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Flex Yo Hustle

An Interview with Muralist Lauren Asta

Alright, we need a quick moment to humble brag: Brooklyn Boulders Chicago is now rocking incredible new artwork by the muralist, street artist, and freestyle doodle dame Lauren Asta. If you haven’t seen it already, check out the timelapse of her massive BKB creation below! Lauren is currently on tour across the U.S., bringing her art to all kinds of communities and attacking any wall she can get her hands on (follow #astaarttour to track her adventures). Needless to say, we’re so stoked that BKB was one of the lucky stops on her nationwide tour.

To learn more about Lauren and her work, we sat down to chat and ask her some questions. Check out our conversation below, and be sure to follow her on @lauren_asta when you’re done.

Lauren, thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions! First, how did you get started as an artist, and how long have you been at it?

I have been a full-time muralist and working for myself for 4 years now! I started by taking a leap of faith. I approached the owners of a local brewery that had a big, blank, ugly wall inside — and I asked them if they wanted a mural at a discounted price (since it was my first). I just had this feeling that my art would work well in large-scale, mural form, so the moment those brewery owners gave me the green light and my paintbrush touched the wall, something clicked. Things just made more sense. Hard feeling to describe, but I have been addicted to it ever since.

Impressive! Your murals are all hand painted without any aid of a sketch, projector, traced outlines, etc. You work completely free hand. How did you choose this particular method?

When the brewery owners agreed to let me do the 3,000 square foot mural inside their brewery, they agreed so quickly. They immediately rented a scissor lift and told me to have at it… so I didn’t have enough time to create a sketch or drawing of what the mural would look like (I only had 28 days to complete the mural because that’s how long they rented the lift). I had no choice but to just pick up the brush and create. I thank them everyday for agreeing so quickly, because now I attack all my walls this way every time I start: Pick up the brush and go.

There is something really great about slowing down, putting the time in, and then getting the results you set out for.

That’s incredible. Pick it up and go. So when you picked up your brush at BKB, what (or who) inspired your mural?

I wanted lots of my characters climbing on and helping each other! Lots of energy and something vibrant and positive. A balanced backdrop to an incredible venue!

Agreed. Speaking of vibrant and positive, what’s been your favorite artistic creation so far, and why?

In July 2016 I painted my largest mural to date… 5,000 sq ft. This mural lives the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago at the Lacuna Artist Lofts. I am so proud of completing such a beast of a project, all done freestyle and with just a paintbrush, by myself. I painted alone on a boom for 34 days straight, so it was both extremely physically and mentally demanding. I lived, breathed, loved this mural while I was working on it. All I had to do was wake up, put the headphones in, and paint all day. One of the best times of my life. This was also towards the beginning of my tour, so I was feeling really good about landing huge projects and working for myself!

Photos: Ryan Barayuga
Speaking of feeling good about yourself and your work, what advice would you give to our community members who are also aspiring artists / creatives?

To never give up! Easier said than done, I know… but I think people these days are too quick to desire and demand immediate results. There is something really great about slowing down, putting the time in, and then getting the results you set out for. (Just like exercising and learning how to rock climb!) But first and foremost, make work for yourself. Find your style. Find your voice. Find what you want to represent. Hone in on your technique, nail it down, and then produce produce produce. Honest work will always have a place in this world and in your community.

Lastly, we have to ask a BKB classic: What’s something weird about you?

These days, I would rather live out of a bag and travel the world than have a permanent home. Might not be so weird, but I know a lot of people think I am crazy! Oh, also… when I paint I’m usually listening to the Marc Maron WTF podcast. He is my spirit animal and I feel like he gets me in the paint zone every time. 🙂

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