Laura Helen Sweeney
About the Artist:
Laura Helen Sweeney is a visual artist based in Long Island, NY. She graduated from Manhattanville College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree concentrating in painting and drawing. She studied in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University during her senior year where she developed her final thesis; portrait paintings of Japanese musicians. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at Long Island University where she studies figure drawing, painting, and printmaking. She aspires to be a professional illustrator and wishes to teach at the college level. Her work has been shown in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Long Island, Japan, and South Korea.
I refer to my art work as contemporary illustration. This new art movement reflects current trends in popular culture through visual representation. I specialize in creating portraits of individuals I am inspired by whether they be musicians, actors, comedians or characters from books, television, movies, comics, or video games. I find the impact that figures in pop culture can have on society to be fascinating. In some circumstances, the people I choose to illustrate have become more than themselves but a source of inspiration. I seek to blur the lines between illustration and fine arts, going beyond capturing the likeness to call into question what motivates us to honor pop culture icons. I use a variety of mediums like oil, watercolor, and acrylic paints along with ink and color pencil and most recently screen-printing. Influenced by Japanese anime and manga and American comics, I create detailed and stylized portraits, using my background in figure drawing to naturalize the subjects. Contemporary art and illustration is a reflection of contemporary society and I strive to elevate fan art to fine art by exploring different mediums to make striking portraits, manipulating design elements and playing with color interactions. There is something magical about being able to capture someone’s likeness. Trying to find all the colors in a face is like a puzzle. The interplay of cool and warm tones is completely unique each time and seeking those subtle nuances continues to captivate me.