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Sometimes you’re casually scrolling down your Twitter feed and something catches your eye, on this occasion that something was Lauren Moran, a New York based artist who was selling awesome personalised Twitter avatars for $20. I didn’t even hesitate. Then I bought my wife one. I quickly became a fan of Lauren’s diverse styles of art and jumped at the chance to have a chat with her.

lauren1Tell us a little bit about yourself, Lauren, how did you get started as an artist? How long have you been doing it?

For the most part I’ve always loved to draw since I was a kid, I was either drawing or singing so when it came down to picking a college I was torn between going for music or art and I went with art!

What was your first comic book?

My first comics were Betty and Veronica digests I’d get at the supermarket with my dad as a kid.

How would you describe your art style to someone who hasn’t seen your work?

Hmm, I’d have to say comic book inspired portraits!

What have been your highest highs and lowest lows whilst working as an artist?

Highest high was getting noticed by the Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway producers and having my work posted on their social media, and all the awesome things that happened because of it. Hedwig has been the most important and influential thing in my life since I saw the movie for the first time when I was 13, so to get any attention from the people involved was just completely unreal to me, and it still is honestly!

Lowest low was after I broke my femur when I was 19 and had to leave the school I was going to for printmaking and take a year off, I worked at a Journey’s store as an assistant manager and it took up pretty much all of my time and I wasn’t able to work on my art and I didn’t really have a direction or an idea of what I wanted to do as an artist. When I decided to apply to a new school that was closer to home (FIT) I originally wanted to major in photography, but I had missed the due date for applications so I went with Illustration instead!

Are there any particular social issues you like to address, explore, or challenge in your work? Why?

Any social issues I feel strongly about I usually take the more obvious route and post or retweet things about it on Twitter. Art for me is more expression of the things I really enjoy, but in a way that shows the social issues that are important to me since I mainly draw strong women and my Hedwig pieces show trans/gay characters! I’m not really out to change the world with my art, but if my pieces can give exposure to people/groups who I feel should have more of the spotlight then that’s great!

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How do you think art affects our mental health? Can it heal?

It’s definitely an amazing way to get your feelings or frustrations out. I’ve had shitty days then came home and made something I thought was cool and felt better! But it can also cause a lot of stress if you’re trying to make it and there is a constant pressure to do and be better. Art can definitely heal, but depending on your relationship with art it can also have some negative effects on your mental health unfortunately (at least in my personal experience!).

Do you think women in the comic book / art industry are treated any differently to guys? How are they viewed? Has this changed / is this changing?

Sadly yes, but that’s pretty much in any industry. I think they way we’re viewed varies from person to person, but overall women and getting more opportunities as creators now which I think is so refreshing! not only that but the new books and story arcs are catering to a wider audience and not just the ‘fanboys’, and we’re also getting more female led books as well! It’s a great time to be a female reader of comics, AND ITS ONLY GETTING BETTER!

Who are your comic book hero’s / influences?

Oh man this list could go on for a while, but here we go!
Becky Cloonan, Gerard Way, Fionna Staples, Ming Doyle, Babs Tarr, Joe Quinones, Alex Ross, Bruce Timm, Terry Dodson, Wes Craig, and so many more but lets keep it at that list for now!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I HAVE NO IDEA! I truly don’t! There are so many things I want to do in the illustration world that I really can’t tell what direction my path is going to take. My ideal place in 5 years would be getting steady freelance work doing comics covers and pop culture portraits for magazines like Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, and actually having enough free time that I can work on oil paintings again!

Find more of Lauren’s work on her website.
http://lauren-moran.com/

Rai

Lauren’s portrait of me!

 

By Rai Jayne Hearse

A hermit from Up North, Rai spends her time scribbling words, buried under a pile of magazines and cassette tapes. Whenever she does finally emerge from her tiny office she tries to achieve world domination as the bassist of kick-ass punk band Pink Hearse.