Multidisciplinary artist Laura Lit refuses to be defined by others’ expectations of success.
By Evelyn Deal, Photos courtesy of Evelyn Deal
For many, it takes years to figure out their purpose in life. What brings them joy, what makes them excited to wake up in the morning or what fuels their soul. Some, however, are luckier than others. Their instincts are strong, and their purpose in the world is clear as day. This is exactly the case for Austin-based artist Laura Lit. Led by powerful intuition and instinctual reason, Lit creates visually stunning, colorful, modern sculpture work that encapsulates the images she sees in her head. When asked about her origins of motivation, Lit describes it best: “That’s just who I am and what I do. [Art] is so essential to my nature.”
Born in Dallas, Texas, Lit recalls being drawn to art at a very young age. “I think I’ve been an artist since I was little. [I think] when you’re little and you dream about what you want to be, it is always an artist,” she explains. “I tried lots of jobs in between. Did other things and then did a full circle and went back to art ’cause it’s really the only thing that’s fulfilled me.”
Laura Lit: A Life of Creation
Creation has been an integral part of Lit’s life. From taking painting lessons in the backyard of her school teacher’s house to pursuing a degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design, she often finds herself surrounded by what comes naturally. “For the most part, I’ve considered myself a figurative artist. I did a lot of figure drawing in high school and lots of life drawing, and I thought I would do figurative art forever ’cause I loved it. I just kinda reached a point where I got really sick of it. All that changed when I made some artwork for Batch. My husband and I own Batch, so I decorate everything. I help design the buildings and the interiors.”
Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches, located off Manor Road, has given Lit the chance to showcase her new and current methods of creating art. Carefully curated sculptures made from wood hang on the walls inside the restaurant and have caught the eye of many. “Once those were up, Phillip Niemeyer from Northern-Southern Gallery walked in and asked, ‘Whose work is that?’ They said, ‘That’s Laura Lit’; and he said, ‘No that’s not Laura Lit; she does figurative work.’ So they connected me with him, and he encouraged me to do more abstract art.”
“I can make everything by myself…”
Independence and artistic freedom are major factors contributing to Lit’s work. Her most recent pieces consist of cohesive bright color palettes. Working with paper clay, foam and wood, she constructs her work by herself in her Austin studio. “I can make everything by myself with no one else’s help. I like to be able to move my sculpture around myself, make the cuts I need myself and just figure out how to do it myself.”
Her drive and ambition go beyond herself. Her work is more than objects hanging on a wall. Art can mean many things. It can be political, controversial, depressing or uplifting. One thing is guaranteed: It will provoke a response or a feeling. Art gives the viewer a moment to extend outside of their current reality and into the art. “When you look at something that resonates with your consciousness or your subconsciousness, it makes you take a step back from your daily life of your normal anxieties, your normal human stuff,” Lit says. Today, there are so many reasons why art is important to society on a personal and humanitarian level. Lit uses her talent and expertise to give back. At the time of this article’s publication, she will have donated two of her pieces to the Ukraine relief fundraiser organized by DORF.
Laura Lit’s Definition of Success
Through numerous exhibitions like the colored pencil creations of Fuzzy Forces and the oil paintings in Where You End and I Begin, Lit showcases her work in diverse mediums. She has an upcoming exhibit at the Northern-Southern Art Gallery in the late fall of 2022 to display her most recent work.
Creating these pieces of art, whether sculptures, portraits or oil paintings, is a means of self-expression. To Lit, however, it is also a way of living. For her, being able to do what you love independently is a prominent means of success. “I don’t think [success]has anything to do with selling art or what the price tag is. Rather, it is just making what is in your heart and making work that is truthful to yourself.”
On the outside, she is undeniably successful. However, her definition of success is focused more on the creator themselves, rather than their art. “I think real success is having the time and space to make your work. A lot of artists don’t have studio materials, so I think if you have all the time you need and all your materials to make your work, then you’re successful.”