Laurelin Sitterly 03 IL
Based in East Providence, RI
Animal lover is a box I think most people would check when describing themselves. But which animals? Our world has a delicate balance, and the more comprehensive we are in our appreciation and conservation efforts, the more successful we will be in preserving this planet we call home. Whether depicting domestic or wild species on prints, stationery, or coloring sheets, I aim to connect people to my subjects in accessible and possibly interactive ways in order to educate, inspire and conserve.
What are some things that inspire you in your studio practice?
I have always been drawn to nature, and spent more than 10 years post-graduation in Humane and Environmental education, working alongside some amazing educators as well as with many incredible domestic and exotic animals. During that time I was fortunate enough to get hands-on with species ranging from cats and dogs to snakes, alligators, cockroaches and parrots, all while helping program participants to better understand them. I have stepped back from a more traditional education role now and am transitioning back to my art roots, sharing my passion for conservation through my artwork. I live with 2 dogs and a cat who often 'help' in the studio, and we have filled our home with over 100 different plants, many of which are carnivorous - a class of plant I find fascinating. My years of amazing experiences along with a creative space filled with creatures really fuel my work.
Does your current creative practice tie into your time spent at RISD? How so?
I can't say enough how amazing the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab is, or how easy it was to undervalue it as a student. Having said that, I still spent much of my time there - as a student who very narrowly chose art over zoology, it was an amazing haven and source of inspiration. In the years since graduating, it has only gotten better and I haven't yet found anything else like it. I now work with fellow Alumna Christina Rodriguez to run the Live Animal Study at the Nature Lab.
Is there a work/body of work that you are particularly excited about sharing with us at RISD Craft this year?
Definitely! While I previously focused on domestic animals in my work, my new work focuses mainly on exotic and native wildlife. What I'm most excited about is my collection I've playfully dubbed 'Unlovelies', which features a number of unknown, under-appreciated or downright reviled creatures in an attempt to show them in a more accessible light. I have a particular fascination with invertebrates and reptiles which, along with other 'Unlovelies', often get passed over in favor of 'cuter' animals (Pandas, anyone?). However, these animals often have some of the most important roles in their ecosystems, and without them life would not be as we know it. I hope that my work inspires people to take another look, and helps promote the understanding and conservation of these and so many other species.
See more of Laurelin's work on her website.