July Gallery Stroll: Jared Knight & Kristi Lauren | Buzz Blog
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July Gallery Stroll: Jared Knight & Kristi Lauren


Holy hell was it hot this past Friday. We were promised thunderstorms too and got absolutely no relief. So I wasn't too shocked at this past Gallery Stroll to not see anyone over the age of 45 running around, but that just gave more room for the younger crowd (primarily the cycling community) to take over the sweltering Stroll. This month was most group exhibitions, which is fine on occasion, but when 75% of the evening is made up of group exhibitions, they tend to wear a little thin. So I went for a low of a group gathering as I could with two awesome artists on display at Nostalgia Coffee. Today we chat with Jared Knight and Kristi Lauren about their dual show, along with photos you can check out in the slide show below!

Jared Knight

Gavin: Hey Jared! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jared: I am a Utah native originally from Ogden, I currently reside in Sugar House which I consider one of the best places on earth to live.

Gavin: What first got you interested in art and what were some early influences on you?

Jared: I remember very early on being hypnotized by images both real and fabricated. My earliest attempts in art were simply me trying to recreate the various images that were seared into my imagination. My family still has some of these early works one in which is a life size paper doll of me with a detachable mermaid tail I made when I was six.

Gavin: I read that you're a self-taught artist. What pushed you to take that route rather than head to college or seek out formal training?

Jared: There were a variety of factors that led me to pursue my work independently but probably the biggest was my experiences in formal art training in my early teens. I found that most of my art instructors were approaching teaching art much like someone would teach English, encouraging us to align our technique to a set of universal rules like the fundamentals of grammar, spelling and punctuation. I realized that by going at it alone I could allow myself to approach art more like a scientist, experimenting with various mediums and subject matter and combining different techniques with different tools and putting things together that we were told should NEVER be combined. So while the process of me finding a foundation to create the work I wanted to make took longer, I am pleased that what I make now shatters some people's perception of what you are "allowed" to do or what is considered “acceptable.”

Gavin: What made you want to create more acrylic and watercolor paintings, and how was it for you adapting to the medium and honing your skills?

Jared: It certainly was not a conscious decision I found that both these mediums were very flexible and could be used in various ways. I regularly experiment with all sorts of mediums from some of my recent work with oil pastels to using food or various beverages because you never know when you'll hit the jackpot with something.

Gavin: Your style has a bit of abstract to it, a bit of cartoon, and a couple other elements that don't allow it to be pigeonholed in description. What was the biggest influence to your style?

Jared: Early on, I was seduced by the art of ancient cultures and the beautiful artifacts that they left behind. While unaware of it at the time I now can look back over my work and clearly see that the artistic styles of these various civilizations cameo through my work. I also was obsessed with horror and science fiction films as well as comic books and animations of the late '80s and early '90s. I believe these elements played a big role in my development of what I consider to be aesthetically pleasing.

Gavin: How was it for you breaking into the local art scene and taking part in exhibitions?

Jared: I am very lucky because I am surrounded by amazing people who believe in what I do and have supported me and the development of my work. My early shows were not held in galleries or your run of the mill art settings. My friends would throw big art parties where I could display and sell my work, and get more acquainted with people who followed the art scene in SLC. From there I was presented with opportunities by other artists, the Utah Arts Alliance and other great organizations and it has been a dream come true ever since.

Gavin: What's the process for you in making a new painting, from concept to final look?

Jared: Most of my work starts out as a simple ink outline of what the foundation of the work will be. From there I will transpose it to canvas or whatever base I’m using at the time. Once that process is complete, color schemes and other details will float to the surface and slowly the piece will begin to develop its own personality and biography.

Gavin: Do you play around with it a lot while creating or do you stick to an idea when you get it?

Jared: The original concept is usually set in stone; however, once the work is in process of being painted more often than not it evolves into a much more complex and often surprising final product. I would compare it to maybe a distant cousin who you are aware of and could recognize in a crowd but then in spending an immense amount of personal time with each other suddenly this standard acknowledgement of one another evolves into a deep, meaningful, personal relationship and understanding of one another.

