Interview with Lauren Marina; illustrator and designer.

I love being able to interview brilliant, talented and interesting people here in my funny little corner of the internet! I'm hoping that someday, when lockdown lifts, I can do more of this kind of thing in a slightly different format - but more on that later. Now, let me introduce the divine Lauren Marina! She and I met a while ago, through work. Now she's freelancing, creating 'illustration for inspired interiors' (ooft, that alliteration game is top notch, no?) and currently raising funds to make a full on brand, and eventually bring about a collaborative community studio space and shop! You can support the crowdfunder HERE.

I fired a few questions over to her via email, and her replies were so lovely. Read on, friends!

Photo by @seansvisuals at TOSH

Would you like to tell us about your wonderful artwork and Marina Studio brand?

Hey Grace! I am an illustrator, pattern, and surface designer. I’ve been making art my whole life but took the plunge into freelancing full-time last year after leaving my previous job. I work on a mix of private commissions for clients, and also creating my own items to sell. 


I draw all of my work with pencil, inks, paint, and also using my iPad and Procreate. I tend to lean towards using a limited colour palette of deep charcoal and beige or white, but sometimes I add in some earthy tones too. 


I’m inspired by blooming houseplants, changing seasons, natural forms, expressive fauna, and wild creatures. I’ve recently gotten into drawing more animals, and I’m loving creating a series of expressive galloping horses!   


Marina Studio is my brand where I sell a variety of lifestyle and interior items. I currently sell a range of art prints, greetings cards, and wrapping paper. I’m really conscious of my environmental impact so print only on 100% recycled high-quality cards, using vegetable inks, and my products either come packaging-free or wrapped in compostable sleeves. 


How has lockdown etc. been for you, creatively?


Creatively, it’s actually been quite groundbreaking for me. 


I began drawing again as a way to pass the time and to self-soothe my anxiety. It became an everyday hobby again and it felt really good to have the time to do it! Like slipping back into a pair of really comfy, familiar slippers, if you know what I mean? 


I began to post some of my drawings on Instagram and had a really encouraging response from my community. Then I started selling some prints online, and a few commissions started coming in. Things have just snowballed from there really!


I started to think that maybe I could actually give my illustration a shot as a career. It was a bit of a ‘now or never’ moment for me. For a lot of last year, drawing felt like survival, for my mental health but also as a way to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. With each commission and each sale from my shop I’m proving to myself that I can do it, and that I can absolutely smash it!


So as an artist, this last year has exceptionally transformative for my own confidence and self-belief.


Photo by @seansvisuals at TOSH

It seems like you've been super busy lately! Tell us about the latest project you're embarking on!


So I started a Crowdfunder at the start of February! I’ve never used a platform like this before so I was initially a little worried about how it would be received. I am looking to raise £500 so that I can expand my range of Marina Studio products. I’ve been experimenting with wallpaper designs over the last few months and I am absolutely loving it as a potential end-point for my art! But, starting a wallpaper range comes with its costs, so I asked my community to help fund this expansion. 


I have been utterly bowled over by the kind and generous response. I really thought that the Crowndfunder could fall totally flat, with no one caring or donating. But it’s been the total opposite. The £500 goal has been made, and I’m now aiming for my stretch target of £1000. The financial generosity has been amazing to receive, but moreover, the belief that people have in me as an artist is absolutely magic. 


What are your biggest hopes and dreams? (for the brand, and for you!)


If I can make a living from my art, have a secure roof over my head, food in my tummy, and a good work/life balance I’ll be so happy. I hope to move into a proper artist studio soon, but I don’t want to jinx it so I won’t say too much on that!

Photo by @seansvisuals at TOSH

Do you have a favourite piece of work you've done in the past?

That’s a tricky one. I find that my most recent piece of art is my favourite! So currently, that’s the Galloping Horse print. I just love how the sun's beating down, they look pretty chill and their tail flicks gleefully amongst the foliage!

Photo by @seansvisuals at TOSH

Thanks for chatting with me, Lauren. I can't wait to someday have a cuppa together on the beach in Dorset!

My darls, if you want to support this queen and help her achieve her dream of making Marina Studio, contribute here OR check out her shop, OR buy her a virtual coffee!


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