Arts and Culture: Lauren Trangmar | Hawaii's First Coworking Space
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Arts and Culture: Lauren Trangmar

Arts and Culture: Lauren Trangmar

Lauren Trangmar is an artist with a focus in design work. Lauren feels working in design gives her the opportunity to work in a multitude of mediums such as drawing, painting, and printmaking. She creates fine-line illustrations influenced by the line work of 17th century European cartographic illustrations. Being a designer who can work with a diverse set of mediums gives her the opportunity to display her pieces in both the fine art and commercial art worlds.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion for art? 


I’ve always wanted to be an artist. At a young age my parents supported my dream but they told me I wouldn’t make any money as an artist. When I started college I really wanted to pursue a painting major. My friends told me that I should go into graphic design because it was one path where I could make a living while making art while continuing to paint on the side. One of my design instructors told me “well you can paint in my class, you can draw in my class, you can do a film, and use it in your design.” I thought to myself that if I can do everything in this design class, then I’m going to do it.  Being able to work in different mediums felt like a super power as Iʻm able to mesh both my art and design skills together. Existing in both the design and art world also gave me the ability to market my pieces to both audiences. For the 2015 Artists of Hawaii Show, I did a series of illustrations and the Museum bought the original illustrations and put it in the archives. Then, I made print copies of my original illustrations in a big quantity and sell in different shops like Fishcake

How do you market yourself as an artist or a graphic designer?


I make most of my connections through word of mouth. I have been really lucky. People come to me for my distinct style. I’ve also gotten a lot of work from the Artists of Hawaii show. The owner of Aloha Green Apothecary saw my work at the museum and asked me to jump on their project. With Aloha Green Apothecary, I was creating various illustrations to represent different strains of cannabis. It’s really interesting because I didn’t know a lot about cannabis at all. I had to do months of research about cannabis. I went through all the crazy names of the different strands and then imagined what I could to do to visually interpret them.

I make most of my connections through word of mouth. I have been really lucky. People come to me for my distinct style. I’ve also gotten a lot of work from the Artists of Hawaii show. The owner of Aloha Green Apothecary saw my work at the museum and asked me to jump on their project. With Aloha Green Apothecary, I was creating various illustrations to represent different strains of cannabis. It’s really interesting because I didn’t know a lot about cannabis at all. I had to do months of research about cannabis. I went through all the crazy names of the different strands and then imagined what I could to do to visually interpret them.

How does the materials you work with inform your work?


I’ll often scan my drawings into the computer a work things out digitally, then I’ll print the new image and print on top of the digital illustration. It’s a back and forth process between illustration, digital work, and printmaking. I tend to do this process with a lot of my projects. 

I do this a lot when I’m illustrating for Flux magazine . I would first draw and paint with watercolor on tracing paper so I could see through it and then I would stack the layers up and I would scan each one into photoshop. In photoshop I can play around with it a bit more to  figure out how it’s going to look.

What is your work flow for doing art and how do you project manage?


When I start a freelance project I tend to intensely sketch out ideas for weeks. Once I have an idea, I go into the production phase and follow up with regular clients meetings. There are lots of up and down times depending on what stage I’m in with my projects. For example, last week I barely left my studio. However, this week I’m taking meetings and installing work. I make sure to meet my deadlines. Usually, the work I do for magazines like Flux, they want it in a week or two so I’ll Intensively work on those. While I work on projects with short deadlines, I’ll also take on a bigger project that will take months. For example, the Aloha Green Apothecary project has been ongoing for about a year now. That being said, I often like to take breaks from the longer projects to focus on shorter projects.

Do you have a favorite book, film or artist, which inspires you?


A lot of my work is influenced by 17th century cartographer Andrea Cellarius. Andrea Cellarius creates these crazy star maps filled with detailed drawings of mythical creatures and planets. I’m constantly looking at his work. I went to the library and I got to look at a massive book full of his print ads. You’ll see his influence in the work I made at the museum.

What does it mean to be an artist in Hawaii?


Wherever you are, the people and experiences you’re exposed to are going to inform your work. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with Aloha Green Apothecary or have my work in Fishcake. Also, the teachers at UH gave me the freedom the explore different mediums within my design practice.   

Have you ever doubted your art practice?


l doubt my practice all the time. I’m friends with people who are at all different levels in their careers. They all share their doubts and struggles with me and this has helped me get over my own fears.. I learned that doubt is something that never goes away no matter what stage you are in your career. You have to figure it out, keep going and learn from your mistakes.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?


Don’t give up. Just embrace the fear and do it anyway. I’m scared all the time. I have projects and I tell clients “yeah sure I’ll do it.” Then I go back to a blank piece of paper and I think to myself, “how am I gonna do that?” Sometimes when you’re working for a client, the hardest part of your job is reading their mind and bringing it out onto the page. I feel like I have to turn into a mind reader, I never know if i’m going to get it right. So I’m always a bit nervous, but I just keep working for it.

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