Gavin: You've had a number of works donated to charities and non-profit causes. What made you want to give back in that way?

Jared: Well, I personally believe that being involved with charity and other causes really is a major factor of what shapes your identity as a human being. I am fortunate to have access to a resource that I can use to help the things I am passionate about. I have been so privileged to be allowed to do what I love within my community that I would feel guilty not returning the favor.

Gavin: I've noticed you've started working in mixed media designs. What influenced you to start working in that style?

Jared: It goes back to not establishing any limits or expectations of what I do. I also can get very bored very quickly so by experimenting and trying new mediums and genres this allows me to keep things fresh and expand the boundaries of what I feel I’m capable of.

Gavin: Are you looking to expand into other genres of art or are you mainly focusing on what you're doing now?

Jared: I am always looking to try new things and broaden the definition of what I do. I can say that I never set out to do art because I thought I was a particularly gifted painter. I did it because I had something to say. My life goal is to have that message translated in as many different avenues as possible.

Gavin: Tell us about the artwork on display for this Stroll.

As I have been at this for a while now and recently taken some time to create new work and try new things, I wanted to show samples from each collection of work I have done over the last six years.

Gavin: How has it been working with Nostalgia and being displayed with Kristi?

Jared: Well Zara [Card] is incredible and so warm and generous which is always a treat when collaborating with someone who wants to display your work. I have shown work with Kristi before in a larger group setting but recently we discovered we shared the exact same birthday so we wanted to do something just the two of us. I suppose it could be viewed as an art wedding of sorts.

Gavin: What are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Jared: I think the art scene here is still very young, it’s not quite as mature as other scenes around the country and doesn't yet realize its own potential. I will say that while young it feels that it is in this rebellious stage coming into its own and experimenting with new artists and new concepts and I am in love with the attitude that we’re seeing of not waiting around to be courted by some gallery and just making things happen on your own by gathering your friends and your resources and making it happen guerrilla style.

Gavin: Who are some local artists you like checking out or recommend people should look for?

Jared: Obviously I am a huge fan of Kristi Lauren, but some others I adore would be the magnificent Daniel Overstreet whose beautiful works can be seen all over the city. Josh Tai Taeoalii, the Godfather of the Salt Lake art scene as far as I am concerned. I also love following the work of Holy Cobb, Jorge Stenciljam, Dave Borba, Mark Seely, Dania Darling and Dusk One. I also am a big fan of the Bad Kids Collective in terms of performance art.

Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll and the work they're doing to promote local art?

Jared: Gallery Stroll in Salt Lake in particular is fascinating because for one evening you get to see what each community has to offer. It’s almost insane how you can travel from one area of the city to the next and see work so vastly different. I am always a fan of diversity and love that in my home city I can very easily taste such juxtapositions in one night.

Gavin: What can we expect from you and the gallery going into next year?

Jared: I am diligently working on my Tarot series which incorporates portraits of some of the most influential and inspiring people in from life in the form of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. This way the audience who may not know these characters can become acquainted with them through my work and form a unique relationship with their image and what they represent to me. Find me on Facebook under Jared Knight Art

Kristi Lauren

Gavin: Hey Kristi! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kristi: I am 24 years old and have spent the last six years working on my masters of architecture from the university of Utah. I was born and raised in SLC and went to elementary, middle, and high school in the Sugar House area.


Gavin: What first got you interested in art and what were some early influences on you?

Kristi: Growing up my family was eagerly wrapped in artistic flair and shared their love of creativity with me since before I can remember.

Gavin: You earned your Masters in Architecture from the University of Utah earlier this year. What made you choose the U and what was your time like there?

Kristi: I choose the University of Utah to complete my BS in Architecture because I wanted to stay close to home. I choose the same school for my Masters for the opportunity to participate in the unique and inspiring program called Design Build Bluff. DBB is a program connecting architecture grad student to design with and for a client while at the same time having a hands on experience of seeing a project move from paper into the physical world with ethics and sustainability in mind. In this program nine other students and I designed and built a house in the Utah desert on the Navajo Reservation for four months in 2013.

Gavin: During your time there, what got you interested in painting and graphic design?

