-human connection by inviting participation and encouraging moments of engagement. My current projects (2015-2017) are activated by a group of collaborators, who truly believe in the power of art to shift perspective, and deconstruct the walls that restrict possibility.

 

I discovered my creative practice through painting (2007-2014). Landscapes, patterns, and cultural influences from my travels to Egypt, Nepal, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India, Peru, and Cambodia are the basis of my conceptual paintings. As each place has taught me more about myself, beauty and nature are ubiquitous across different places. My intimate interactions with people from all cultures have taught me to celebrate the commonality and unique nature of human experience. Recently, after creating the largest public mural in my career (80’x 25’ in San Jose, California, 2015), I began to drift away from painting. 

 

Painting was the first tool I used to communicate my expanding perception. However, I realized each painting was paired with my love for telling these stories in person, whereas the paintings served as a recollection of ideas and experience on a flat surface. The conversations and the truth in my encounters with viewers, which expand upon the depth and connection recorded in the artwork, is truly more powerful than the images alone. Choosing to shift from painting and into my recent work was not easy. It felt like I had lost a part of my identity as a painter, and an artist. 

 

In transition, my sculptures, installations, and art experiences are heavily inspired by the transformations I learned through painting. Themes that continue in my work explore: union of opposing ideas, embracing of nature and landscape, and most of all, the playful exploration of redefining value. My desire is to embrace the connections we share, from our youth, such as laughter, dreams, and memories. Working with wood, recycled materials, and fabrics, my process for designing the physical installations starts with converting sketches into objects and using Computer Numeric Control technology to shape the media on the mill.  As a child of  Silicon Valley, I do not deny the inherent technology that repeats throughout my work. The spaces, sculptures, and objects I create, aid to build a language that sparks a moment of reflection.

Creative Non-Fiction Writing by Laurus Myth

 

The Crust

Describe the surface of your inner landscape.

 

It is a dry Saturday in November, and in a moment, I retreat. I imagine myself on this island, where I exist in my dreams, and where I go to escape myself. Edged with rolling hills curved by the ebb and flow of my emotional reality, this part of my island is smooth. The cliffs on the other side are lined with dense Monterey cypress, instilling an epic-ness and prehistoric ambiance. Outcroppings of granite, green and mossed with a multitude of variance in the tone, texture, and tactile growth patterns, scourge and overcome the surfaces of the granite peaks eroded, and exposed. These rocks are scars that over time reveal a type of growth through moss and lichen as life always finds a way. Like shadows cast over the scarred edges, the darkness casts over moist coves that spark these formations of green that turn teal, navy, and sea foam shades. While the temperature is changing, the colors we see can change how we feel. How I feel is exposed as the changes I see in my inner scape react in ways I don’t yet understand. Aligning my mind, with my desire, to see what I want, and what I deserve, makes me think of the crust of the earth. It sits on top, the peak of the surface; it is here just for show. The crown is worn down like peaks in the snow.

 

Describe the feeling of strength and structure.

Like peaks in the snow, there is a strength and fragility that I will try to describe. The stability required, the strength to engage, the spine that nests the seeds of fruit, and the cage that holds the heat of coal. That which sits in between, that which drives the motions, provides fluid movement. It is even so subtle at times that I forget what is keeping me together. It is January 19th and we just had fresh snowfall. I hadn’t quite noticed this vulnerability in me before, but the temptation of this sport is hard to deny. Riding the lift to one of the highest peaks in central California, my adrenaline lays a line of structure for my body to operate. The only way I make it down the mountain alive is to activate and coordinate my body with the blades of the board, quite the responsibility. A mantle is considered an important responsibility, passed generationally, genetically, and possibly subconsciously. What if I never discover it, in regards to my greater purpose? Will I be able to carry on the calling? A sense of fear and doubt almost rush into the center of me, increasing that vulnerability. Having a spine is having the strength and structure to maneuver through your desires. Google’s dictionary claims that geologically, the mantle is also a region of the earth’s interior that we believe to consist of hot, dense silicate rocks. The heat, the density, the strength to sustain between two elements, like a fireplace keeping safe the flame. The flesh, the heart, the soul, the mind, all connected through the spine.

The Mantle

 

And The Core

Describe the feeling of strength and structure.

