We are so excited to be kicking off a new wave of our Joymakers series today with artist Lauren Salgado! Lauren’s vibrant watercolors and whimsical embroideries make me smile every time they pop up in my Instagram feed, and it turns out, she’s as delightful as the art she makes. Read on to find out who she follows on on Instagram, how she found her unique aesthetic, and hear her go-to happy song.
Color is clearly a really important part of your work. Have you always loved bright color?
Oh totally, I was drawing rainbows 24/7 and required the 24-pack of colored pencils every school year.
I have always loved color, just haven’t always been brave enough to use it! There was a period of time in high school and my early college years where I only did patterns in black and white. If you scroll back far enough on Insta, they’re still posted!
How did you get started with embroidery? What is it about the medium that appeals to you?
I originally started it about 3 years ago, a friend taught me and I was hooked for a bit. I stopped and took a break mostly because I hadn’t found my own style for it yet, and was feeling uninspired. I didn’t want to just keep doing what everyone else was. Started it up again recently and it reminded me how much I loved to work with something so tactile and physical, I like that this work can have dimension and doesn’t require me to sit down and work at a table, I can take it anywhere!
How do you want people to feel when they see your work?
Happy. Inspired. Motivated to create. I want to fulfill someone’s sweet tooth with my work as the eye candy.
Do you notice any connection between your art and your happiness? Do you think working with color affects you on a deeper level?
Yeah I think there is! There’s something about creating something positive that channels that feeling back into you. If I’m not creating something, I’m honestly very anxious and restless. I need something to work on to keep myself determined and motivated. I’m 100% more content when I’ve got multiple things I’m working on. Currently, there’s always a embroidery hoop, always a painting, and always a Pantone post in the works.
You mentioned that you’ve always loved color but that you haven’t always felt confident working with it. What advice would you give to people who want to feel more confident with color?
Stick to only a few colors at a time, and start slow. Making a palette before you start a project is key! Sometimes I add one too many colors and it affects the whole piece altogether, and not really in a good way. Once you find a palette that works for you, modify it and change it, swap things around and just have fun with it.
It’s so hard to not care about mistakes or feeling like your work isn’t strong enough, I still struggle with it daily. JUST KEEP MAKING. If you don’t keep making, you’ll never improve, and feeling that improvement is so important to your happiness as a creative person.
What new things are you learning or experimenting with in your work right now?
Trying to care more about shape and color with my embroidery work, rather than focusing on the details and making it a perfect scene or image. I like what I’m doing right now quite a lot, by combining my patterns and watercolor work and transforming it into the embroidery form.
Also just picked up some gouache recently, and trying to relearn how to work with actual paint again, the trickiness of layering and color mixing is quite a challenge but I’m determined to build up my skills once again. I work so much on the computer all day for my agency job, so it’s awesome for me to work on something so analog once I get home.
Who are your muses? Who inspires you?
SO MANY PEOPLE. I’m always saving bits of inspiration for future reference, whether that be color or composition or purely because it brings me joy. The people I’m crushing on right now in my saved feed are:
…and so many more! Oops, is that too many?
Ed. note: No! We love it!
What song always makes you smile?
Oof this is a tough one, a lot of songs do, but one I’m currently digging is “YOU’RE THE ONE” by Kaytranada on his “99.9%” album. (Listen here!)
Where’s your happy place?
The Oregon coast has never let me down when it comes to calming me and feeling at ease. BUT, after visiting Denmark last year, I have a soft spot for Copenhagen now too.
What holiday brings you the most joy?
Definitely Christmas, there’s just something about being surrounded by the ones you love that makes you feel so comforted and happy.
Fill in the blank: Joy is…
Joy is someone telling you that they feel inspired by what you do.
All images courtesy of Lauren Salgado.