This March, meet our maker of the month, Lauren Camara. Lauren is a self taught artist and full time graphic designer with a primary focus on print and paper. Celebrate National Craft Month & Women’s History Month by learning more about this month’s maker, the passion behind her projects and her unique style here.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Where do you live?
How did you get started in graphic design and your role as a creative director? What
are your hobbies? What makes your life feel special every day?
I’m a self-taught artist, graphic designer, and creative director originally from NY, currently
living in the Bronx. I have always created art and have experimented with different mediums
over the years. At 19, I interned at a small Manhattan design agency, and quickly discovered
my interest in graphic design. The precision of graphic design – the clean lines, bold colors,
and fascinating simplicity – captivated me like no other medium.
I was determined to learn graphic design, so I purchased my first Mac computer, and delved
into design programs, teaching myself through books in the pre-internet era. As I learned the
programs, I began creating my graphic design portfolio and my career as a designer began.
I’ve been fortunate to contribute to exciting creative departments including Major League
Baseball, Sony Music, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and now Columbia University
Irving Medical Center. Each experience and position has fueled my evolution as a graphic
designer and as an artist.
Beyond my current full-time position and working on my art, I find joy in jogging in Van
Cortlandt Park and spending time with my family – my incredible husband and two awesome
teenage boys. My life revolves around the simplicity of family, friends, art, music, and dance.
When did you begin work with paper art and how did you get involved?
Immersed in the world of graphic design, my primary focus for many years was creating
designs for print pieces. I was surrounded by paper swatch books, each containing a
treasure trove of textures, colors, and patterns that captivated me. The allure of different
types of paper was instantaneous and I found myself intrigued by the possibility of using
them for something beyond traditional graphic design.
Driven by an obsession with these unique papers, I transformed some paper swatches into
my first paper collage, a portrait of my husband. This passion has continued to grow over
decades along with my overwhelming paper collection. The discovery of Paper Source, with
its incredible array of handmade papers, has opened a world of new possibilities for my art
beyond the solid colors I was typically using.
Tell us about your style and the process.
I define my art style as graphic, bold, and clean. It’s a structured approach, though the final
result may not immediately convey that. The first step in my creative journey involves
selecting a subject that resonates with me on a personal level. Daily encounters, family
moments, political reflections, music, and people in my community serve as profound
sources of inspiration. Whether it’s someone’s unique style, a conversation’s nuances, or the
movement in a gesture, these elements shape my artistic vision.
From the ordinary, I extract graphic elements, discerning shapes and forms. Once my
subject is chosen, I embark on the meticulous process of selecting my paper palette.
Scanning the papers hanging on the walls in my makeshift studio, I carefully pick the
foundational pieces, considering symbolism, contrasting colors, patterns, and textures. The
building phase then begins, similar to constructing a spider web. Starting with the focal point
or what I consider the most captivating section, often the face, I build out each section.
Clarity and distinction between each area is crucial, guided by my paper choices. No
repeated patterns, just the right mix of color and tone. It is a slow process and it is very
difficult to go backwards. I work in sections, taking a step back regularly to see the whole
picture and make adjustments.
Tell us about the exhibitions that you have participated in.
Even though I have been working in this medium for decades, it’s only recently that I started
sharing my pieces. Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to showcase my work in
various locations and exhibitions, including:
● Warburton Galerie, Yonkers, NY
● Art on the Avenue Exhibitions, NYC
● The Fine Art Program and Collection at Montefiore Einstein, Bronx, NY
● BX200, a Bronx Visual Artist Directory, bx200.com
● Gallery 505, Bronx, NY
● Riverfront Art Gallery, Yonkers, NY
What inspires you as a maker?
I find inspiration in the ordinary moments of daily life, my family, politics, music, and my
community. Sometimes I am touched by someone’s unique style, a conversation, or the
nuances of an expression. My pieces share personal messages or convey the simple beauty
found in unexpected places—like a spontaneous moment or a surprise connection. These
unexpected inspirations may be as ordinary as meeting a soon-to-be-mother setting up her
baby shower in the park, a young man practicing skateboarding skills, a chat with a local
photographer, passing by women waiting for the local bus, a song that resonates with me,
sitting on the couch with my husband, or my children drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.
What are the essentials in your maker toolkit? What is your favorite medium?
Paper, an X-Acto knife, a cutting board, tape, and glue are the essentials in my maker toolkit.
It took me a long time to find my primary medium, which is paper. Currently, it’s the only
medium I work with (aside from graphic design).
What advice would you give other makers, designers, and creators given your
With time and practice, growth is inevitable. Reflecting on how much my technique has
evolved in a short span, I realize that diving deeper into my work and embracing the natural
exploration of new ideas played a crucial role. Sharing my work publicly was something I
never imagined doing. I’ll admit, self-criticism was and still is a constant companion, but I
create anyway. My advice to other makers, designers, and creators is simply to create. You
do not know where it will lead and what joy it might bring you. Allow yourself to create
without judgment, make art for yourself and without a strict plan.
Do you have any specific goals for the future or dream projects?
I don’t have specific goals for the future beyond continuing to create and share. However, I
do hope to explore significant larger sized pieces someday. The only challenge is that studio
space will be needed for that—storing work under a bed is not ideal!
What is Your Favorite Colorscope Color at PS?
I love every single Colorscope Color! It’s truly impossible for me to pick one but if I have to,
today I will pick persimmon. Tomorrow I think I’ll pick fushia!
Do you have any favorite PS items that you are loving right now?
Every single piece of paper that Paper Source has in stock. I am obsessed! Handmade
Lokta paper from Nepal is probably my favorite at the moment because it is so strong, has
an elegant feel and the colors are stunning.