Like peaks in the snow, there is a strength and fragility that I will try to describe. The stability required, the strength to engage, the spine that nests the seeds of fruit, and the cage that holds the heat of coal. That which sits in between, that which drives the motions, provides fluid movement. It is even so subtle at times that I forget what is keeping me together. It is January 19th and we just had fresh snowfall. I hadn’t quite noticed this vulnerability in me before, but the temptation of this sport is hard to deny. Riding the lift to one of the highest peaks in central California, my adrenaline lays a line of structure for my body to operate. The only way I make it down the mountain alive is to activate and coordinate my body with the blades of the board, quite the responsibility. A mantle is considered an important responsibility, passed generationally, genetically, and possibly subconsciously. What if I never discover it, in regards to my greater purpose? Will I be able to carry on the calling? A sense of fear and doubt almost rush into the center of me, increasing that vulnerability. Having a spine is having the strength and structure to maneuver through your desires. Google’s dictionary claims that geologically, the mantle is also a region of the earth’s interior that we believe to consist of hot, dense silicate rocks. The heat, the density, the strength to sustain between two elements, like a fireplace keeping safe the flame. The flesh, the heart, the soul, the mind, all connected through the spine.

 

Unveiling What Came Before...

 

Artist Statement June 2015

 

A modern-day working artist has a variety of facets and multiple creative outlets. My various channels include finding ways to showcase and share my passion directly with people through exhibition. Another is actively participating in my local community as a muralist visionary. Lastly, I moonlight for a creative company TechShop, in order to support my small business and myself.  I have a multicultural heritage like many others born in Silicon Valley, and I have watched the effects life-changing innovations transform the modern world. I often find myself attempting to interpret the effects of this confusing phenomenon through my creations. Art, like science, has the ability to create change. This is my goal as an artist. 

I chose to paint because this medium is a culturally timeless tradition celebrated worldwide. In my opinion, it is just as relevant in the evolution of human civilization as storytelling and language itself. Drawing inspiration from native plants, landscapes, and cultural symbols that have inspired me throughout my world travel. My paintings depict symbolic forms about global reality, shared concepts, lifestyles, and environments that permeate and surpass the perception of our human differences. 

Historically, many art movements such as the Tableau, Symbolist, Surrealists, and Expressionism have used landscape, representational forms, and imagery to depict the emotions and intentions of the human journey. I am influenced by the local communities and people around me, but also by the larger events and micro-moments that are happening around the globe. By studying the historical uses of art, my work fuses storytelling with an undertone of universal perspective. 

Being born into an ever-changing world of fast paces and cross-cultural communities, I am inspired to reflect the world through art making. Discovering “why” I create has unveiled to me the power of communication. I believe that visual concepts open new doors for viewers to find hidden meaning in artwork and in themselves. 

Another Day I Spend

How was work today? What did you accomplish?

 

It has taken me hours to collect myself for the project. Having made work like this before, you’d think I would be prepared. A new place, a new set up, this woodshop is so much smaller than the others. It tends to collect so much more sawdust and particulates, and even just in passing through I can feel my lungs filled with who knows what kind of matter. An upgrade of my toolkit is in order.

So, I got my first personal respirator, the heavy-duty N100 filters, bright pink in color, and with the finest particulate and fume grade, to protect my weakened lungs. They are more fragile, I feel, in this shop specifically, maybe its cause I am almost over this lung hacking cold, or maybe the past 6 years of smoking has started to catch up with my disregard for my asthma. Besides that, I have quit smoking for a few weeks now, and I had done it before for about two years a while ago. It’s weird how a new social circle, additional stresses, and a change of pace is enough to expose the weakest parts of myself, dividing my will into pieces. Luckily, I convinced my will and mind that with the “new year”, comes new responsibilities, and this time, there are no excuses.

Back to the work, this respirator just so happens to be the coolest tool ever, since the filters are hot pink, matching my hot pink leggings, I look super good in the shop. I mean it may be weird for other shop heads to see a girl in a skirt and pink pants working in the woodshop, but this is the modern era and women rock. Also, safety first, then comfort, that’s my motto, so hot pink is efficient since everyone can see me working.

