Women’s Work: ‘Life just sort of happens’

Women’s Work: ‘Life just sort of happens’

Personnel File

Lauren Gillette

How long she’s been an artist: 28 years

Personal: Married, with a 19-year-old daughter who is also an artist

For more info: www.laurengillette.com

For years, Lauren Gillette spent hours delicately putting brush to canvas. But, then, one day, she decided she’d done all she could with oil paintings. So she moved on to new mediums – most notably leather jackets, which she uses to create intricate historical narratives through an intaglio of song lyrics, quotes, images, embroidery and other embellishments.

The York-based visual artist has also recently undertaken massive photo projects in which she exposes her subjects’ wishes and regrets, or sums up their being in just a few simple words.

Intrigued? Her work is now on display in an exhibit called “Refashioned,” at Portland Museum of Art, May 21 through July 31.

Q: What factors from your childhood gave you the courage to venture out on your own?

A: My mother was an artist, so it certainly was a part of the lifestyle when I was growing up. I never gave it any thought – you just sort of do what you do.

Q: What do you think are the key traits/factors needed to become a successful female entrepreneur?

A: You just do it because that’s what you want to do – you wouldn’t really know how to do anything else. You can be successful if your work is successful, or you can be financially successful. Once I stopped trying to do anything with any thought to whether it would sell, or if people would want it or like it, I found that my work became much more accessible.

Q: What keeps you motivated?

A: I’m just expressing myself, so that’s not that hard to rev yourself up to do. I keep changing it up. Also, good work habits – you just show up every day, whether you’re inspired or not.

Q: What’s your overall outlook on life, summed up in a few sentences?

A: I used to be a figurative painter, and one day I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore, and I’m doing what I’m doing now. Life just sort of happens.


Taryn Plumb is a Maine-based freelance writer who has written for a variety of publications, including daily and weekly newspapers, websites, trade and business journals, wedding, art and regional-themed magazines.

Artist Lauren Gillette gave up canvases for leather jackets, on which she paints “intricate historical narratives.” Her work is currently being featured in the Portland Museum of Art’s “Re-Fashioned” exhibit, now through July 31, 2011.Taryn Plumb is a ?Maine-based freelance writer who has written for a variety of publications, including daily and weekly newspapers, websites, trade and business journals, wedding, art and regional-themed magazines.

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