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Lauren Marina: the artist inspired by the New Forest

Lauren Marina with her range of work <i>(Image: Mattea McKinnon)</i>
Lauren Marina with her range of work (Image: Mattea McKinnon)

Artist Lauren Marina, who is inspired by the beauty of the New Forest, shares her versatile pieces of art, created by combining poetic phrases and clean line drawings

Finding wonder and awe in the outdoors is something many of us find solace in. Whether it be admiring a little toadstool in your front garden, losing yourself in the pitter-patter of rain on the patio, or noticing a light sprinkling of frost on the lawn. For artists, nature has long been one of the most treasured muses, as is the case for Hampshire-born Lauren Marina.

Known for her incredible ability to capture the fleeting moments of the natural world in her unique style, Lauren is an acclaimed artist, illustrator, print designer and poet. With a fond focus on the living world, paired with a dynamic visual style, Lauren’s work has appealed to a range of commissioners and she has collaborated with huge brands such as Vans and Adidas. Her heartfelt greetings cards are stocked in over 40 independent shops across the UK, and she’s also designed 16 pillar murals around Bournemouth Pier and gardens.

Great British Life: Lauren enjoyed lino and wood cutting during her university course, and this inspires her work today (c) Lauren MarinaLauren enjoyed lino and wood cutting during her university course, and this inspires her work today (c) Lauren Marina

Lauren is softly spoken, articulate and has an impressive collection of tattoos, a reflection of her deep passion for art. Having grown up in in Romsey in Hampshire, she counts the New Forest as one of the biggest inspirations behind her work.

‘I grew up by the forest and lived there until I moved to study. I now live in Poole in Dorset but still spend a huge amount of time over in Hampshire and try to get to the New Forest at least once a week’. She smiles: ‘it’s one of my favourite places in the world and I feel I have a very deep-rooted connection to the area.’

Lauren’s creative journey began in her early childhood, and she was encouraged by both parents to nurture her skills. She explains: ‘I first starting drawing from a really young age. Both my parents are creatives themselves; my dad is an industrial project designer. My mum was also doing different types of painting hobbies and paper crafts. My weekends were often spent with a set of watercolours at the dining table.’

Great British Life: Lauren's designs usually contain soulful sayings that have been lifted from her own poetry(c) Mattea McKinnonLauren's designs usually contain soulful sayings that have been lifted from her own poetry(c) Mattea McKinnon

After completing an illustration degree at Norwich, Lauren continued to produce art, eventually taking the plunge into full time self-employment in 2020, which she describes as a ‘step by step process’ of ‘making art bit by bit and putting it into the world’. She says: ‘I wasn’t rich in confidence and despite making art my whole life, I definitely struggled to put my work out there. A big turning point for me was having my own display at a market and people being so enthusiastic about my work. It really filled my confidence cup’. She adds: ‘I still really enjoy connecting with people in that real world space’.

Lauren spends her time on illustrative branding projects, surface design for products and exhibiting at various markets. She also sells a range of home and gift products under her own brand name and has exhibited locally and in London.

She talks through her current design process: ‘I tend to sketch and doodle a lot in a sketchbook –that’s where I come up with rough ideas which I translate onto an iPad. I tend to use a lot of graphic style digital pencils because I love the organic nature of them. Although I work digitally, I try and obtain a natural feeling to the illustrations that I make.’

Great British Life: Lauren is inspired by The New Forest, close to where she grew up (c) Lauren MarinaLauren is inspired by The New Forest, close to where she grew up (c) Lauren Marina

The little wonders of nature’s treasures are intrinsically woven into Lauren’s work.

She explains: ‘I like to focus on creating a sense of tranquillity and calm within the visual elements and the mottos. The designs often contain sleepy characters or soulful sayings that have been lifted from my own poetry. I like to have a sense of movement so you’ll find lots of pencil lines and different uses of the colour inversion’.

Working solely with two colours - dark charcoal and oat, she chooses a limited palette to ‘remain consistent’ to her style and ‘challenge herself.’ She explains: ‘In my university days I studied lino cut and wood cut processers and really enjoyed the process. I also love to draw and enjoy digital art, so with my style I’ve combined those two processes together.’

Great British Life: Lauren sells a range of homewares under her own name (c) Mattea McKinnonLauren sells a range of homewares under her own name (c) Mattea McKinnon

Beyond her art, Lauren has branched out into poetry as well as mentorship, supporting fellow artists in developing their practice. She has also collaborated with sustainable clothing brand, Lucy and Yak, who bought one of her pattern designs for their dungarees. She remembers: ‘It was a checkerboard-style design which lots of nature related motifs of little flowers, leaves and buds. It was a real thrill to see them come to life and to see people walking around wearing them. They sold out pretty much overnight which was so exciting!’

Lauren also combines the creative medium of poetry to further express her ideas, displaying both her words and art together to further communicate emotions.

‘I wanted to create poetry to open up a new creative outlet for myself, and to combine that with illustration. My poetry is inspired by those gentler human feelings, emotions and experience. The way we interact with the natural world, finding joy in small wonders and how that can benefit our overall well-being. When my art touches someone’s heart, that’s what makes drawing and illustrating feel really meaningful for me. I feel really grateful to be able to offer this to the world.’

Great British Life: Lauren's tattoos are a reflection of her love for art (c) Mattea McKinnonLauren's tattoos are a reflection of her love for art (c) Mattea McKinnon

Most recently, Lauren has ventured into the world of tattooing: ‘I offer hand-poke tattoo, a fairly new addition to my roster of offerings but a meaningful one that allows new connections to be made. I take small elements of my illustration work and translate them into tattoos - it can be a sunrise or falling leaves or buds – often in silhouette forms. The process of hand-poke has the element of mindfulness to it, slow and thoughtful. It can be quite a transformative experience for the person receiving it.’

Lauren’s passion for her art is palpable and her work is a visual insight into the little marvels that set her inner world alight. She summarises the last few years: ‘To be able to be in this position to be a full-time freelance artist has been the biggest win. My work comes through such a deep place within in my heart - to have the world receive it in such an enthusiastic way is a joy.’

Great British Life: Lauren's signature colour palette is charcoal and oat, to allow the art to stand out (c) Lauren MarinaLauren's signature colour palette is charcoal and oat, to allow the art to stand out (c) Lauren Marina



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