It’s hard not to fall in love with the hand sculpted and illustrated animals that populate le animale! Artist, sculptor and photographer Laura has created a delightful world of miniaturized creatures full of spirit and personality to fulfill her own wish for a personal zoo. Read on for more about Laura and le animale.
Your wee animals are so full of spirit and personality. How do you inject so much life into your little creations?
I think it’s a result of how I see animals, coupled with my detail-oriented work style. Animals are cute, they’re comforting, they’re funny, clever, and full of personality. They each have their own energy and fun traits. I try to translate those characteristics in the details of each animal I make.
One of my favorites is your little anteater. Do you ever have a hard time to giving up any of these sweet sculptures?
Well, I have a collection of miniature animals that I’ve collected from other artists and from my travels, so sometimes I do get attached to an animal I’m creating and want to keep him and introduce him to the rest of my mini zoo. But I remind myself that part of the reason I started le animalé in the first place was to share the joy of these little guys, and that helps me part with them.
As a sculptor and an illustrator, how does your creative process differ for each art form?
My creative process in either medium starts solely with deciding on which animals I want to make. Some translate nicely to 3D and some translate better to paper, so I make my decision based on that. My 2D work develops very organically; there are fewer predefined steps involved. I sit down with paper and draw/paint. With the clay, there are more steps that must be followed: after sculpting the clay must cure in the oven, then it is prepped for finishing, painted and varnished
You are also a photographer and I had a chance to browse your work in your photography shop, LauraJohnston, where you seem to focus on people, as opposed to animals. Do you feel that the various forms of art you work in allow you to focus on and express different aspects of what you find interesting and beautiful?
That’s exactly what working in those various mediums does. I’ve been a professional portrait photographer for the past 5 years and I really enjoy working with people. I’ve always had a great interest in people and I see great beauty in them. But I’ve always really loved animals too, and before le animalé I was missing a good outlet to express that. Le animalé allows me to bring my love of animals and my humor to life… and share it with others!
So I opened my first Etsy shop in October 2010. I really dove into it: I joined teams, I talked to other Etsians, I read about having a small business online, I used social networking. I worked very hard on my shop, my exposure was good and people seemed to like my work. People always said, “Just wait, the sales will come.” Long story short… they didn’t. One day while my sister was up visiting and we were making things in clay I decided to open another Etsy shop: le animalé. It was more or less an instant hit (thanks in part to my hard work networking with my first shop). Moral of the story, Etsy is a wonderful venue and you just have to find what works best for you there.
Anything else you would like to share about yourself, your work or your life?
J’ai étudié le français (un peu) and ‘le animalé’ is not intended to be French. Or any other language… it’s just fun!
Continue to follow the lovely Laura and her le animales at the links below...
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Much (Petal) Love,
PetalPetal and VintageChild:Modern