After 15 years of art shows, I have a nice collection of questions I hear on a regular basis. Enjoy these and feel free to add your own in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.
1. Is Laura Loving your real name?
Yes. This is definitively the question I am most frequently asked. My parents are Ed and Wanda Loving and that makes me Laura Loving. I love my name!
2. Where are you from?
I am from Atlanta, GA. New York may be my new hometown, but Georgia is my state of mind. Since I moved to New York, I get asked this about once a day and at least five times at a big opening.
My southern accent is like a fog horn in a crowd of New Yorkers. It is usually followed by “How long have you been here?”(like maybe I’m just off the boat.) When I respond with 12 years, they look at me very puzzled, as if to say, “How could you still have that accent after 12 years in the culture capital of the free world?” My answer every time is that my accent has always been an asset. It’s friendly and inviting and it makes people want to talk to me. Not to mention, it’s just a part of who I am. I am a Manhattan Magnolia. The best thing that could happen to you as an artist in New York is that you stand out and let me tell you, having a southern accent in New York makes you stand out.
3.Why are there no faces on your people?
Wow, it took three questions to get to one about my actual art. I think this is because art is a personal thing and people are just as interested in the artist as they are the actual art. The answer to this question is that I intentionally create faceless characters in an effort to engage viewers to create their own stories and see themselves, as well as people they know, in my work.
4. Do you ever paint in the nude?
I couldn’t resist sharing this, especially with everything in the news right now. I am not kidding; this question comes up all the time (always from men, of course). I told this to my husband when we were first dating and he thought I was exaggerating. As luck would have it, at my next opening, a guy asked me right in front of Peter (my husband) if I ever painted him in the nude. Priceless! My point was made and now Peter is more a part of my art than he intended. If your name is Laura Loving and you are an artist, you are going to get these types of questions. On a similar note, I once shipped a package to a client in Belgium and it was retained by Customs for two weeks. My client had to go to the Customs office and open the package to prove it was not pornography. He was told that because the return address said “Studio Laura Loving,” officials found this highly questionable. I find it highly hilarious and it always makes a great story. Oh yeah, I forgot to answer the original question. While I do many things in the nude,
painting is not one of them.
5. How long does it take you to finish a painting?
There is no simple answer to this. It depends on so many factors. Have I painted the subject before? Do I want to finish the painting? Do I need money? How large is the canvas? On average, it takes approximately 10 -20 hours to create a painting from beginning to end. This includes getting the idea, coming up with the sketch, researching the subject and painting. Some paintings take weeks or even months to finish. It really depends on the piece. One of my artist friends says that she feels each work has taken the entire amount of time she’s been an artist, as each work builds on another. There are many ways to look at this question.
6. How do you find the discipline to go to the studio every day?
I am very lucky in that I love what I do for a living and most days it does not feel like a job.
I would like to add that until recently, I have always been a one-woman shop. This means that if I’m not in the studio creating work and trying to sell it every day, no one else is, either. Money is a huge motivator and can give me the hustle I need to get going. I don’t know any artists making a living off their work who aren’t working very hard every day.
7. How often do you paint?
Most people find this shocking, but I paint only about 30% of my work time. The remainder of the work time pie chart are the other tasks of running a business. This is a good thing. It keeps my work day interesting and never boring. Some days I’m in marketing mode, some days I’m in PR and others I am an accountant or even a logistics specialist.
8. What is your favorite painting?
Hands down, it’s Lady Liberty. She is the first painting I created after moving to New York, which is where I’ve always wanted to live. I was 30 when I finally made it here. I always have felt like this image is a kind of a victory painting. Sometimes, I think it may be a self portrait of sorts. There is such an optimism and magic about this painting that even I don’t understand. Lady Liberty helped me launch my career as a full-time artist and she brought me my first real commercial success. I have sold Lady Liberty again and again. I have been commissioned to paint her in all sizes, in daytime settings, in nighttime settings, for both public and private collectors. She hangs in almost every state in the U.S. and many countries all over the world. One of my former art professors once asked me if I ever tired of painting her. I don’t, and I continue to see her in new ways.