From the simple beauty of her paintings and mixed media art to the embraced elegance of her vintage pieces, the description that comes to mind when I think of Laura Zielenksi is "simply eclectic". I hope you enjoy reading about her as much as I do!
1. Where is your business based out of?
Lake Orion, Michigan
2. Where are you from originally?
Lake Orion, Michigan
3. How long have you been an artist and/or business owner?
I suppose I've been an artist since I was a little girl; my "all about me" book I wrote in kindergarten states that I thought myself to be very good at art. The pictures I drew speak otherwise. But since then, I've been fine tuning what I've learned throughout the years. I went to college for graphic design. Several years of graphic designing and just semesters away from graduation, I switched to an English major, as I felt graphic design wasn't my passion after all. Thankfully, I was schooled in all mediums, and though it didn't stand out to me at the time I took it, painting has taken over my love.
4. Where do you get your creative inspiration?
Much of my inspiration comes from my experiences. I hate trying to force out ideas just for the sake of creating something new; I find those to end up Poor Half-Formed Things that clearly show themselves as Poor Half-Formed Things, which are quite unslightly to gaze upon. Instead, I have a book where I jot ideas and sketches as they come to me, where they can sit and lounge about until I need them. When I read a phrase I like or hear something that pleases me, I write that down; these are either reworked into piece titles or are turned into paintings.
5. What does your creative process entail?
Usually, when it comes time to start a new painting, if I don't have something right on my mind I want to work on, I pull out my book and to see what speaks to me the most. I decide a layout and a canvas size, then sketch out what I am thinking. Lots of times I cut my sketch elements out and play with placement and size on the canvas. When I can't decide on specifics, I take a picture of the layouts I'm debating between, and that helps me step back and see it with a new objectivity. I sketch my design roughly on the canvas, then start painting.
6. Would you say your environment (where you live, work, play) influences your creative process? If so, how?
I recently moved to South Carolina for a year and then back, and I had the most gorgeous place to live (by happenstance). It made painting and my other love, refurbishing furniture, a dream since it was an old mill turned into lofts. I didn't have to worry about spilling paint on my cement floors and the 12 foot windows helped keep all my "painting smells" to a minimum, much to the joy of my neighbors, I'm sure. :)
7. Who are your creative mentors?
Any artist who doesn't have the natural talents some are so lucky to have, but perseveres anyway. I feel somewhat in that boat, I've had to work hard and will continue to work hard to make up for this. It helped greatly to switch to a medium I really loved, rather than plod along in graphic design because that's just what I initially signed up for. I love Etsy and the vast array of artists and crafters found there, all have such creativity and spark.
8. Tell us about the one project you would say you are most proud of.
I can't say I have a specific one I am the most proud of, but I am proud when I finish a piece that I have struggled to find a solution for. You hit all these dead ends, then all of a sudden, there it is (the solution). I also like pieces like my "Prison Door- Chapter 1" that I have in my shop right now, because it's made of all recycled and repurposed elements. It's nice to not let those go to a landfill.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you're not creating?
Thrifting! I adore hunting and rummaging about for furniture and odds and ends I can use in my art. I recently posted on my blog about a rusty heating vent I found in the store. I'm probably the only one who would have bought that silly thing, but to me it was a great find. I love reading, especially biographies; currently I'm on an American presidents and historical figures kick. Franklin was last; Washington, just started today. And Jeeps. I love my Jeeps. I have a vintage one that's like a child to me.
10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A dream of mine is having my own store one day of found furniture, restored for some new owner to enjoy. A local business downtown, Chic Antiques, has done that with great success. That would be so fun for me, and it'd be wonderful to also include art from local artists and such. I'm a big fan of helping other artists and the handmade movement. I'd be overjoyed to attain that in 10 years, but either way, these will be ten years working towards that goal.