Kristi Lauren conducts her life in a way that society tells us should be scary. “I live in the now and ride on passion,” the SLC artist declares. When a creative thought excites her, she does it.
And how does a life motivated by creation look? Well, for example, a few years ago Kristi wanted to learn silk screen printing. “I bought some used equipment off of craigslist and taught myself,” she says. “Now I screen print t-shirts.” Among the 23-year-old’s other talents and skills, she lists acrylic painting, graphic design, photography, marketing, and bookmaking. Kristi also is scheduled to graduate this spring with a master’s degree from the U of U’s College of Architecture. “I’m definitely a designer,” she asserts. “I’m a creative thinker and problem-solver.” Kristi currently is fashioning custom canvas shoes, a project she calls Shadow Shoes.
With all Kristi has going on, one might expect her to manifest a mercurial and whimsical presence; but she is polished and cool. Creation moves her spirit in a multitude of directions, but her process is not structureless. “When there’s a deadline, I get ready for it; otherwise I’m just spontaneous, but when I start a project, I always finish it. It’s important for me to finish,” she says. The next talents that Kristi wants to add to her repertoire are learning to beat box and play the cello.
Kristi’s creative process begins with an idea that excites her. She then moves in the direction of that idea by immersing herself in learning the process and craft to execute her ideas. At the beginning of learning a new skill Kristi does not, take a class. She instead first interacts with the equipment and process and learns through handling materials and new tools. “I get a lot of joy out of figuring stuff out for myself,” she affirms. For her Shadow Shoes project, Kristi has been refining her process and producing novel footwear. She is using her self-taught sewing skills to custom design canvas shoes. She then custom-cures a rubber urethane sole which she adheres to the canvas. Shadow Shoes are a work-in-progress that she soon intends to sell to the public, once she has the designs and process for making the shoes nailed down.
Raised in a creative household, Kristi says, helped her construct her visionary frame of mind. Her mother is a fine artist, ceramic artist, illustrator, and calligrapher, and her father has an MA in psychology. Creating not only was a way of life in her upbringing, but also taught her to believe in constructive thinking, a psychology term used to describe a productive approach to problem-solving. Kristi and her parents have recently launched a collaborative business, Family Trees and Timelines in which they are putting “ family history into artistic and visual form.”
Acrylic painting is Kristi’s homebase pursuit. She started painting when she was five and continues to explore the medium. Kristi shares her work throughout the community and participates in events such as Squatter’s Sketch Sundays. “If I don’t paint, I start to get in moods,” she shares. “For me, painting is meditative. The more I paint, the happier I am.”
And happiness is the key. Kristi has had enough experience doing what makes her happy, taking an idea from inception to end creation, that she fully recognizes the impotence in leading a passionless life.
“I have people come up to me and say, ‘I wish I could do that.’ Well, you can. I just do everything that I love, and I wish other people would do that as well.”