Kristi: I have always been interested in painting and design work. I have been engulfed in art projects my entire life and have never stepped away from my love of creation and creative problem solving.

Gavin: What was it like for you to start making artwork to exhibition and how was it getting involved with the local art scene?

Kristi: I started out near seven years ago producing painting after painting in high school when I decided I should take my paintings to show. My first art show was at Alchemy Coffee in 2007. After that, I did not show my art again until 2012 which was at the first group art show I participated in called Submerged In Art, which is a charity art show for the Road Home. Then in 2013 I started street vending. I wanted to street vend as a fun thing to do on the weekend and because a license is cheap, $30 per year. I was able to hang out at Liberty Park, paint beneath the trees and experience all kinds of alternative people. When street vending, I was approached by many people and started to get offers into the local art seen. I love being apart of the local art scene. So far I have met many incredibly talented artist and designers and have never felt more comfortable in life.

Gavin: What's the process like for you in creating a new piece, from concept to final product?

Kristi: My favorite method of painting is when I let imagery flow from my subconscious, which I would describe as feeling like a meditation. When I am trying to create something a little more restricted such as a preconceived idea for example a lion, I will look at many different pictures of a lion focusing on particular features and paint them from my imagination. It is rare that I will have an image that I copy but instead collect a series of images in my mind and then piece them together as I paint.

Gavin: With all the various forms of art you've had a hand in, are you looking more to try new things and see how they go, or is it more of a personal venture to learn new skills and add them to your repertoire?

Kristi: The reason why I venture to so many different art forms is pure passion. It is incredibly fun and rewarding for me to learn and experience a new art form with my own interpretation. For example, I was inspired to make shoes one day and instead of getting a pattern or taking a class, I collected some canvas and began to fold and sew pieces together in a way that made sense to me. This method of creation is a hands on experience and incorporates my own way of learning. Even though my shoes started out messy and undefined, I loved them and cherished them for what they were. They are still coming together and I can visualize them as having a lot of potential, right now they are an underpainting, I love them and will love them when they are finalized. I am in love with my process of creation no matter the imperfections because I can see that my creations are a work in progress. I strongly dislike being given tips or examples of how to create and I find my passion though learning my own way of creation.

Gavin: Tell us about the artwork on display for this Stroll.

Kristi: The artwork from the Stroll are pieces that have been made in a similar time frame of my life. As soon as I move onto a new style, this style of my past will no longer exist and I will never paint anything the same way again. If someone where to look at my style through the years I am not sure if they would be able to make the connection that all the pieces where from the same artist. It is not that I don't want to go back to my old styles, it is that I have made a realization and grew onto a on new style and literally cannot go back to my old style.

Gavin: How has it been working with Nostalgia and being displayed with Jared?

Kristi: Jared Knight is one of my favorite local artists. We get a long so well and have become close friends after we met in 2012 at Submerged In Art. We look out for each other and I absolutely love his artwork. I think our work looks good together.

Gavin: What are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Kristi: I feel like there are so many different artist groups in SLC and I love all of the ones I know. My favorite is the underground group of artists. The art scene in the public eye, which I have learned from street vending is that people in Utah do not appreciate art like other places. There is a mall mentality here where you go into someones home and the only art you see is from Ikea or some mass produced art. Most of the people I have seen to buy local art is local artists. Most people on the street will buy art if it popular imagery such as star wars or bat man.

Gavin: Who are some local artists you like checking out or recommend people should look for?

Kristi: All artists at Mod A Go Go, Jared Knight Josh Tai and Adrienne Taeoalii, Renee and Todd Keith, Pretty Macabre, Twig Media Lab, Chris Madsen, Dave Borba, Anthony Granato, Abraham The Oktas, Squid Vishuss, Bacee Blackat, Adrian Prazen and Rachel Johnson, Kali Mellus, Mason Fetzer, Daniel Overstreet, Dania Darling, Isaac Hastings, Dan Christofferson, Cody Chamberlain, Jorge Stenciljam and many more.

Gavin: What can we expect from you and the gallery going into next year?

Kristi: I will be around with a lot more to come. Visit Kristi Lauren Design on Facebook and Instagram.