We had the chance to chat with Bay Area based artist Lola, a self-taught visual artist who’s ‘Abstract Resin Art’ is vibrant and exciting. Through the use of bold colors and textures, she produces pieces that are visually stunning and thought-provoking. These large scale works of art are the perfect addition to any modernist space.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background.
I have always been a collector of odds and ends, strange pieces of wood with interesting patterns, old metal parts, etc. When I was a kid I had a shelf where I kept all kinds of found objects and little trinkets. Debris was magical for me! It makes sense that I would eventually create collage and assemblage. This kind of art is about bringing elements together to create a dance, a drama or a conversation.
That love of collecting odds and ends also showed up through photography. I would often ride my bike around areas of SF where there was a lot of debris, abandoned buildings, scrap-metal and stacks of wood. I would take lots of pictures of what I discovered. I started to focus on making collage and assemblage- it was a very serious form of play away from work. This play began to ignite a passion in me for making fine art.
For many years I was a chef and ran a successful restaurant in SF, “Lola’s Café”. I would often invite artists to display their work there and eventually I showed my work there too. Customers had a very positive response to this arrangement. The art on display at the restaurant, including my own, sold very well.
My work sold so well that I suddenly realized there was something much bigger going on. Inside I heard a voice say “You are going to be an artist.” I knew that this was the truth. I sold the restaurant and devoted myself full time to making art. At this time I began to incorporate resin into my collages and assemblages.
Describe your medium and creative process.
I begin a piece of work by choosing the color or colors I will work with. Colors can reflect specific feelings but they can also impact my emotional state.
Forms appear on the surface as I pour the resin. The form begins to speak to me and I start a process of working with the form as it spreads, guiding it and also allowing it to guide me. This process can take several hours as I alter the edges by wiping the resin, feathering it, making sure the lines are right. I am a perfectionist and I know if a shape or the overall composition is working out.
These colorful shapes are like the characters in a play. The surface on which I work is the stage. The shapes are acting out a drama. They each have a personality and a trajectory. It’s wonderful to watch them interact with one another. They engage one another as if they were people having conversations, arguments or making love.
My creativity has always manifested by doing and making. I’m an intuitive person who would rather learn from experience and experiment than from a book.
What inspires you as an artist?
My studio; being fully engaged in the work; pushing myself and playing on the edge; other artists’ work.
My studio is my safe place. It’s a place I can go to escape my thoughts and the pressures of the outside world. Here I set myself a task. I am given a role. I am here to create and to see what will unfold through the work. This takes away the feeling of responsibility. Color and form can take over as I allow them to come through me.
As I’ve said I’m a hands-on person. I am a doer and a maker. The studio and what I do there is a creative outlet for me. The demands of working with resin on large surfaces are demanding both physically and mentally. There is a speed and a direction in the work. This keeps me focused and occupied. I am always pushing myself and I find this can be both calming and exhilarating.
I keep a lot of digital files of the work of artists and designers whose work inspires me. The web is such a treasure trove. Social media has been a way to connect with artists all over the world. To see the variety of work and to find things in the work that challenge me is such a gift. We are so lucky to have access to so much visual information.
Explain the basis for your work, and working with colored resin.
Everything changed for me when I saw a Kandinsky retrospective in New York City. Suddenly a light bulb went on and I understood that form and color could really carry the work. These two things, form and color, are really the basis of all my work now.
I began to use colored resin. I would peel back the dried shapes and these became the basis of my collages. The numbers and letters soon disappeared from the work. They were unnecessary and also got in people’s way of appreciating the forms.
I learned pretty quickly that the resin pours could be controlled. I learned a number of processes from wiping to feathering as I mastered the flow of the shapes as they dried on a surface. As I studied images of cells, flowers and other natural elements I realized how much they had in common with the forms that were made as I worked with the resin.
The process of working with resin is one that I am always refining. I am always learning as I go. This is exciting to me. It’s a part of my love of experimenting with life and with nature. What will happen next? How will I respond? It is collaborating with the materials- and what the materials are revealing to me!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Lola! If you’d like to learn more about Lola’s artwork please visit her website!