CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
AL: If I was a writer instead of an artist I would be most closely attributed to a Lewis Carroll, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Deborah Levy cocktail.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
AL: One late evening I asked my Scottish taxi driver about the worst part of their job. I expected his answer to be something about the long hours, bad food, or mechanics. Instead, he stopped at the red light and said ‘The worst part about my job is that I never hear the end of the story. People come into my taxi halfway through their conversation and leave without finishing it off.’ I have often thought about that taxi driver and how it is fragments of a story that inspire me the most. I want my work to feel like a snapshot of a much bigger tale, a springboard for the imagination to go on an unexpected ride.
CH.89 Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
AL: First, I focus on the line. Then I think about the most probable but impossible composition. I then write a little text that I try to make as amusing for myself as I possibly can and I think about it whilst I draw. I want my finished work to look like it’s just one fragment of a much bigger story.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
AL: The other day I went to see an extraordinary show by Lucian Fraud at the National Gallery in London. When I walked out of it the entire world seemed like one of his paintings. Every person I saw could suddenly be one of his models. His work made me see the rest of the world through his eyes. I would like my work to have the same impact on people. For my audience, for just a moment to be so visually stimulated by my work that their visual world becomes mine.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
AL: I drink a lot of coffee and orange juice. Snacks and naps are very important. Equally having an excuse to leave the studio by a certain time is also stimulating. I need to set a schedule.
Photograph by James Hill
CH.89: When starting an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
AL: It depends on the artwork, there does come a point where the drawing starts telling you what it needs. I never know what my work will end up looking like, but I always aim to convey a certain feeling that overwhelms me at that very moment. The moment the drawing is finished the feeling belongs to the page and not to me and I can move on. I find this very freeing.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
AL: Being an artist touches every aspect of your life. It’s not an activity that is confined to one’s studio. One cannot be an artist every other week of the day, it’s always there even in your dreams.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of the highest importance?
AL: I often play a game on the metro casting people in different professions according to what they are wearing. I have inherited most of my clothes from older relatives who had great taste and style. As a result, my style is a patchwork of what my family members have worn before me. When it comes to my work, I don’t think that people like or even buy my work because they necessarily have good taste but because it is in line with their emotional makeup which I think has nothing to do with style or taste.
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
AL: If one is an artist at the beginning of their career, one is also their own accountant, lawyer, pr person, and shipping coordinator, and yet all you have been taught to do up until that point is the ability to draw.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
AL: Collectors get to live with a slice of your soul.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspire you in any way?
AL: Louise Bourgeois is a guiding light for me. I love the unapologetic way she made her work and clothes and lived her life, she was a total artist. I aim to do the same.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
AL: I use google images a great deal to refer back to. For example, currently, I am drawing butterflies that fly in the shape of a hippo. To make this peculiar composition make sense I need to get the anatomy of both creatures right, and that you cannot make up. Instagram is also a fabulous tool to see what others are up to. Sometimes, in a pang of self-doubt, I get a little hesitant about producing an even more peculiar piece. After scrolling through my feed I realize that whatever I am thinking of is not even remotely as odd as what other artists are doing. Looking at art permits me to make my own. Except for going to exhibitions in real life, there is no better tool to do that than Instagram.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
AL: Yes, I do. Although I don’t think it’s about viewing the world, but noticing what the world is made up of. A lot of my work has come from little phrases I overheard in a bar, at a friend’s office, or from a conversation with a taxi driver. They don’t necessarily know how inspiring they are, but the job of an artist is to notice and run with the idea.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
AL: I am always traveling in my head to different times and places around the world. Recently I have been very interested in the Byzantine BC Early Roman period so a trip to Rome last summer was very memorable. It’s a place where history is always at arm’s length. I know Rome quite well, but not well enough to call it home, so traveling there is always a treat.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
AL: It’s hard to choose a favorite. I draw inspiration from Vladimir Nabokov’s books. Recently, I discovered Andy Warhol’s autobiography, which is a very different kind of writing from Nabokov’s, but fascinating nonetheless. It is mind-boggling to think that the two men were each other’s contemporaries. I do wonder what conversation they would have had upon a chance encounter…
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
AL: My dream is to put together a solo show on MARS.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
AL: I recently listened to a podcast with the late Peter Schjeldahl, a critic from the New Yorker magazine, who said that to be an artist one has to remain a child with adult discipline. Keeping the ‘child’ alive is essential to make a blank piece of paper transform into a world.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
AL: La Pluie by ZAZ
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
AL: Probable but impossible.