On the cover of the latest album from Sofiella Watt and the Huckleberry Bandits there’s a banjo-playing giraffe in a rocking chair smiling next to a guitarist hipster fox and surrounded by a trio of percussive raccoons—all created by Kootenay artist Lauren Herraman.
“I like to quietly observe life’s little quirks and charms right down to the finest of detail. Much of my inspiration comes from animals, people, nature and particularly children’s books,” Herraman writes in the artist statement currently on display as part of ArtWalk at Blackbird Physiotherapy.
“I am quite a cheeky person; I find the greatest delight is to witness the giggles and grins that come when I share my work with others.”
And she’s been doing plenty of sharing lately.
Since moving to Nelson last January, the 33-year-old has been throwing herself into her creative pursuits, working in a variety of mediums.
When she met the Star for an interview, she was wearing a rabbit brooch of her own design.
“It’s affordable art,” she said. “I figure not everybody can afford an $800 painting but they can afford maybe 40, 80 bucks to have something they’re going to see all the time.”
That’s something she started doing while selling her work in Belgrave, Australia, but it’s something she wants to take to the next level now that she’s settling in Canada. She said she loves the Kootenays and thrives off the creative energy.
And working with Watt—one of her best friends from home in Australia—is something she loves to do. Earlier this year she starred as the titular character in their music video “Junkyard Bettie”.
“They’re my best buddies here so we support each other,” she said.
And creative collaboration is something she’s passionate about.
“I came to Nelson because I wanted to settle in and pursue my artistic career here,” she said. “My big dream is to publish my first children’s book.”
The book—which she calls Amalgamated Alliterative Collective Nouns—consists of a series of poems with illustrations.
“My vision is whole pages full of colour, with my little poems on the page. Every page is a different poem with a different character.”
Herraman creates hybrid animals, then has fun with linguistics.
“It has to work with A) the alliteration and B) the collective noun, so one animal has to be a collective noun like wisdom of owls. Then you mix owls and wolves and you end up with a wisdom of wowls.”
“That’s how my crazy brain works.”
Herraman has 11 pieces in the series, which was recently featured at Oso Negro. She also makes jewelry, art cards and sculptures—many of them animal-themed.
Last year she participated in Blue Night and coordinated an exhibition with several local artists called the Infinite Animal Parade that was on display at the Dancing Bear Inn for three months.
“Plus I worked with Nate from the local Kootenay Life clothing to create designs for T-shirts and hats. Busy times!”
But that’s the way she likes it.
“I want to be living and breathing art, basically,” she said.
For more information on Herraman’s work visit Laurellbush on Facebook.