Featured Alumni Artist: Lauren Strailey

By Lily Strailey

1.     How did your work evolve after high school?
I think my work improved exponentially. The pressure of wanting to do well not only for myself but also to contend with my fellow talented peers pushed me to grow as an artist. I still follow similar motifs I was interested in during high school, but they have overall become more developed and interesting. I never really considered myself good at drawing still lives or even realism until last year when I realized those are some of my strong suits. I’m also trying a lot of new things, like sculpture (hate it haha), printmaking, and hopefully some fibers!

2.     What messages do you hope are conveyed through your art?
I feel like most of the time I create pieces that appeal to myself and don’t hold much ulterior meaning. However, lately, I’ve realized that a lot of my pieces are seen as kinda “creepy” and have weird, borderline horror elements without being over the top or cliché. My art seems to follow a theme of “life and death,” combining both elements in one piece to show how the two coexist. I like bright colors and integrating details and imagery that don’t seem to go together. I hope to show people that not all creepy art has to be the stereotypical hellscape kind of thing with oozing blood, guts, and decapitated limbs.

3.     Favorite piece you have ever made and why.
Last year I made a large pastel piece with octopus tentacles, a tea set, eyeballs, and sushi. It is my favorite because it was the most time consuming and I also created this whole “still life” sort of piece entirely out of my mind. In high school, I never would have dreamed, of ever being able to create a work like this. I also think that it just looks the coolest haha and includes all my favorite elements to draw.

4.     Why do you think art is so important in high school? After high school?
Art is the only thing that stands out to me that I’m good at, and is an escape from regular academic classes. Engaging in creative activities works the part of your brain that you wouldn’t usually get to use in say, in Math or English class. In middle school art classes weren’t as serious as they were in high school which allows for people who are interested in art to develop their skills. Art in college is great because there’s even more mediums/facilities available! The art department at Harriton is seriously no joke, and I was so lucky to have been able to be in those classes and grow as an artist. Art is all around us and is a widely beloved (for lack of a better word) thing, and we need more artists in the world to create them! Don’t be afraid of pursuing an art career, because it’s an extraordinarily diverse and evolving field.

5.     Favorite media to work in and why.
Watercolor/ acrylic paints! I love the intense saturation you can get with these mediums as well as the effects they yield, specifically watercolor. The subtle blending and the way it builds is so beautiful and is a pretty forgiving medium too if you make a mistake. I love the plastic quality acrylic paint has when it dries, and also how it dries super fast which allows you to use dry brush techniques and also build value in a painterly way using strokes. It’s also super to water down like watercolors and use as a less spreadable wash that can create cool effects. I love experimenting with these two mediums and use them the most. I also love India ink when combined with watercolors to create outlines/large areas of a more intense black.

6.     If you could have one wish granted, what would it be and why?
My current goal for the future is to open a café, NOT like Starbucks but one that’s more upscale? Like one with a unique concept (still under works because everyone clowned my underwater theme) and tasty food/beverages. I love food and the whole idea of a non-rushed dining environment where you can relax in style. In Japan and Korea cafés are a huge deal and usually, have cool spaces, and unique concepts (ex. owl and meerkat cafés, Alice in Wonderland themed), and the food looks POPPIN (the fluffy cheesecake/pancakes specifically). Here we don’t have many places like that. My friends and I love loitering whenever we go out, and we need better locations than the subpar upstairs café in the center city Barnes and Noble hahaha! So my wish would be that I can accomplish this. 


1.     Book? Lord of the flies

2.     Movie? SPIRITED AWAY!!!!!!!!

3.     Food? CHEESECAKE! Also loving all this seasonal pumpkin flavored stuff rn

4.     Pizza Topping? White pizza ladies! Love Pietro’s white pizza w/ prosciutto and spinach

5.     Artist? (can also be music or whatever u want!) music: mgmt/exo
Artist: Me (haha jk)  Lauren YS (this isn’t me)
Musician AND artist: grimes

6.     Harriton memory?
I have a lot haha: Eating ice cream three times a day, papas bakeria, anime club was POPPIN, the great Alaskan earthquake of 1964, basically lunch and learn as a whole what a fantastic concept!