FONTAINE AUSTIN ARTIST’S STUDIO TOUR WITH LAURIE FRICK
Dana-Friis-Hanson, Director of the Austin Museum of Art, introduced me to the artist, Laurie Frick at the opening of the Romere Bearden exhibition at AMOA. I was immediately taken with her tall and stately presence, her ready smile and vivacious personality. Then, in conversation, we reviewed the Post WWII German art scene and for those that know me, that is one of my favorite topics. Needless to say, my evening started off on the right foot. But before I moved on to visit the show, I made a date with her to see her studio.
Claudia and I arrived at Laurie’s AIA award winning home and were stunned with its oblique lines, xeriscaped front yard and ultramodern loftiness and compactness. We toured the house and along the way, she introduced the collection, each work with a personal story. In so doing, we learned that Laurie is not only an installation artist, but she also sews and cooks and makes ceramics and collages.
The studio is a separate, but close, structure almost equal in size to the house. It’s a perfect artist’s space, air conditioned, responsive, bouncing, wood flooring for long days on your feet, tall wall space for her works and superb window lighting circumventing the tops of the walls just under the ceiling. We were surprised to see how neat and clean it was, but she explained she was packing for her trip to an artist residency.. Nevertheless, there was still plenty going on in her studio.
Laurie was born in LA, achieved her MBA at USC and attended the Executive Program at Harvard Business School and London Business School. She worked for H-P in Worldwide Marketing, Compaq Corp she was VP and GM in the New Consumer Products Division and for Vignette Corp, she was Senior VP for Enterprise Internet Software. She lastly co-founded a start-up in the mobile telecom industry called Solomio and not surprisingly, she is an on-going member of Mensa. When operating businesses lost its charm for her, she switched to art. In 2007 she got her MFA from NY Studio School and in 2010 at NYU-ITP summer program for Arts and Technology.
Laurie’s mother was an artist who loved drawing and who also was a Rosie the Riveter who worked for Lockheed during WWII. But it was Laurie’s oldest sister who influenced her the most. She took Laurie to her art school classes; in addition, the family’s recreation was to visit museums, all museums, from Natural History to Art. Another sister became a graphic designer and opened her own ad agency.
So why did this brilliant entrepreneur and accomplished women chuck it all to become an artist? It has to do with the mind. She found a hook and could not let go, namely she is captivated by what she is learning about how the mind forms patterns; she knows there is more and she is going to discover the mystery. In fact, she submitted a proposal to the Neuro Science Lab in Charlotte, N.C. and was accepted, along with eight other, like minded scientific-artists ( or is it artistic-scientists), to join their program this year, 2010.
There is more to the story. Our gal was visiting the City Council Hall of Siena, Italy. On the wall was a 9′ by 45’ mural called Good Government. On the opposite side, was a mural called, War. While studying these murals, Laurie got a sense of time passing and multiple perspectives. There’s rhythm too. It was like viewing many vignettes that were sewn together. Almost like retelling a dream that you were reliving.
Luckily for us, Laurie showed us a reproduction of these murals, to explain what she saw. We were three heads bent over studying where in one vignette the light and shadows differed from the next vignette. It all made sense. Laurie stated, “for a 14th Century painting to have such depth was astounding.” Laurie was practically giddy about the discovery.
She then went on to discuss her work with discovering dream patterns using her own recordings of her sleep. The combination now makes her work. Laurie saw a pattern that was knitted together and when you look at her work, you’ll see the same.