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ILYSM chatted with recent #ILYSM4Artists commission recipient, Georgia-based artist Lauren Randi about collaborating with the brand and embracing activism through art.

You're one of our youngest #ILYSM4Artists! Earlier, you mentioned in your submission that you began painting and started drawing while in high school, and that you had started drawing digitally for about a year... Can you elaborate how your process, "helped [you] overcome overwhelming feelings that this pandemic and many other circumstances have brought." 

Over the course of this pandemic, I had more free time off school because my extracurricular activities were canceled. Simultaneously, many controversial events occurred, and digital art was an excellent way to “escape” and be creative in my home. I always loved drawing faces, but I discovered that I didn't like realism because my drawings never came out... realistic. That's why I decided to make the faces more abstract, and I liked the result.

You have such a distinctive style, what advice would you give to other emerging artists to help them find their own voice?

I advise emerging artists to get involved in the art community and connect with other artists they like and want to support. It is important to learn from others and this can help them grow as an artist and build their unique style. They should discover what makes their art "them". Ultimately, artists should like to create art and create whatever they like.

I'd love to hear more about the evolution of your own style - are there any other artists or mentors that inspired you early on?

I began to paint in my own style in July 2020. I had always scribbled and drawn faces, but I thought it would be great to turn my sketches into digital paintings. Likewise, I enjoy Claymation films like Coraline, and I'm inspired by the style. Also, I got inspired by Mark Ryden's artwork.

In addition to creating Instagram filters for us, you also collaborated on some exclusive merch to benefit Fairfight. You mentioned, "as a first time voter in the Georgia Senate runoff election, I have the opportunity to support an organization that fights for voter protection rights and encourages voter participation." I'm curious about your thoughts on the larger role art plays in terms of emboldening or creating awareness in society? Is this something you would like to embrace in future pieces of work?

Art certainly helps to create awareness in society. Art is a universal language that enables people to understand each other and disseminate messages, even if they do not speak the same language. I would love to embrace this in future pieces.

Talk to us about your design experience creating the Instagram filters, and collaborating with ILYSM - what was that process like? How did you translate the stylistic world of your characters into something that also worked for the brand?

When I designed the Instagram face filters, I wanted to create something fun for the user, while remaining in touch with the brand and my style. For the filters I wanted them to accessorize the user’s face in a digital art style. The collaboration with ILYSM enabled me to broaden my art in different formats that I had not yet explored before. I was able to learn how to vectorize my artwork and use AR software for the first time.

What's next for you? What are you working on and how can the ILYSM community continue to support you?

At the moment, The ILYSM community can support me on Instagram @laurenrandi!