Sans [ceuticals] | Lauren Spencer King, Artist + Teacher

Lauren Spencer King, Artist + Teacher

Images by Yasmine Ganley

24 - 07 - 24

By harnessing her own personal rituals, Los Angeles-based artist Lauren Spencer King has found a way to lend her experience and knowledge to others, sharing her love of nature's healing properties and the power of breath in both her paintings and meditation classes. Celebrating the idea of a daily practice, Lauren's work teaches others that ritual can be a useful tool for everyday use.

Images by Yasmine Ganley

Sans Woman

On taking care of yourself:

The biggest thing is to just listen to what I need. Because needs changes all the time, what I needed yesterday might not be what I need today. The listening isn’t always the hard part, it’s the responsibility to what you hear that can be tricky, because you have to follow through and actually do it.

As someone who has been a life long caretaker of others I have learned over the years what self care is, what it really means, and how valuable that can be to my desire to help and be in service to others.

I think we can ritualize all of our self care practices if we do them with intention - with the intention to nourish, heal, restore, soothe, grow, release… whatever it is that we need in that moment to be our most whole self.

On transforming one's own thoughts to create inspiration:

I think there are many phases when it comes to being creative. It’s not always fun, and it doesn’t always feel good. It can bring up a lot of doubts and self criticisms, and you have to work alongside these. Because that is also part of being an artist.

There is always a point, and sometimes a few, when I am working on something and think it is terrible, or that I have ruined it. I have found that it is best not to let this stop me, and have learned over the years to just keep working through it. I think that’s the only way - just keep going - to not give into those thoughts. And it might be terrible, but I won’t really know until it is finished. So, I just try to get to that point where it is done, and then I spend time with it and figure out what it is, and what it isn’t, and if it works or not. And that process can take weeks, or months, or even years.

On analysing or critiquing one's own work:

I think being critical is one of the big things Graduate School teaches you. I always resisted it when I was in school, I found it so stifling. Now, with some distance, I really see it’s lasting effect on me. For better and worse, it is a part how I see and do everything. I think it often makes me really hard on things I see people making out in the world. But, I also see how it helps me to consider and push my own work.

Criticality is important, it’s something I think we are loosing as a flourishing, creative culture. I think when we make something we ought to know what it’s saying and doing in the world beyond being an act of expression, or something of beauty. If you are an artist you have to understand the context in which you are making something. It’s important to look at things with a critical eye. It’s how we make meaning and understand the world. It’s how we hold people accountable to the things they make, and say, and do. And, more importantly, it’s how we hold ourselves accountable for the mark we are leaving on the world with our creations.

Criticality is what helps us see beyond the aesthetics of something. And while I think beauty is important it can sometimes be a dead end and can keep you on the surface of something, which, in the end, isn’t that interesting to me. Beauty isn’t important if I can’t move beyond it to go deeper.

We are living in an interesting time where so many people are makers, calling themselves artists and curators. More so than ever before. It makes me want to hold tight to some sort of criticality. Perhaps this is antiquated of me. And who knows, maybe in forty years I will have come to see that as artists it’s not our job to be critical and all we need to do is just make the art. But, I doubt it. I think as artists we have a responsibility.

On overcoming feelings of anxiety or nervousness:

Earth energy always helps me transform my anxiety and nerves. I have to work extra hard during those times to ground and stay connected to my body. Pretending I’m not nervous just makes it so much worse. I might even admit it out loud to whoever I am with, that always helps it dispel a bit.

"I’m old fashioned and wear a watch. I have all my life. It is set five minutes ahead. I grew up with a father who was always on time, and he always made us on time as kids. It taught me the importance of respecting your own time and the time of others. More and more so these days time is valuable."

On activities that best help you relax:

Swimming! I find it so meditative: to be silent, moving through the water. It also makes me feel really strong. At the end of the day it feels so good to swim laps and be in the sun.

On creating boundaries around technical devices:

I don’t have internet in my studio. When I am there it is about working. My phone is also almost always on silent. Recently, I have been trying to have “office hours” for emailing, and no emailing on the weekends. I don’t always succeed in this perfectly, but it helps as a goal.

On keeping family traditions:

It goes beyond tradition. I feel very fortunate to have had truly amazing, talented, and creative members of my family: a world traveler business woman in the 1950’s, a painter who taught dressmaking at a big university in the 1940’s, a sculptor / silversmith / jewelry maker, a prominent mid century architect, and a race car driver. The women especially challenged gender rolls and broke glass ceilings, leaving me with an inspiring legacy. I feel grateful for the challenge of not only carrying on my lineage but also evolving it.

Lauren is offering a 10 day online meditation course that starts March 25th. To find out more information and sign up visit:

Sans Woman Lauren Spencer King

"When I am working on something and think it is terrible, or that I have ruined it. I have found that it is best not to let this stop me, and have learned over the years to just keep working through it. I think that’s the only way - just keep going - to not give into those thoughts."

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