Back in California, July 2017, I was commissioned to paint a vintage Piaggio Scooter for a rad family in Alameda Ca. This was a first for me, but hopefully not the last! I love painting unique objects, have anything up your sleeve you'd like me to paint? Let me know!
I was commissioned to paint in this beautiful backyard in Chicago's Ukranian Village Neighborhood June 2017. I love being invited into people homes to paint. It means a lot that they want my art to be a part of their everyday lives. This was a sweet project I was happy to do and stoked it belongs to a rad family.
June 2017 I returned to Chicago to do a mural for Chop Shop in the Wicker Park neighborhood. This sweet spot has a butcher, a restaurant, multiple bars, a music venue, and or course... A rooftop patio! I was stoked to do a mural in the sunshine for 5 days here. This project was in partnership with the Prime 8 Art League I was accepted to earlier this year. It's a fantastic social enterprise which exists to support emerging and practicing artists. They conduct an artist application process, producing an annual charity event and art consultation via the private sector. I am honored to be a part of this league and to have an exterior mural at Chop Shop! Go grab a drink and take a photo.
I have a love/hate relationship with being interviewed... But I think I am getting better at it each time it happens! Sweet interview I did with a rad company in Chicago called WITH/ANOTHER. They highlight women who make Chicago (and other cities alike) a notable place for creatives, makers and admirers. You can read the full interview here: https://www.withanother.com/journal/2017/3/16/create-with-traveling-muralist-lauren-asta
I thoroughly enjoyed my two months working in San Diego! The sun came out to play while I was working on a unique project at Quartyard in the East Village. I was given the opportunity to paint 5 massive planters that are located in the middle of their outdoor public space. I spent 5 days enjoying the space and seeing all of the dogs at the dog park also located at Quartyard. There are 20 panel paintings for this project. Below is just a sampling! Go check out this rad space that features a music venue, outdoor bar, food/food trucks, weekly events and of course art covered planters!
So incredibly honored and stoked to have been connected with Sector 9 to paint the backdrop for their interior skate ramp in March 2017. Sector 9 started in 1993 and was one of the original creators and launchers of the long board. They are a staple company in San Diego and a strong leader in the skate board industry. Their rad interior skate ramp is nicknamed "the bread bowl." The backdrop of the bread bowl definitely needed a new face lift.... and again, I am so honored I was commissioned to paint the entire canvas. I painted the 1000 sq. ft. mural in 8 days! You can visit the bread bowl if you call ahead and reserve with Sector 9.
A very kind fan wrote to me and said they were so curious what aday in the life was like for me. I thought I would take today to show a few snaps of a typical work day when I am in the thick of things! This is currently day 3 of my mural progress at Sector 9 in San Diego. I expect 6 more duplicate days like this making 9 straight days of this total... My longest record of days like this in a row is 30 :).
Oh it's so glamorous. I genuinely am excited to get up at 6:30AM (sometimes earlier) to get my butt to the wall. Even though I am not usually very hungry first thing in the morning, I gotta eat something for the day. MMmmmmm cereal in a cup.
Pretty damn lucky to go for a beautiful walk at 7:15AM in sunny San Diego. I usually try to find places to stay close to where I am working... This walk is about 30 min to Sector 9.
Self explanatory... COFFEE as soon as I get to work.
I usually like to do my set up and wires and cords and GoPro and any emails etc out of the way (the best I can) before I start... I have two GoPros set up for this mural. I will hope to post the time lapse soon after I finish!
From this point on it's WORK. I usually listen to music or the Marc Maron Podcast WTF.
I usually don't have time to really stop and eat so it's whatever I have packed shoved in my face... Paint and all. Kinda...
More work! Even when people are around talking to me it's focus focus focus.
One of the best parts of the day... When I can sit back and figure out what I did today and what I need to do tomorrow... It also doesn't hurt to have a free keg of beer about 20 feet away from me.
Doesn't take too long to sink in.
I've stayed at all sorts of places, houses, beds, floors... Times like this, I am staying in a little cottage in the backyard of an awesome house. It has everything I need... Bed, shower... But no kitchen, just a fridge. So sometimes I have to get creative for food... Basically no cooking, everything is pretty much cold and raw, Might sound crazy, but I love it.... Plenty of time to go out and celebrate when I am done!
I seem to be getting more and more interest for interior mural commissions in peoples homes and I am not complaining about it! It is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do for the #astaarttour. It is a huge honor that people want to have my work that large in their living space. It is incredibly meaningful and intimate at times. I feel like I am part of the family when I am finished and I hope many more home interior mural commissions are in my future! This mural is located in La Jolla, it took me 5 days to complete and I had an incredible view from where I was working!
