Each month, I will interview a different artist who is making her mark in the creative community. In September, I interviewed my talented friend, Lori Lejeune.
Lori Lejeune is an Atlanta-based artist and designer whose multimedia installations juxtapose digital images with hand-painted elements. Her FLIGHT SERIES offers a modern interpretation of birds and other creatures with wings. She creates large custom art installations by arranging canvases into patterns — providing a unique, signature look. Her work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects Atlanta at URBANfronts and in solo exhibits at the Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta, the Decatur Arts Alliance and the Aviation Community Cultural Center.
What inspired you to start making art?
First of all, thank you for inviting me to discuss my work! Drawing always came to me naturally and it’s something I’ve done ever since I was little. The first time I was paid for my art was in fourth grade when my artwork won $20 in a parish-wide contest. My formal art career began with traditional drawing and painting. Then a move to California and living in Silicon Valley inspired me to begin exploring digital media as a fine art medium.
It seemed that when photography was first introduced, people had trouble viewing it as a medium for fine art; but many artists, including Ansel Adams, proved it can be used creatively and expressively. I see the development of digital work as fine art media as being similarly not as well understood. Exploring digital art as new territory is inspiring to me.</>
How would you describe your creative process?
There’s a playful part to it. An image frequently comes to me first, where I visualize the artwork fully in my mind’s eye, and work toward creating it. The playful part comes in when accidents happen along the way as I’m working on a piece. They often lead to a different and better outcome than I envisioned!
I originated a “shape combining” or “constellation” style of wall-hanging installation artwork in Atlanta and I have been exhibiting my signature style for over 7 years. My experiments with creating round work mounted onto compact disks evolved and led to my first installation of this type, which was installed in 2012. I frequently place small, medium and large round pieces together to create elegant and interesting patterns. Sometimes I add square and rectangular pieces to the patterns. Viewers have commented that my round canvas installations remind them of a constellation. A pattern of canvases can suggest a sequence, an emotion or a larger context.
Do you ever have a hard time switching between designing corporate email campaigns and your multimedia installations?
It works for me. Many artists teach as part of their practice. Early on I decided to follow the path chosen by artists like Rene Magritte and Andy Warhol, both of whom had design and illustration studios in addition to their art practice.
Do you having any advice to artists who are just getting started?
The only part you can control is showing up and doing your work, so your focus has to be on doing work that’s meaningful to you and putting it out there. “Learn to labor and to wait,” are words that stuck with me ever since reading them. Henry Longfellow wrote, “Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate. Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.”For artists just getting started in Atlanta, check out Kibbee Gallery. Ben Goldman and Preston Snyder at Kibbee Gallery are an important part of the Atlanta art scene and they provide a venue for local artists to gather and exhibit their work.
When is your next upcoming show?
>Little Things Mean a Lot at the Swan Coach House Gallery starting Thursday, November 15, 2018 – January 4, 2019 will feature some of my small works. The other artists included in this annual exhibit are great, the reception is always packed with people and the work can sell right off the walls so try to see it opening night!