Lucky '13: Lauren Seip of Lowbrow Arts and Ladies Fancywork Society
This past year has been tough for many people, and we're eager to kiss 2012 goodbye. In hopes that 2013 will turn out to be much luckier for many, we invited some of the town's cultural tastemakers -- entrepreneurs and entertainers we're lucky to have in Denver -- to answer a trio of questions. We excerpted quotes from these Q&A's in the New Year's Guide inserted in the December 13 issue of Westword, but we'll be featuring the complete interviews in a series of posts through the end of the year. Up next: Lauren Seip.
Jesse Dawson Lauren Seip (right) with Lowbrow co-founder Tymla Welch.
In the same way that the sex-positive movement democratized body image, Lowbrow Gallery and Art Supply is attempting to normalize the creative process, removing it from the hands of art-school professors and passing a scented-marker-baton to Denver's every-day citizens. Co-founded by Lauren Seip and Tymla Welch, Lowbrow's low-stress, affordable approach to inspiration is, at least in part, an extension of the Ladies Fancywork Society, a team of guerrilla public artists whose twee-style "yarn-bombs" have been entertaining Denver pedestrians for several years now. Between the kindergarten craft-style workshops, inspiring gallery shows and charming approach to retail art-supplies, Lowbrow has become a featured institution on Denver's Broadway art scene.
We recently sat down with Lauren Seip to discuss academia, corporate art and why there's nothing better than some glitter, glue and a few beers.
Westword: Your store has such a childlike approach to creativity. Were you into crafty arts when you were young?
Lauren Seip: I think I was definitely the weird art kid. There's always going to be one of those, the one who has to paint every pair of shoes and just ruin everything. I take that same approach now, which keeps art a little less precious and a little more approachable.
Was your creativity encouraged when you were a kid?
My parents were pretty down with it. When I decided to go to art school instead of business school, they were a little: You're going to be a starving artist! But once they started looking into it a bit more, they came around.
Though you eventually did go into business.
Exactly. Which means a business degree would have been just as useful at that point. Because I also studied animation, which I don't ever do now.
We spoke with Matthew Brown of Fancy Tiger recently, who said that if he'd gone to business school he might never have started a business. Do you feel that's true for you?
I went to art school because I wanted something less traditional, less like my father. And then I ended up working in some very corporate situations. The idea of a commercial artist starving away, painting canvasses is just not how it is now. There's so much opportunity to work in commercial art. But it is a corporate world, there's paid time off and office hours and meetings and memos, so I ended up being in that same environment, making art for people.
Do you feel that Denver is supportive of its art community?
Oh yeah, definitely. Especially for a small city, Denver is huge right now. Everyone is so creative, and so supportive of each other. I feel like I somehow walked into this group of amazing people. And I don't know how it happened, but it's awesome. Denver isn't really that big, so it's easy to meet a lot of people and get a good sense of what's going on here. There's so much happening all the time.