After a nice break from my 2016 mural marathon, I was so pumped to kick off 2017 in San Diego Ca! The first gig of 2017 was at a sweet joint called Pop Pie Co. in the University Heights neighborhood. The exterior mural I did here was unique in many way... It was my first time creating a mural on a gray background (typically I work on white walls with black lines... this one was inverted and I loved working like this). It was also in a very awkward nook but I think I made it work well! It got a really great response from the community and I am so happy to have met the crew over at Pop Pie Co. It took me 6 days and it was an absolute pleasure to work for them. (It also didn't hurt that their food was INCREDIBLE). If you're in San Diego, definitely go check out the mural and grab a sweet or savory pie!
I am so honored to be the first commissioned muralist for the Skokie Public Arts Program. I can't thank the Skokie Public Arts Advisory for matching me up the Miishkookie Art Space in Skokie owned by John Maloof. John Maloof was personally involved in the discovery of Vivian Maier and made the film 'Finding Vivian Maier'. It was an honor to work with him and to have a permanent mural on the exterior of his business. Skokie has been known for pubic art funding of sculpture in the past and is now focusing on permanent public murals. Again, I am honored to be the first and this sweet 900 sq. ft. wall took me 11 days to complete.
Starting in mid September 2016, I set out on a road trip across the United States beginning in Montauk NY and ending in San Francisco CA. Along the way, it was my goal to leave a coaster with a drawing on it every place I stopped. I called the project #coastacoasters on instagram and documented my progress along the way. I attempted to focus the drawings on something unique and specific to the city or area I was in. This project was not only super fun, but super educational. On the back of each coaster, I left my instagram information in hopes that if people found them, they would re-post their find! I would hide these coasters in museum gift shops, behind sculptures, restaurant bulletin boards, national monument bathrooms, etc... I plan to continue this project with the years of travel to come!
August 2016 I had the pleasure of completing my first home interior mural commission. This mural resides in the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. I had such an incredible experience getting to know the family! I do hope to have more home interior commissioned murals in the near future!
In August 2016, I was invited to do a small mural at the Pink Beard Hair Studio in Old Town, Chicago! So thrilled to have my art here. I love the crew at Pink Beard. I get my hair done here every time I am in town and I consistently love the results. Go get your hair done (men's and woman's services) and check out this door mural!
Biggest project to date! The #astaarttour has recently taken me to the neighborhood of Pilsen Chicago. Lacuna Artist Lofts and Studios is a rare and special place to call a workspace for all sorts of creative types and businesses. Lacuna offers private and shared space units from as small as 350sq ft and as large as 30,000 square feet. This building used to be home to The Viviano Bros Macaroni Co in the early 1900's. It was once the largest macaroni producer in the United States. The business closed down after unfortunate relations with the mob and money issues. Today it is home to Lacuna and an incredible emerging art scene.
I am beyond thrilled I got the opportunity to work on this large scale, permanent exterior mural. The mural scales up at five store with an approx. 5,000 sq. ft. canvas. In total, I worked in this bad boy for 34 days (30 production days). I was an incredible opportunity to push my style, technique and speed. I finished this project within budget and time allowed. You can view this mural at 2150 S Canalport Ave, Chicago, IL 60608.
The Sportsman's Club opened December 2013, and showcases classically inspired, spirit-forward cocktails that change daily and focus on balance and simplicity. The neighborhood tavern also offers worldly craft beer and terroir-driven wine, as well as an amaro machine, carry-out liquor program and a thoughtfully curated bar goods shop. The original Sportsman’s Club bar, which was located at the same address, served as a local haven for Polish immigrants. In signature Heisler Hospitality fashion, the updated tavern maintains a few lines of its history, from its Sportsman’s Club name to the original art deco bar.
In July 2016 I was asked to create a mural in the ladies bathroom at The Sportsman's Club in Chicago's popular West Town. I am beyond happy to have a mural at this sweet spot. The drinks are delicious and the back patio is the perfect setting for drinks and gathering.
I felt incredibly honored to have been a part of the Between the Lines event on July 28th, 2016. Between the Lines was an event commemorating the final days of the Fulton Market District/West Loop/CTA Morgan stop mural located at Lake and Morgan. Working on this mural in the West Loop was a true pleasure and life changing experience. The enormous amount of intentional memories created in front of this mural were so profound, it should continually remind us that art is indeed an important part of our lives.
