Laura Burke


Laura Burke

We're quite sure our dear friend Laura Burke must look familiar to you all! We felt it was high time and far overdue for us to show you what she's REALLY all about though. ;)

See more of Laura's work at Tappan Collective.

I don't know many artists who use colored pencil as their primary medium, what drew you to that and has kept you inspired by it over the years?

I always thought I would be a painter. I took a summer oil painting class at The Multnomah Art Center in Portland, OR when i was 14 with a group of people 10+ years older than me. I’m not sure that’s a medium for early teens. I kept trying throughout high school, but it never felt natural. My parents bought me a set of Prismacolors for Christmas one year, and from then on out it was all I wanted to use. When I went to community college in the Portland suburbs I expanded to charcoal, but even after transferring to PNCA and getting a degree in printmaking, I always came back to colored pencils. I love that my pallet is limited to the colors provided, I can mix them together and overlap, but what I start with always remains the same. It’s amazing how many combinations that i’ve never used before still come to the surface after using the same brand for 15 years.

Then there’s how direct drawing is. I love that the prep involved is choosing where on the page to begin, and what color, and that’s pretty much it. My studio set up is just paper clipped to the wall and a small table my dad made for me covered in pencils. It’s a playful balancing act of shape, space, color and weight.

You depict a lot of florals and pattern! Where do you find inspiration for these themes?

I love looking at art. When I find a new/old artist that I connect to it’s like when I discovered a band when I was 16. I recently found the work of [Mary Fedden]( and I keep going back to her work for inspiration. Lately it’s been Fedden, and [Pierre Bonnard]( Both have this bizarre but relatable way of painting the everyday that I emulate. I think of my still lives as borderline psychedelic odes to the humdrum.

Describe your dream project! You have all the space, time and money you need, what would this project look like?!

I want to make a mural, or maybe just a temporary installation. Mostly I want someone with a huge space to say “hey go for it, I don’t need a plan, it’ll probably turn out okay” and then leave me alone. I’ve never painted a mural, I don’t know how to paint, and I don't have the space or supplies. But for whatever probably misguided reason, I feel like it would turn out really nice.

That, and then I would source very large, very beautiful paper. Some of the most amazing sheets can run upwards of $100, and at some point I want to graduate to the surface, definitely with a larger space. I want to make drawings that require a ladder and warehouse to make.