Lauren Spencer King

December 7, 2016

It seems that by looking for ways in which to personally heal and grow, Lauren has found that she gets, if not more, satisfaction from nurturing others. By harnessing wisdom from the past, adapting that knowledge so it is relative and functional for the modern woman, and then sharing it, Lauren has created a small flurry of devotees at her weekly breathing and meditation classes.

Spending an afternoon with LA-based artist Lauren Spencer King, watching her paint in her studio, and, later, float around her Silver Lake-based apartment, I am made immediately aware of all of senses; my eyes calmed by the softened, desaturated palettes; my nose warmed by the aroma of picked grasses and dried herbs. I take note of the book titles quietly stacked along one wall: The Golden Bough, The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting, Marie Antoinette. Lauren wanders around in bare foot, briefly tucking the hair behind her ears in the lavender-coloured bathroom mirror. If we could capture the quality of Lauren in a glass vessel and take a sip each morning, I am positive we would all be more reflective, intuitive, and by default, progressive.

— We're very intrigued by your breathing and meditative practices and teachings. Can you tell us about these and how you personally incorporate them into your everyday?

I have always gone through phases with the breathwork meditation. I learned the technique about twelve years ago from my teacher and have used it as a tool in my life when I have needed it. My personal practice ebbs and flows - sometimes it’s every day, sometimes it’s once a month. But, it feels good to know that when I need to move some emotion or have some clarity around something in my life I can lay down and breathe.

I have been teaching the meditation weekly for four years, and my biggest intent is to pass it on as a tool for people to help them connect to the energy in their body. And really to empower and show them that they can be a healer for themselves.

— Can you tell us about what you are currently exploring and enjoying with your mineral painting works?

These are the first paintings I have ever made where I have no idea what they will end up looking like when I start them. Everything is always so planned. It’s so good for me to be in the unknown. They are about a whole mix of things, but were born from a long time love of the watercolor “Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car” by William Blake. Beatrice was the love of Dante’s life, and she died at a very young age. My paintings keep circling back to his, both in my interest in how he used color and in the subject matter.

They are made from ground up minerals and earth pigments from all over the world. I mix them with glycerine, honey and gum Arabic to make my own watercolors. Made with the belief that the paintings hold the same healing properties of the stones and of the natural world in which they are found.

— What are some textures and colours you like to have in and around your home. Does this differ to your working space at all?

I think about arranging at lot, both in my home and when it comes to my work or hanging a show. A lot of times in my work I pair two opposing things together, and a third thing is born. In both places everything has a meaning or a story. It’s a mix of: quiet, the unusual and the familial, lots of light, geometry, and asymmetry.

— And how about in your wardrobe? What sort of pieces or fabrics are you usually drawn to wearing?

In the last few months I have felt differently as I get dressed. I have cared less about wearing things that are flattering, or perhaps that might agree with others or the situation I am wearing them in. My clothes have come to represent more of a philosophy than they are about being attractive. Maybe this is a result of getting older and caring less what men think, even though I think women dress for other women most of the time.

I can’t put my finger on it, but what I want to wear seems to have something to do with being a woman, and breaking free from ideas about what that looks like. I’m really asking myself - What does it feel like to wear something that makes me feel like the woman I am, and not the woman someone wants me to be?

Wearing something that feels sexy to me and unflattering to others feels like an act of rebellion. Some days I like the anonymity of my beat up studio Vans, old blue jeans and an old black t-shirt. I like trying to wear these things in a way where I stand out as the woman I am, and not because of the clothes I wear.

— What do you enjoy most about living in Silver Lake (/or Los Angeles in general)?

The other day a friend and I were in the car at a stop light, and both of us watched as three young Hasidic Jewish boys peaked around the corner of a building, watching a fancy lady with long blonde hair get out of a pink stretch limousine. We both said out loud at the same time, “I love LA.”

And the light. I love the light in LA.

— This season, we are currently thinking about the ideas around a nomadic lifestyle. What would be your most favorite travel memory or souvenir?

I love being in a place where I experience multiple times collapsing in one location. It’s like traveling to multiple times while being in real time. It has only happened in a few places in my life. Places where visually, emotionally, extra-sensorially, intellectually, physically, karmic-ly… even historically… places where everything is being triggered and experienced at once. These are the places that awaken a part of me, and really stay with me when I leave them. This happened most recently a few years ago when I swam in the Grotta Azzurra, a sea-cave in Italy. I have a piece of limestone from the bottom of the cave that I keep on my altar. And it always happens when I am in the Château de Versailles. (sigh) That place…

— What was the most recent thing you read/ watched/ tasted that took you by surprise, moved you, inspired you?

The work Charles Atlas did with Merce Cunningham, the music of J D Emmanuel, the TV show Stranger Things, Werner Herzog’s movies Heart of Glass and The White Diamond, a yoga class my friend taught on the color purple, reading about Bletchley Park and the Turing Machine, teaching meditation to a seven year old, seeing my favorite film “Uncle Boonmee Who Could Recall His Past Lives” again on the big screen at an old movie theater, fruit on my kitchen windowsill warmed by the sun and the oppressive heat of the dry Santa Ana winds, seeing the most incredible sunset of my life on the beach with a friend. I have never been IN a sunset before.

Images of Lauren at home by Carissa Gallo

Images of Lauren at studio and interview by Yasmine Ganley