Slay, Queen: Lauren Guymer

A quick Google search of the term “hauntingly beautiful” brings up images of the National Geographic Afghan Girl and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. But what it should steer you towards, Strange Googler, is Lauren Guymer’s artwork. The Melbourne artist etches cosmic scenes of outer-space and breathtaking images of nature in insanely minute detail. The mind boggling thing? Each piece is comprised entirely by thousands of hand-drawn lines and dots. And a heck of a lot of talent and patience.

“I first learnt about different drawing techniques when I was around 17 but never thought much of it because I loved to experiment with so many other forms of art,” says Lauren.

The now 24 year old had been sketching and planning with fineliners since high school but has only dived into the world of purely pen created art over the last two years. Lauren describes this as her “lightbulb moment”, prior to which she had completed a Bachelor in Communication Design and tried out a Wildlife Conservation degree for a semester.

“It’s been a pretty cool journey figuring out what you can do with just a pen, some ink, and a piece of paper,” Lauren muses. ‘Cool’ is an understatement, IMIHYTCO (that’s internet speak for ‘in my incredibly humble yet totally correct opinion” because this journey has led Lauren to some pretty awesome opportunities.

Last year she exhibited her first solo exhibition ‘Parallel Universe’ at Off The Kerb Gallery in Collingwood and you can catch her at their 10th anniversary group show this April, an opportunity that has Lauren particularly excited.

“It’s pretty significant for me because they were the first gallery I ever exhibited with.”

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‘Untitled’, Pen and ink on paper, 2017

Lauren’s work has taken her a little further a field than Collingwood. It may not be the far-off galaxies she often conjures up on paper, but an artist’s residency in Finland would be a pretty sweet deal for most. Lauren spent last December at the Artles Creative Centre in Finland, an experience she describes as “literally the best thing I’ve ever done for myself”.

And it’s not hard to see why. Lauren found herself in the depths of the Finnish winter with a bunch of world-class artists. The program had a focus on being silent with days of no talking or wifi, and was self-directed. It was this focus on relaxing away from creating refined pieces of work that helped Lauren find a new direction and saw her work reach a good level of “crazy”.

“Highlights include exploring the snowy forest and country side every day, watching Auroras for a whole week in the north, Christmas with the Arteles crew, and experiencing -40 degrees Celsius weather,” Lauren raves. “Also I have red hair and never got burnt there.”

She may not have gotten sunburnt but the travel bug definitely bit her in Finland. “In the near future I’m going to Iceland to the NES artist residency. I’ll be there for art making purposes for two months, and then rounding it off with a solo road trip around the country. I don’t think I can get any better in terms of inspiration for my work. Art and travel work hand in hand for me, so that’s all I can hope for the future.”

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Forest behind the Arteles Creative Centre, Finland

I’m sure at this point I bet you’re wondering how Lauren fits it all in? How she can jet off to Finland but also help run Melbourne Arts Club and work in retail (which, by the way, she does) when you (and by you, I mean me) are overcooking mac and cheese balls and cramming in uni lectures on the train?

“No two days are the same,” she explains. “I bought a diary a month ago to help get organised but haven’t used it. At the end of the day everything works out and I’ve learnt to not stress about it.”

And that’s all till next time, folks. EXCEPT IT ISN’T. Because I’m about to present to you an exclusive, never to be repeated offer for just three monthly payments of $39.95 a sneak peek of Lauren’s latest work. It’s inspired by Year Seven Geography and outer space, and is a bit of a challenge for the artist.”[It’s] a large drawing… purely drawn with dots. I normally combine dots, lines, and circles together, which seems to make things go faster, but I set myself a challenge this time.”

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