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Craft With Conscience: Laura Garcia Serventi of ART and PEOPLE

Craft With Conscience

'Craft With Conscience' began in early 2016 as a weekly Instagram series dedicated to sharing the work of other creatives and as a platform to openly discuss certain aspects of ethical art-making and consuming in the age of the internet and social media.  

This series arose out of my own frustrations related to seeing my work constantly copied stitch-for-stitch, sold without permission, and credited to other people.  Rather than wallowing in unproductive negative emotions, I wanted to find a way to bring this common issue to light in a positive way.  My solution was to share the work of artists, crafters, designers, and makers who I greatly admire for their originality and dedication. Initially, I shared work similar in materials or subject matter to my own, having heard the argument, "There are only so many ways to stitch plants, I'm not copying you..." one too many times.  The truth is, no matter what the medium or subject, every artist from hobby crafter to professional painter has their own perspective and voice. It takes effort to develop one's visual vocabulary and it can be disheartening when your's is taken and misused by other individuals and sometimes larger companies.

All that being said, now is an incredible time for working artists because of the vast resources of the internet including sources of inspiration, the ability to reach a large and global audience, and as a community building tool. As you may know, I love sharing my work on Instagram and following other makers. It's a wonderful way to connect with other artists, be inspired, and feel supported, but we all need to be aware of how we use these resources and what effect it may have on others.

Since the start of 2016, 'Craft With Conscience' has grown and evolved just like any other creative pursuit and has recently expanded to include short interviews with featured artists. I've asked participating artists a series of questions about their studio process, sources of inspiration, and how image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest influence and affect them. I hope you read on to see what they have to say!

Craft With Conscience: Laura Garcia Serventi of ART and PEOPLE

Sarah Benning

Laura Garcia Serventi // Painter and Illustrator // Brooklyn, NY


Laura Garcia Serventi is an Argentinian painter and illustrator based in Brooklyn .

Her work, deeply inspired by her love of the natural world is also related to the memories of  her childhood spent in Buenos Aires.

Filled with an exuberant variety of plants, from cacti and succulents to fanned palm trees and orchids in bloom, her  paintings are an ode to the botanical world and all its wonders and oddities.

Laura's work is always evolving and ranges  from large scaled original paintings to affordable art  prints, editorial work and collaborations with fashion brands such  as Patrizia Pepe and Charles & Keith. She's launching a collection of  silk scarves with her designs in summer 2018.

Check out more of her amazing work on her website or on Instagram!

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1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing one’s own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artists’ lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional work.

The Internet gave me the opportunity to create a business out of my art practice. It showed me that there isn't only one path to create and show art. It empowered me and gave me freedom.

After I graduated from art school and then photography school I found myself a bit lost, I knew that it was going to be very hard to find a gallery to represent me and sell original work, and after many tries and errors and a lot of frustration, I realized I could try to create something different on my own taking advantage of the internet and all its possibilities. I had nothing to lose. I also needed an income so as I took a full-time job, I also opened an Etsy shop with a few art prints (reproductions from my original paintings). The shop took two years to really pick up and it was thanks to many bloggers who featured my paintings and the amazing Etsy community, that my work started to flourish and be noticed.

Thanks to the internet my prints are today in houses all around the world, which keeps surprising and humbling me.

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2. Where do you find inspiration for your work?  In what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?

I draw my inspiration from nature and specifically from botanical gardens, wherever I travel I visit the local one, no matter how small or out of the way it is. I find them and their greenhouses fascinating , a patch of wilderness in the middle of a city, they're theatrical, staged, and yet so real, you can smell the wet soil and feel the humidity sticking all over your skin.

I also look back a lot in Art History, and of course this new area of social media has opened the doors to knowing other contemporary artists and creative people, which has been incredibly enriching.

With the Internet we can look at work that is being done today by living artists, we can see their process, their studio, have a peek into their personal lives, that's incredible.

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3. How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?

I've always loved painting. So when I had to choose a career I knew right away what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an artist but I didn't know how or what it really meant.

I attended the School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, where I studied Painting, looking for answers. I loved the process and learned a lot but it was not enough and I started developing interest in other mediums. I moved to Italy to study Photography and while I was there, my art projects were mainly photographic, and then I stopped painting all together. But after a while, paint started leaking back into my projects : from a few painted details in a photographic collage project , to a series of b&w photographs colored by hand, to painting mural size landscapes just to use as photographic backdrops.

I had moved to N.Y. by then. Looking back ,I think those big landscapes defined my return to painting and triggered my plant obsession. I started painting again after that and I hope I'll never stop.

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4. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

It's very tricky, and that's the bad part of all this exposure we're experiencing. Luckily I haven't found any copies of my work as far as I know, but I'm totally aware that it's a real possibility and surely worries me.

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5. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?

My advice would be to create a routine, be consistent, create short term goals and try to stick to them. Look around you for inspiration. Choose a theme you're interested in and develop a series. Be persistent.

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6. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?

painters /illustrators

other  art mediums

design

gardens

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All images provided by the artist.