We were lucky enough to discover Kris Lamorena through the wonderful Artist Support Pledge project. Liezel bought a work by Kris; seconds after it had arrived, Kitty received several excited messages and many photos showing the beauty of the artwork. From that moment, we were obsessed!
Born in the Philippines, Kris moved to the UK when she was a teenager. She studied art, subsequently earning a degree in furniture and product design. For over a decade she worked as a visual merchandiser, designing window displays and installations. All the time, her first love - making art - was calling her. She decided about ten years ago to listen to her heart and become a full-time artist. Since then, she has slowly and surely been building up her art practice, and exhibiting her work.
Kris is now working with us on the Kind Commissions, and we're incredibly excited to be able to bring her unique style and distinctive vibe to our Subject Matter community. Last month, Kitty was able to steal 15 minutes of her time to ask three bitesize but pertinent questions. We hope you enjoy reading her answers!
Two of Kris' intriguing mini portraits - This is How We Step on the Moon and Only the Good Notes
Kitty: It sounds as though there was a moment when you decided to return to your art practice after several years working in visual merchandising. How did it feel for you, to walk back into a studio after so long away?
Kris: Going back to drawing and painting after a long period away was a cathartic process. It was a difficult pivotal point in my life and it helped me find my way forward. It slowed time down & gave me the head space to think about art again.
Our choice for our autumn curation - Man Sleeping 1
Kitty: Please tell us a little bit about your process with your portraits, especially where you get your inspiration from.
Kris: I am fascinated by the complexities of humanity. With this I have been exploring the relationship between introspection and expression.
The portraits are about the calm tension in between. Usually composed of a lone figure in a state of pause, in a vague background that conjures memories of old places.
The portraits are of no one in particular most of the time. Keeping it ambiguous, sometime androgynous. I usually have a starting point for a figure, sometimes from old photographs or films; recently by filmmakers like Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wong Kar Wai or Saam Farahmand.
Hints of clothing reference creep into the work sometimes. I’m inspired by traditional Filipino textiles and dresses with puff sleeves. And I love anything by Simone Rocha. These are some components that conjure meanings I have an affinity with and somehow come together on my paintings.
Works in progress in Kris' studio.
Kitty: What's next for you?
What’s next is more oil painting. I love the feel of oil paint. It just takes so long to dry! 😅
Also bigger paintings - although I will always do little ones.