Lauren Lau (bebe Tigre) is an artist based in Sydney, Australia. She spends her days as a costume design assistant for film and television. I came across Lauren’s art/work via my friend SpiderXdeath (they’re super loved up and engaged) the vocalist for band Deathcage. In her spare time the stylish lady loves to paint, she is currently working on an art piece for the upcoming Archibald Prize in 2012.
Tell me a little bit about what you do – you’re an artist, photographer & sometimes travel blogger; you also make costumes/clothes.
I am an oil painter focusing on portraits and the figure and my day job is in costume for tv/film. I just finished up working on Wild Boys as a costume design assistant that allowed me to learn the fine art of ageing costumes and buying. The workroom was a spot they gave me to work with airbrushing and ageing metals etc. it was awesome. At the moment I am on a telemovie as a buyer then assistant standby. I also like playing around with clothes like customising jackets and dying things.
When did you start down the creative path?
Seeing my Dad’s drawings, prints and psychedelic and abstract paintings was pretty inspirational.
Do you have any ‘official’ qualifications? Do you think having formal training is important to what you do?
I went to Tafe and studied fine arts where I majored in oils and printmaking. I found in costume some do not have formal qualifications and just networked and got on the job experience. If you are disciplined enough to work by yourself and with others and teach yourself the skills needed in the department, have examples of your work and you can execute and deliver what’s needed then maybe formal education is not needed. Though of course you may be favoured if you have gone through school and correcting wrong techniques can be hard.
You may do it tough if you choose not to study because you will do jobs for free for the experience and knowing what the industry is like. Getting a foot through the door and meeting people is a challenge.
I don’t have formal education in fashion or costume but I always show to my boss my initiative and he’s also like me, he taught himself how to sew and make garments (had his own fashion label) then he sort of just fell into designing shows. Amazing and inspirational.
What makes your artistic style different?
I think for my generation I am different as I am using oils to create an open face to evoke emotion to the viewer. There are a lot of layers in the paint to create a certain tone. I am not replicating something that has been created before, my work is not drenched in sarcasm or satire, I think it is honest.
What do you do to nurture your creativity?
I see band shows and do things not related to my work because I admire those with talents and interests that are not of mine.
Who do you look up to in the creative world and what is it about them that appeals to you?
I love the contemporary artists Michael Hussar, his images are so fantastic and I love Odd Nerdrum for keeping up the old masters technique in this modern day. Spider my fiancé is a huge HUGE HUGE inspiration and driving force, I’ve always been a fan of his punk flyers he used to do. My Dad Chee-Wah of course. Hieronymus Bosch, Francis Bacon, Pushead, David Lynch, Betony Vernon, Gottfried Heinwein is an amazing artist—there are so many Bianca!
What motivates you to do what you do?
The satisfaction of completing something that is an extension of me.
What are your greatest aspirations?
I want to show in NYC.
I love your style. How would you describe it?
Do you view what you wear as an extension of your creativity; a form of creative expression?
Yeah sure to a certain extent of course I won’t deny that I haven’t thought about what I am going to wear. It’s my personality too.
Who are your style icons?
Anna Della Russo and my best friend Dionne Loehr Harris who has been working with Wheels and Dollbaby since she was 20.
What is the most sentimental piece that you have in your wardrobe and what significance does it hold for you?
Can I say it was an accessory? My Yves Saint Laurent Y-MAIL purse that I bought in Las Vegas with my own money and it was cool because I felt like yeah I deserve to buy this I worked hard! And also my Dad’s doubled row studded leather belt that he bought when he first arrived in Sydney in the 80s. It’s really cool because the studs are really tight together.
What’s your advice on achieving great style without breaking the bank?
Buy things that will complement the loved pieces in your wardrobe, not things that are in trend or fashion. That way you will never be regretful if it goes out of season because it’s your style. If you have a sewing machine alter your clothes to fit your body. Ill-fitting clothes will make you more or less want to throw it out because it doesn’t flatter you. Ebay.
Last time he was in Sydney, David LaChapelle (pictured above) shot you. Tell me about that experience.
We just rocked up to the photo shoot and his assistants chose us to be photographed. He is very cool and a little spaced out and I was very star struck. He was very complimentary to myself and girlfriend Katerina Valentine.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a portrait of the actor David Field who is on Wild Boys and his first film was called Ghosts of the Civil Dead with Nick Cave. I am entering it into the Archibald.
My fiancé Spider and I are having a show at China Heights on the 10th February 2012 we are painting on to leather. We created the work by drawing then swapping and adding to it so the images have no form or structure and are just wild! I am really excited about that because our styles are different but our work always has a dark side to it.
For more Lauren Lau peep her blog.