~ By Kim Apodaca
LS: I kind of grew into it. According to my mom, when I was little, I was always making stuff. That drove her kind of crazy. She often feels guilty, because she tells me that I wanted to make so much stuff, but she didn’t always have time to facilitate that. When I was in high school, I had a fabric class as one of my subjects. I was only 12, It was amazing because it was all about fashion and sculptural art. I have to say, I think this is how it all started. It was my favorite subject and I gave it my all. I was so focused and a shining star. After that I applied to art school, and got in and I never looked back. It was a very natural thing for me.
LS: Not professionally. My mom always loved art. She was always in a lot of pain and couldn’t move around much ,but she would draw and paint if she could. I remember when we would go camping in France, she would set up her easel and draw portraits of my friends. My dad was very technical, and can fix anything. We would often go to museums. My parents loved art, and there was art all around us. My parents never doubted art as a profession. It was fine to be an artist. I never had to go through that struggle like some people.
KA: Is there a project that comes to mind or an accomplishment that you consider was a defining moment in your career?
LS: Yes, it happened at this post academic school. Although when I look back, I can see the seeds I was planting, but I couldn’t see it at the time. For instance, a lot of my work is very big, but it collapses and is transportable. I think it came from my lifestyle living in Holland. For instance, while I was at art school, I was still living at home, so I would take the train from home for an hour every day. I made these big pieces of art that I would have to take back and forth in the train and that is where the collapsing idea started. I think my big break though was at De Atelier (Prestigious post grad art program in Amsterdam), which is where I met Matt. (Mathew Monahan, her husband and also acclaimed artist). It was in Amsterdam and I was 22 years old at the time. It was an art cloister and there were a total of ten students each year, five from Holland and five international students. We were all together with no internet, no phone, no door bell, just us creating in our studio. On Tuesdays you had to open your studio door and famous artists would come from all over Europe to critique your work. They treated us like their peers. It was hard, but honest. Then I had my first show in 1995 at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, which is the number one museum of contemporary art in Amsterdam. From then on, I had the pressure of developing my work ever since, often directly seen by the public.
KA: So you are 22 years old and your work is at the Stedelijk museum. Do you have a mentor or someone who guided you through this?
LS: No, not really. I came out of the program and thought what next? I just went back to my studio and kept working. I invited curators to come and look at my work. It was a little easier for me because they knew I was from De Atelier program. That’s how I met Anton (Anton Kern, Anton Kern Gallery in NYC). It was a key moment in my career.
KA: Did you ever hit a wall and want to quit?
LS: Oh yeah! I would have done a show and thought it was the best show I could ever do and then I didn’t hear anything about it. That is very hard. I guess my drive is beyond me (laugh), it is like a greater force in a way. Otherwise I would have totally quit so many times. There were so many reasons not to keep going (laugh).
KA: You and Matt have been together from the beginning. Would you say that your partnership is key to each other’s success?
LS: It is incredible how long we have been together. At first I was bringing the bacon home, then it flipped around and Matt paid the rent. Now together we are successful. We always help each other. I introduced Matt to Anton. Then when Matt got more successful he would bring people in to see my work. Still now, our studios are next to each other. If someone is coming in to see my work, I will say to them, “Hey there is an amazing studio next door” and then they will go and see. It is also totally fine when people come to just see your work. We are so happy for each other. There is no jealousy between us. It’s amazing.
KA: What do you think is the magic component between you and Matt after 17 years of marriage?
LS: We have serious respect for each other and we give each other space. We also understand what each other is going through and we understand how difficult it can be. We also inspire each other. Actually that is what keeps the bliss.
KA: What does success mean to you?
LS: Happiness and health. As long as I get a show and sell some pieces, I am happy. I could always step it up and get more assistants and do more, but then there is more pressure and responsibility and then you lose so much of your freedom and you get more headaches. I think it is trying to find that balance of having enough and being happy.
KA: What advice do you have for people out there who want to pursue art as a profession?
LS: Always be yourself. There is no one else like you. Therefore you will always be interesting and original. Hang in there and don’t fake it. You are going to do something for forty or fifty years, so you better enjoy what you are doing. (laugh)
KA: So relating to your show “Revolution in the Making” Opening March 13 at the new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery downtown LA. This exhibition will feature sculptures by female artists from the 40’s to present day. How has women ‘s role in the art world progressed since you entered the profession?
LS: It has definitely improved. There are more female artists and more women in better positions, like gallery owners. But there is still more work to be done. Men still get more money for their work than women do. Also the majority of Galleries represent more male artists. We can still do better, I don’t think we are there yet.
KA: Your work is provocative, but at the same time expresses the power women have within them. Are you ever hesitant to say what is on your mind? Are you ever worried that you might offend people for instance other parents at your daughter’s school?
LS: Sexuality is definitely a boundary when it comes to my daughter. I think the sexual powers we possess are interesting and I have done a lot of art related to that. But for her, it is too early to go there. I absolutely shelter her from that. However, I don’t worry what anyone else thinks and I am never afraid to put something out there that is on my mind.
KA: As a fellow working mother, how do you overcome the feeling of guilt, when it relates to not always being available for your daughter.
LS: I try to make up for it (laugh). I mean, once I am done with a show, I will try to do something special with my daughter. I actually try to be as guilt free as possible. So I always try to break off for an hour or so from my work to spend that quality time with her or be at a school thing for her. I will always try to carve out time, which tends to be significant for her. We are also very much a family at home. Once we all come back from work, we are together. I often take baths with her and we always eat dinner together. That is really key. I think it is some of these basic things we all strive towards that helps keep us connected.
KA: How would you define your style?
LS: AAAAHH, always in search for better (laugh).
KA: You have great style!
LS: When I find something I like I am so happy.
KA: I love the sweater you are wearing.
LS: Thanks, it is by Humanoid, Dutch line. I think my style is constantly changing, just like me as a women, moving teen to mother and to mature artist. It takes a lot of work finding the right style for who I am at this point. I have little time for shopping so it is not easy to keep staying on top of it.
KA: I often refer to our style as our suit of armor. It gets us ready for what is about to come. Do you have that piece that empowers you?
LS: Dresses for me. I feel really good in a great dress, but now the jumpsuit is a new winner.
KA: If you had a super power, what would it be?
LS: I would like to fly (laugh). I could get everywhere really fast and I wouldn’t get so many speeding tickets.
KA: Favorite Travel Destination?
LS: I have so many. Japan is great. Maybe because we lived there we have a different relationship to that country. It was such an important year and so maybe when I look back it just reflects my memories. I can always go there. It is such a great place.
KA: What is your favorite drink?
LS: Cocktail! (laugh) Gin and tonic is always good.
KA: What song inspires you?
LS: Every Bowie song. I have a lot of Bowie titles in my work. I am not the 25 year old artist anymore. So to see Bowie age as an artist, I can totally relate to that. Every stage you go though you have a different sensibility. I love his journey as an artist, from the Ziggy Pop days to his last album as a dying man, but still being Bowie and true to himself the whole time.
Beginning March 13, 2016, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel will present ‘Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016’. Sculpture made by women in the post-World War II era, which contains a number of pieces by significant female artists. ‘Revolution in the Making’ concludes with a new generation of sculptors, including the powerful works of Lara Schnitger.
For more information
about Lara’s next show
please click here:
“Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016”