The first time I tried fitting the respirator was with my hair down, and the “small” seemed sufficient. However of about ten minutes of wearing it, loaded with the cartridges, and my dreads in a bun, I started to get claustro-phobic. In this case however, the respirator acts as a dual use object in both protecting my lungs, and also netting my hair back with the quick release headgear style fitting straps. I exchanged the piece for a “medium” which fits way better, and doesn’t put too much annoying pressure on my face. Now that the lungs are set, I needed to upgrade my vision wear. 

Bourdin Traditional, super hip, old-school safety glasses. Blue rimmed, with side covers made of metal mesh that fold over for storage and clips nicely into place for full peripheral safety. The TechShop here in San Francisco, does have some nicer perks, including the safety glasses selection, and even the endmills for woodworking. Ordered from an American manufacturer, (talk about the bit brand) I haven’t tried this before.

               Working with pre-finished birch ply, I have become particular about my endmill, as all millers do. Though many would suggest, and have suggested in the past, that I should be using an up spiral flute, or a down spiral, both of those seems to cause a ripping, lifting effect on my finely finished surface. Part of my work currently uses both sides of the material, to which neither should be torn. For a while, I would just go with a standard straight edge bit because of its consistency, and it wouldn’t really pull the materials up or push them down, however they dull fairly quickly. Maybe I run them too fast across the plane, or plunge them too deep into the materials without enough speed. With CNC it is all about the feeds and speeds, referring to how fast across the planes you move, with how fast around the blade or bit spins.

The science of it all is a little too mathematical for me to geek out on. There are charts, programs, and manuals that you can reed to inform your process, I usually just ask another maker what they might do, and modify it based on what the program estimates the duration of the cut is. Sometimes in the middle of a job, I may have to speed the bit up, or slow it down if the tool is sounding weird, or cutting too slow or fast which could burn the bit up. Ill stick to my numbers once I find them and link them to a specific endmill style. Chip size, grain of the wood, and how much depth is carved per pass, and what that layer reveals are some of the important elements I pay attention to during the cut job. 

Most of the time, once you have enough practice, you can just load your design, program it, and sit by and relax while the ShopBot does all the work! Sounds like cheating, but there is quite the learning curve with this tool, and these skills. For example, a slow and steady pace usually creates the cleanest cuts and is well worth the wait. However days where I fuck off until the last min, and my time on the machine is limited, I may get more risky and try to speed up the process making rougher edges as a means to an end. I wish I did give myself more time for projects like these. I get so wrapped up in the immediacy of drawing, carving, finishing, that I substitute steps that maybe the masters or professionals would always consider. Justifying these happenings as moments of making, or just my flow of process, is a total “artist” excuse. But I feel like I’m getting to a point in my life where I am learning to give up excuses.

Expanding On

How often do you relax? What do you see?

 

I am getting to a point in my life, where I am learning to give up excuses. Taking more time when I need it, listening to my body when it is time to rest, are hardly excuses but it is still a struggle. It is ok to relax or go for a walk, even though it hurts. The time outside will do me good. I resort to nature and find myself reflecting on the most amazing yet minuscule moments and realizations. As such, my last trip in March, I took the time to expand my view and perspective near the water's edge on the brink of an ending spring.

Calm as the shore, on a lake of fresh water, the sun brightens and warms my skin, as the cooling air, fresh off the snow covered mountains brings cool air for me to breathe. We walked through the meadow, rolling hills, pines and firs. A forest with sprinkles of outcropped granite, exposed, rounded, and erodes into shape. The path is carved across these meadows and forest while a small bridge allows us passage across the little ravines of tall grass and micro waterways. Ponds with red growing branches, reflecting the blue of the sky mixed with the darkness of the mossy basin, create the most vivid and full spectrum of colors to be seen, warming and cooling. 

We walked to the shore of Lake Tahoe, took off our boots, sandals, and socks. Connecting our feet with the earth directly, we submit ourselves to the waves. This beach was made of land not from here. As I sit on the very edge, I see the smooth carved lines the water's edge makes, braided like ripples, the waves so slight to catch the sun and create magnified shadows of brightness under water.

 The water closest to the edge moves slower. I have been watching it ripple shadow and light at the same time. I notice these little circular shadows moving as if cast from something on the surface. Eclipsing like the darkened moon revealing only an edge of light that is translucent to the grains of sand it is cast onto. 

