Instagram: @laurierowan Twitter: @laurierowan Giphy: www.giphy.com/laurierowan
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I am a Welsh man in my early 30s who lives in Brighton on the south coast of England in a small flat with my wife and her many many balls of wool. I have been an animator for about 10 years and I consider it a privilege to have a job I love.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.I try to make things vague and nonsensical, but tangible. My work often gets described as being like ‘ice cream’ or ‘clay’ and I like that because it implies there’s something tactile about it. I’m naturally drawn to humanoid characters in muted pinks and blues, and like to present them in such as way as you’d imagine is their daily life or a familiar activity.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?My favourite is animation in general. I love to make things move, to give life and character to bulbous forms making them appear alive and emotionally articulate. I’ll choose different methods of animation dependant on the concept or tone I’m trying to convey. Recently I’ve produced a lot of 3D work because I love the play of light and realism you can apply to outlandish subject matter. I enjoy using precision tools to create something wonky and playful. It’s like using a surgeon’s blade to sculpt playdough.
4. What is your artistic process like?It really varies. Sometimes an idea pops into my head almost fully formed and I can confidently commit it to paper and begin plotting how it will need to be constructed in order to do things I want it to do. Sometimes my only idea is the physical quality I want an item to have, like how will it bend or behave if suddenly inflated? Is that satisfying? It’s like a long protracted version of fidgeting or scratching an itch. Other times I draw and draw and draw until I eventually land upon something that pleases me in some way, I don’t know what my criteria is, it’s quite instinctual. Once the concept is in place and I have at least a loose notion of the aesthetic, I move into my software. At that point, entire days pass in a fugue state until I have produced something I deem a success by some abstract metric. Then it is done and I hate it. Then I gradually learn to like it again once I’ve gained a critical distance.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?A lot of people/things. Sculpture and ceramics. Picasso’s sculptural work. Reeves and Mortimer. Confectionery. Flann O’Brien. Dadaism. Unpleasant fibreglass statues of hotdogs apply ketchup to themselves outside fast food places, and other variations on that. Architecture on holiday, most recently Iceland. Computer game design. Grayson Perry. Michel Gondry. Toys. Talking Heads. Pictoplasma. My wife. Hopefully, it all goes in, I try to be actively engaged in the world and culture around me, apart from when I’m actually creating work, when I become very insular and like to focus in on and occupy the internal logic of the piece.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?It dominates and defines it to the point where I don’t really know how to answer that question. I grew up in a household where art and artistic expression were really valued and I was always engaged in it, so it’s been a preoccupation since I can remember. I guess it affects me day to day as I’m constantly making assessments about how I can incorporate situations and concepts into my artwork, so in that regard maybe it makes me a bit pretentious and detached? It’s such a broad term, I view it as any form of self-expression and therefore serves as the content and character of all life, so in that way it is the prism through which I view it. ‘It’ being the world. That’s the most pretentious thing I’ve ever said publicly, but I think I believe it. https://vimeo.com/227749243
7. Where did you study?I studied at Sussex University in Brighton, but I didn’t study art. After university and a call centre induced existential crisis I locked myself in a room for 6 months and learnt enough art to get a junior role in a small animation company.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?I’d like to have made some short films, a comic and still be in a position to survive making art and animation. Exhibit. I’ve never done an art stall, I’d like to do that. I’d also like to have children.
9. What about in ten?More of the same, but more so. Hopefully, it will have progressed into something I can’t foresee yet. I’d hope so, because I wouldn’t have been able to visualise what I made today a few weeks ago and I enjoy the unforeseen evolution of it.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?I honestly don’t know. I don’t mean that as a evasive answer. For people to engage with it, on some level. For it to satisfy something. I find making art a compulsion, so I never really think of the ultimate objective. To make people happy I suppose, that feels like a noble enough cause, for now.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?I like seafood a lot. Things with tentacles. I could also eat pizza at any given moment.
12. Favourite book?Building Stories by Chris Ware. There’s a sequence in there showing the beds the main character has slept in throughout her life, in reverse chronological order and it’s so empathetic, vulnerable, simple and sad that I can barely bring myself to look at it, in an appreciative way. Right now I’m reading The Gospel According to Blindboy by Blindboy Boatclub and I’m really enjoying it.
13. Favourite genre of music?I find myself listening to a lot of music by sincere people who can’t sing well. I don’t what genre that is, underwhelming music? Other than that recently I’ve been enjoying Jacques Dutonic, Amanaz, Jerry Paper, Kevin Morby, Mor Thiam and Shabazz Palaces. Talking Heads are one of my all time favorites and I love Bjork in pretty much every sense. Tim Buckley too. And Nick Drake. And Tom Waits.
14. What are your hobbies?My hobby is making art. I also enjoy drinking, riding my bike and sitting in my campervan talking to my wife about how we wished we had a dog.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?For a while I worked at an amusement stall on a pier, narrating a dolphin themed racing game - “number one in the lead, number one, followed by number seven, surprise advance from number six! Number six is taking it! Six now in second position as we move into the final stages…” - that sort of thing. It wouldn’t be my ideal job, but I know it’s something I can do, if things got bad. https://vimeo.com/247454953 https://vimeo.com/227748583