We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Oliveri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have always been creative in some way ever since I was a little girl. I enjoyed bringing my vision into this realm through drawing, painting and other medias available to me. During my school years, Art was always my favorite class. I had taken solely all art classes as my electives from 6-12th grade. There were many times during highschool I would try to work as long as I could into the passing period to keep my inspiration flowing. Only an hour to work on projects per day never felt like enough for me. It was torture to go from Art to Geometry. I knew at a young age I wanted to pursue my artwork more seriously into my adult years. I took a few years off from creating after highschool. I was caught up in the mindset of needing to work a corporate job to support myself and my artwork was just a passion of mine, a hobby I did in my spare time. I was still figuring myself out then and I didn’t have proper time to apply myself to my art. At the age of 22, I had become very close with a local jam band and started showing my creations off during their shows and on their merch table. They had shows every weekend, sometimes 2 shows in a weekend. It helped built my confidence seeing such a positive response to my artwork and that gave me inspiration to take it another step further.
In April 2019, I demoted myself from my full time job to dedicate more time into pursuing my artwork as a career.
The very first weekend off with my new schedule, I worked my first Music and Arts Festival vending my pendants and my paintings solo. I did not know then, but that was a huge turning point for myself. I got a taste of what I could be doing if I applied myself to my craft. My dream was tangible.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It’s taken me a few years to get to where I am at now with my career. Alot of social sacrifices as well as the comfort of financial stability. I primarily paint with Acrylic as I love how quickly it dries. I taught myself how to woodburn and began doing it at a very small scale. My mother inspired me to start turning my micro burns into wearable art. My pendants became a major part of my artist identity in the beginning. People recognized my pendants on others. It was so surreal getting messages from friends and strangers telling me they had met someone wearing my pendants at a concert or a festival and how they bonded over a shared love and appreciation for my craft. The pandemic hit right as I was starting to pick up consistent gigs on my own. The February before the shut down, I had worked 8 events that month and was booking into May. My career was taking off but unfortunately had to come to a pause due to all social gatherings of any kind being canceled. Though it was a struggle to shift my energy to being more of a “Home Body”, it gave me much need time to really refine my craft and teach myself new things. I painted and woodburned every day. I also taught myself to preserve fungi and plants and started to incorporate them into my pendants. My Forest Floor Pendants are my hearts work. So much love is put into every step of my process and I adore every single one I craft. I respectfully forage my fungi and plant matter on nature walks or from my own backyard. I only take what I will need and always leave plenty of flowers for the bees and butterflies. I source the butterflies I do not find on my own ethically through breeders. They live their full happy life before they pass and are given a second life as artwork.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love living near Chicago, never a dull moment while in the city! We are so spoiled out here with all the amazing food, no where else compares! Chicago is such a diverse city, there is something for everyone here. One of my favorite places to go is Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen. It’s an entirely vegan authentic Asian restaurant and you’ll want to order everything, it’s all so good! Another place that is a must while out in Chicago, Quesadilla La Reina Del Sur. Entirely vegan/vegetarian authentic Mexican restaurant in Wicker Park. Everything they make in house! Their protein, their cheese(vegan cheese) is all top tier. A meat eater introduced me to this place so you know their food is spectacular! Most of my painting gigs are underground electronic music events which are such a blast.! The underground scene is where it’s at in my opinion, like minded people listening to good music makes the night one to remember. SwampWoofer Productions and Notion Presents are the companies that put on most of the major underground shows in and around the city of Chicago. Follow them on Instagram to check out what events will be coming up. You may even see me painting in action!
If nature and plants are more your pace, Garfield Park Conservatory is one of my favorite places to visit. Similar to a botanical gardens, their indoor plant rooms are breathtaking! A popular spot for photographers and artists who are doing any plant studies. There are many indoor rooms to explore during the winter months and in the summer they have their outdoor gardens set up to walk through.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents have been my major supporters over the years. Encouragement and support is so important to an Artist’s career and confidence to pursue it. Many people in this world will tell you “Your art is never going to make it” …. “You’ll be a starving artist” ….. “Thats just a hobby of yours” but my parents have always been encouraging, “You cannot teach visionary arts. You can teach composition and techniques but you cannot teach creative vison” is what they tell me.
I’d also like to acknowledge Alabaster, they are a local jam band I befriended years ago. They gave me so much freedom to set up my artwork at their shows which allowed me to step into my own.
I also need to thank my art collective, Genesis Art Collective. The head of our collective, Hayden O’Mahoney, recognized my talent when we met in August 2021 and saw my motivation to be an Artist full time. He really helped put me on as a live painter and performer for many events. I am very happy to represent my art collective while out on gigs.