I focus on the surface and see small clusters of what I think to be wings of bugs. But as I tighten the lens, small granules, little clumps of floating sand. Grains that have been lifted from the floor or maybe kept dry on top, and only kissed the surface of the water quickly while hugging its neighbors. These lighter than water, clusters glide just barely. As they too add weight to the water's surface, they create patches of the sunken surface.  Their mass and weight challenge my knowledge of optics. Yet the dip of the surface creates a meniscus effect, magnifying my sight through the grains of sand below. Like what you may think a time warp looks like in a photo or one of those trippy posters of radiating symmetrical vortices. Found in nature, aspects of magnification can be seen and studied. But what does a drop magnify or do for a grain of sand? Without silicate qualities, the glassy nature of what we know as a mirror or a reflection. All sizes, swaying and rocking with the tide. 

This moment, this expansion of the minuscule natural process is what grounds me. If I can detach from my day-to-day life, the almost façade of being a part of society, and in a moment, let all the worries and burdens fade away, for that time, I will be free. A mantra I say over and over throughout the course crushing days is: 

Be like a tree and grow into today,

Like a leaf on the wind fear not yesterday,

Ride the day over the rain wind and hills,

Fear not tomorrow; let your mind be still.

A Frothy Dream

How do you get around? What does it offer you?

 

I rode my bike all over town, in the rain, wind and over the hills. Picking up pieces of my life all over this vast city. I found myself at the same stop as before. It felt like I was going in circles. Cycling in circles, I crevassed and carved the city surface. Like a swell on the tides roll, I return again to the place I once was. The churning of pedals, a meditation of breath, of syncing (or sinking) in, a release of energy gets me there, on any day, like second nature. Sometimes in the rain, I see small rivers flowing down the street, affected by gravity, without doubt, and responding molecularly to this manmade terrain. Tapping into that same force, I disengage from tension and relive the effortlessness of gravity. The climb begins again, yet this time I don’t notice until the top. When the mind leaves the body, and “being" diffuses in the moment, a field of energy surrounds me like a bubble of bursting glow, deflecting all distraction, and engaging my primitive function. I smell the humid must of the concrete. Slick and damp, as if time slowed and every moment expanded into a thousand more, I could see evaporation happening all around as beads of moisture lift into steam. Peaking brightness and warmth for not more than a moment's pass, defying gravity the in name of natural process, mist rises. The sky and the ground become one, through fluidity, expansion, and pressure, the effortless cycle continues. 

I ride again, the second day, not quite like before, but carrying more. Off my brow, drips of soul condensate, and fade away. I drop pieces of myself along the city surface, almost becoming a part of each place through these remnants. Like layers of cells, matter, fluid, and thoughts, multiplying the actuality of spaces, in traces of dots, spot, and mark making moments. I remember the mist and these pieces of me, arising from the weighted floor, and becoming one with the sky. This day my goals are an undefined, unsuppressed, and undulating force. Some days it is better for me to go with the flow rather shape the path. Kinetic energy builds up and I question the purpose in all of this work. Achievements in money, accomplishing tasks, these seem for nothing without fulfilling the places inside of me I gaze through without confronting. I find it hard to see those places, the ones buried beneath all of the expectations. Except when I’m riding. They reveal as transitions in space, pace, and my body overrides and releases them.    

Once I had a dream of a totem animal that came to see me. It was a dream of a small black cat, which I exaggerated to be a mystical jaguar. It’s easier to find meaning in dreams of day and night when I magnify moments to bring importance to the little things. This mystical cat revealed itself as a symbol for a solitary path, ever-shifting on its course. To embody the energy of this creature is to accept the dark unknowing chaos. To move without fear through the unguided path, knowing unconditionally that through this struggle I will regain my inner power. Sometimes I feel that my journey in life is one I must do alone. I remember a quote from Alan Watts “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” To let go of my attachments, even let go of my feet on the ground, brings so much opportunity for disaster and change at the same time. I ride the day away like sea foam rides the waves of the ocean in spring, just to see the bellies of sea birds and feel the world without gravity, floating.

 

If only this journal could be true. If only I could ride my bike across the crusty surface of any city. If only each foot was lifted like froth, and each step was set free from the burdening weights of gravity so I could move freely without this pain. I dream again for the day soon to come when these moments become endlessly expanded daily, and impatience is left to bite the dust.

 
 

Laurus Myth