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Art & Life with Lara Mann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lara Mann.

Lara, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I don’t have a unique story – I do however have a unique drive. I can be unsure of many things, but my unwavering dedication to art is one that will forever be engrained in my persona. Mostly, I am lucky that my parents supported my insatiable desire to draw, paint, weld, solder, weave, mold, sculpt, assemble, and all the other verbs of my creative id. Their unconditional encouragement is why I am who I am today. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

Born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs, I left briefly to earn my BFA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Shortly after graduating in 2011, I returned to the city and set out to achieve my goal of working at a gallery. Since then, I have turned my passion into a vibrant career in the Chicago art world. While building my professional skills, I have continued to work on my own practice in my spare time. I had a second bedroom as a studio but will soon move into my own studio space in the Irving Park neighborhood starting in June.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’m mostly painting as of late, but I have been known to try anything once. My most recent work has been focused on capturing nature in a way that is more illustrative but still abstract. During my formative years, I only drew figurative imagery. Once I started undergrad, I realized that my true love was color. From then on, I started exploring the ways I could manipulate color to enhance the visual magic that happens when color begins to oscillate in your eyeballs.

My main goal is in entertaining visually and emotionally. I pour hours upon hours into every single detail so that when the viewer sees the work as a whole, they feel something cohesive and honest. Many viewers tend to react in such a way that they automatically see or feel something that is entirely their own experience. In my opinion this is what art should do: tap into the viewer’s background and allow the viewer to project themselves into the work. Some people have stronger reactions than others, but I find it absolutely delightful when someone tells me an entirely new thing that they see in my painting.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
The role of artists has evolved alongside the transformation of humankind. I truly believe that an artist can be literally anyone and everyone. If you are reacting to an emotion or idea and then creating anything from that raw or processed place, you are an artist. Whether it’s a selfie, a fashion statement, a love notes, a protest sign, a gif, a birthday cake, or a random act of kindness – it’s all art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. We as artists make gestures, small and large, to express our views and opinions on the world as it exists in our view. This has been true since the first humans made cave paintings to our current social media technology boom.

Not all artists have the freedom that we as Americans do, and it is a privilege to be honest to our audience. I don’t tend to make political statements in my work. I can only react to current events as I see fit as an individual. This means I donate to planned parenthood and vote in every applicable election, but politics are not part of my artistic being. That being said, I make art based on internal emotions and personal events, but I do recognize that many artists are politically aligned. These people and groups are essential to keeping our freedom of expression relevant which I wholly support.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Please visit my website or follow me on Instagram! I also sell work through which does pop up art shows every so often.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @l.a.r.a.m.a.n.n

Image Credit:
All images courtesy of the artist.

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Kenneth

    June 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Great interview! I love these paintings.

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