Ever the skull enthusiast, artists who incorporate skulls, either human or animal into their work always appeal to me. From Damien Hirst to the late Alexander McQueen, skulls in art and fashion catch my eye; most recently I purchased a black and white McQueen skull scarf. However, while the skull inspired works of established artists and designers are already popular and celebrated, I think it is of great importance that new and upcoming artists are brought to light.
This brings me to the topic of this post, artist Lauren Baker. First introduced to me by the lovely Millie, she most recently exhibited at the North London 'Hang Up' gallery. Entitled 'You Blow My Mind' it showed pieces such as a 6ft infinity coffin, a pumping heart sculpture, neon lightening bolts and a range of skulls both human and animals.
The exhibition consisted of two sections. Firstly the 'Enchanted Afterlife' series of beautifully hand painted skulls, featuring swarovski crystals, metallic finishes and embellishments. Visitors were then led onto 'The Storm': an appreciation of science in the form of powerful and moving sound and light installations including lighting bolts.
Lauren Baker's interest in nature is obvious in her work. Her recent work is heavily influenced by the immense power of nature, and as the 'Hang Up' gallery described, 'Baker explores intense magnetic attraction, explosive notions and a cosmic energy connecting everyone and everything in the universe'.
Designed to play with the senses, including sight and sound, Baker uses a variety of mediums to contrast raw nature with contemporary embellishments, such as the metallic and crystal embellishments.
all images from hanguppictures.com
A common theme of Baker's work is the exploration of lift, death and the afterlife. Having spent time in the Peruvian Amazon, and experienced the Mexican 'Day of the Dead' celebrations first hand, her work is clearly influenced by this period of her life.
I really like the contrast of life and death in her work, especially in the decorated human skulls, however the huge ram skulls have a rawness that I really like as well. Although having death as an inspiration can be macabre, Baker's modern materials of neon and crystal create a really interesting contrast, giving her work depth and above all an incredibly unique appeal.
Last year, she held several 'Skull Workshops', which I hope return this year as I would love to decorate and take home my very own Lauren Baker inspired skull!
Unfortunately, the 'You Blow My Mind' exhibit finishes tomorrow, 23rd January, however I will definitely be following this artist wherever she showcases next.