The public was invited to join myself and the Shapack Partners in celebrating the ground breaking of new construction at the Lake and Morgan building and to help color in the mural before it was torn down the following week. Paint and paint brushes were supplied and the public had a blast getting colorful, messy and creative. It was beyond satisfying for myself to have witnessed the community's reaction and enjoyment of getting involved with public art. I sincerely hope this is not the last time I have the opportunity to get the community involved with my public art. I also hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do. Photo Creds: Justin Kallas
Where do I begin! Four months ago I left for the #AstaArtTour.
A large scale job in Lincoln, Nebraska took me out of San Francisco, California on an epic journey of travel, murals and production. I left for Lincoln in the middle of February 2016 with the end goal, four months into the future, of Memphis Tennessee... and its all because social media.
I met a fellow artist and now good friend, Eric Clausen, about eight years ago in NYC. We were both struggling artists living in Brooklyn, NY trying to find ways to make some extra money during the Holiday season. We both got a part time job at a company called Plant Fantasies. Every year, Plant Fantasies is one of only a handful of companies in NYC that gears up and sets out to adorn and decorate Manhattan in an epic display of Christmas wreaths, trees and lights galore. If you walk by a lobby or shop in Manhattan around Christmas time, I guarantee you Plant Fantasies is responsible for the display. Anyways, Eric and I met there and as we untangled Christmas lights and color coded ornaments, we become fast arty friends. A few years after our short lived Plant Fantasies career, we both moved on to other cities; me in San Francisco, Eric in Memphis. When Eric saw a post of mine, stating that I would be traveling around the United States making murals, he reached out with the invitation to roll through Memphis if timing worked for me. I gleefully was intrigued and he got me in touch with Birdcap, a Memphis based Muralist and Artist. Birdcap offered me up a spot on a rotating exterior mural located at the Crosstown Arts Gallery. The timing of my turn on the wall wouldn't be until early June 2016 which meant in between Lincoln and Memphis I had approx 3 months to travel and make art/murals. During that time I visited NYC twice, Boston and Chicago twice. Ending in Memphis was an appropriate conclusion to this leg of my art tour due to the fact that through social media and my connection through Eric, I got the bulk of my gigs along the way. Like a healthy virus, art and connections and social media can travel and spread extremely fast if the combinations are fitting. Thank you Eric, Birdcap, Crosstown Arts, and Memphis for having me and concluding a monumental journey.
Domino effect! The large Lake and Morgan exterior mural I did in early May, had a heavy amount of foot traffic close by. Luckily, the wall was right next to a popular train station where folks would walk to work and from work everyday. The excitement of seeing the mural in the morning and then progress and transform on their way home was undeniable. The amount of photos I was tagged in on social media was a huge compliment and I can't even describe how awesome it feels to see people look so happy and confident in their photos with my mural as their backdrop. Not only were people taking photos on a daily basis, people also approached me constantly with praise and numerous questions regarding me, my technique, my art... One day, a small group of people came up to me with a few of these said questions. I was asked if "I had ever spoken at a conference before..." "I have definitely done tons of public speaking" was my immediate answer... A few minutes of conversation later, I was invited to speak as a presenter at the Cusp Conference in Chicago this late September 2016. The Cusp Conference is on its 9th year of... "Every autumn, we bring together 25 (seemingly) unrelated presenters. We ask them what keeps them up at night and gets them out of bed in the morning. Then we all buckle up and go for a ride." I am so excited to speak at this conference... My dedication to my art and career is a huge (and exciting) reason I get out of bed in the morning. The Cusp Conference, has a sister company called Multiple Inc. located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. What is Multiple?... "We’re a strategic design firm. We help people imagine, name, visualize, establish, position, market, energize and grow their businesses, organizations, products and services. Our clients look to us for creative brand communication solutions that project their strongest attributes and competitive advantages and differentiate and distance them from competitors and imitators." The good people at Cusp and Multiple invited me to do an interior mural at their headquarters not too far down the road from the Lake and Morgan mural. I loved working with Multiple Inc. Smart, intelligent, witty people are always a pleasure to work with. I can't wait to work with them again soon in September.
The mural pictured below is approx 250 sq ft and took me three days! The good folks at Multiple also filmed me and is currently putting together a time lapse that I will post soon!
