I’m pleased to share this interview with another artist from last year’s open call, Laura Travnicek! Laura is an Iowa-based oil painter and emerging artist who shared her inspiring story of resourcefulness and artistic initiative.
Laura studied painting in college before moving into arts education and social work. After several years in the field, she made an organic transition into working from home to school her kids and reignite her artistic passions. As many of us with kids now know, homeschooling is no easy task! But through clever time management and the support of her husband, Laura turned down time (nap times at first, especially) into her creative opportunity. By finding motivation, making time, and developing artistic and parenting practices rooted in intention, Laura has been steadily building her body of work over the last three and a half years.
We talk about the difficulty of doing both the mental and material work of being an artist. Laura discusses balancing priorities and spending the time to “get to know” your own art. Additionally, we talk about the importance of reaching out and leaning on your community for resources, feedback, and critique when you’re getting your professional practice off the ground — I second this as one of the best ways for artists starting out to build up their own networks of opportunities and contacts!
Having herself had to grapple with the fluidity and complexities of modern identity early on as someone with mixed ethnic heritage, Laura’s painting practice examines ideas about self-construction, interpersonal dynamics, and social encounters more broadly. Her compositions develop out of selfies she requests from family and friends as representations of their own negotiations of identity. The images are then “collaged” into one cohesive scene, developing new potential spatial and narrative relationships between the figures. The paintings are additionally informed by Laura’s practices of care: parenting is research-creation for many artist-mothers, after all!
You can find Laura’s work on her website or on IG @lauratravnicek.
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn