Les artistes: Don't Worry, Paint Happy
Creating from a positive place, Lafayette artist Lauren Sibley Brasseaux found her niche by capturing what she knows and loves on canvas
When it comes to art, explanation of inspiration is often insufferable.
The mere mention of the word serves as a launching pad for lengthy dialogue, for waxing poetic, for overusing commas and avoiding periods, an excuse to put the torn-off pages of that old Secret Santa Word-of-the-Day desk calendar to exhaustive use.
Then, there’s Lafayette artist Lauren Sibley Brasseaux. Here’s her artistic inspiration:
“Yeah, I paint what makes me happy,” she says.
Annnnnd that’s it. Simply stated.
Yet don’t be fooled, because what Brasseaux lacks in long-windedness she more than makes up for with her signature style – whimsical yet realistic, she’s been told – and a rare ability to cause observers to re-examine what they see in their everyday, and view it again, for the first time. For those reasons, Brasseaux has made her mark on the cluttered and competitive Acadiana art scene, landing coveted invites to The Big Easel event for the past couple years and seeing her pieces hang in places like University Medical Center in New Orleans and City Club in Lafayette.
“I’m obsessed with detail,” Brasseaux says. “I really focus one thing, one element. I don’t like distraction, so I tend to paint one thing, which allows me to capture every part of that one thing – bringing out elements that you otherwise couldn’t if you didn’t have that center of attention.”
In addition to her paintings, Brasseaux opened up her own custom stationary company in 2014 called Sibley Designs.
Incorporating similar flair found on her work in canvas, Brasseaux designs invitations for myriad events including bridal showers, baby showers, graduation announcements, Mardi Gras balls and, of course, weddings.
“The invitations and the paintings … you’re creating but the vision is often different,” Brasseaux says. “With the invitations, I do a lot of weddings and showers, so you’re main goal is to make it about them — whether the bride wants a certain color scheme, or to feature their China on the shower invitations. So it’s a different gear, even though it’s still done in my style.
“With painting, it’s yours to create. Even in a commission piece — let’s say someone wants you to do a painting of their house — they’re picking the subject but I’m choosing what to bring out and what to emphasize. I’m finding and choosing those elements to bring out with great detail, which is my style.”
BUSINESS AND PLEASURE
In addition to doing commissioned paintings, Brasseaux also runs a custom stationary company specializing in invitations for events like weddings, showers and graduations.
Lauren Sibley Brasseaux
You mentioned that your inspiration is generally things that make you happy, but how does inspiration hit you?
“It can be driving down the road, anywhere, and I’ll be taking pictures of stuff I just know I have to paint….I can’t just let it pass. I can’t just let it roll by. I like to capture that moment, and the pictures are a reference point. Now, I won’t always do it as it is in the picture — I’ll change colors or something — but it is that reference point.”
But how do you decide something is worthy of a picture?
“Wow, I guess it’s pretty automatic. I went to Italy with my family this summer, and they knew in advance that if I saw something we were going to have to stop. ‘OK, let’s wait for Lauren while she takes 500 pictures of that tree.’ But I’ll see it — a flower, that tree — and I can’t not stop. Put it in the ol’ memory bank for later. I have to take it.”
So, then, it’s not easy to travel with you is what you’re saying?
“If you don’t know me, then yeah, it probably would be a pain to travel with me. [Laughs] But my friends and my family know what to expect. And I’m great at catching up. ‘Go ahead, I’ll catch up with you!’ So it’s not too bad.”