Thankfully, four months ago it was recommended to me by a friend to get in touch with Sara Margaret, owner of Chicago Truborn Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. A few emails back and forth later, we agreed to meet when I was due in Chicago early April. After we met, it was clear we had compatible styles and needed to work together. She had a few ideas on what to do with a female muralist that works large scale and strictly with a paint brush (me!). The project that seemed best fit was an 800 sq. ft. exterior wall located in The West Town neighborhood of Chicago at The Windy City Cafe. With the help of The West Town Chamber of Commerce, we decided that after my Boston detour, I would come back to Chicago to attack this beautiful exterior brick wall.
Middle May I started the Windy City Cafe Mural. Some mural projects I work on are already prepped and primed and ready to go... Others I start completely from the beginning. The Windy City exterior wall needed prime and prep which usually takes a day or two depending on the size. This wall is 800 sq. ft. and hasd some very hard to get to/unusual/difficult platforms to work on. It was a split level job; half on ground level and half on a rooftop level. A combination of ladders and a scissor lift were used for this job. Prime and prep took one day while the actual art took 5 days. 800 sq. ft. in 5 days was definitely a record for me in terms of speed and completion. It was a great project to work on overcoming many obstacles. I learned a lot form this job. The physical work on alone was a workout! It's a good thing the nice people at Windy City Cafe fed me everyday. A big thanks to The West Town Chamber of Commerce for including me in their public arts program and an even bigger thanks to Chicago Truborn for representing me and helping me in so many ways. An awesome relationship that will, no doubt, continue over the years.
Also in May 2016, I was commissioned to create a large scale mural in Chicago's West Loop/Fulton Market District. The square footage of this white wall beauty was well over 1,000ft. The completion of this large scale mural took in total 11 days, although the total duration from start to finish was over two weeks. The weather in Chicago has proven to be quite temperamental. Sunny and beautiful one day, cold and rainy the next. When creating an exterior mural, planning my time around the weather can be very tricky! However, the 11 days I DID work on this beast were the best paint days I think I have ever had. The West Loop/Fulton Market District neighborhood houses incredible restaurants, businesses, retail shops, character... but most importantly, it houses some incredibly remarkable people. The fact that I met so many wonderful, inspirational, positive people everyday coming to work on this mural meant I was equally excited to paint but to also be close to the public. I had so many folks ask questions ranging from my technical approach to my content choices. It was so great to communicate and educate while I painted. As the mural grew, so did the crowd. I witnessed engagement photos, graduation photos, music videos, product placement photos, dog portraits, yoga portraits, selfies, groupies... you name it, people were taking photos of it in front of the mural. I love that the public had such a positive response to this large scale mural on the corner of Lake and Morgan. I truly believe it changed the neighborhood and acceptance of public art. I did find it interesting that I had three questions consistently asked everyday, multiple times a day: 1. "Did you do this whole wall by yourself?" Of course I did. Do you see anyone else? Is it so hard to believe a person, a female, an artist can take on such a large project by herself? I don't think so... 2. "I don't see you working from a sketch or drawing, are you doing that from your head?" YES. Is it also so hard to believe that art can magically come from ones head out through their arm and hand onto a surface? It was a little disturbing that people had such a hard time believing I was just free styling/free handing the entire wall. I know not everyone can just draw from their head and I know that there are beautiful murals and pieces of art out there where sketches, aids, projectors were used in the creation... But what about the magic of good old fashioned art. It still exists. 3. "How do you do that?" I dunno, I just do. How do you do your job?
I used three paint brushes for this entire wall and black acrylic latex paint. A huge thanks to Jeff Shapack and the entire Shapack Partners team for commissioning me to do this project and believing in my art. The Shapack Partners value the arts and culture of the neighborhood and want to keep it intact. They commissioned me to create this mural even though the building will eventually be torn down and rebuilt as a single story retail space for the neighborhood. It is important for them as a development company to keep the integrity of the arts in the FultonMarket District. I am absolutely honored to have been the artist they selected for this project. It was ahard concept for some of the public to understand... why I would knowingly put all this work into this mural only have it be torn down in a few months. It's hard to put into words but... Nothing is permanent and the fact that it actually even existed at one point is a beautiful thing in itself. Like a memory. And on that point, the memories and photos people are creating in front of that wall and or during the creation of that wall is a beautiful thing itself. Because it is so temporary, the urgency to visit it and enjoy it is a current reality. The fact that Jeff Shapack believes in the art culture that much to commission and support an Artist is extremely important to the arts. And for me as an Artist... The work I have gotten from doing this wall is priceless. The amount of eyes that saw me work on and complete this mural has accelerated my career beyond belief. This mural might be temporary, but my gratitude is eternal.