Lauren Spencer King

“How we do one thing is how we do anything,” says LA artist Lauren Spencer King; it’s a true mantra for her diverse body of work as a fine artist, meditation and workshop teacher. Much of Lauren’s work centers around the natural world — observations on environment, the night sky, and the cyclical patterns of our surroundings — and how personal experience and the artistic process can come together. Moreso, her perspectives on mindfulness and balance are a reminder: keep your eyes open, pay attention, explore the unexplainable. We visited her at home in East LA to learn more.


We’re intrigued by both the versatility of your work and how it all seems to fit together so seamlessly. Does your work teaching, meditation, or counseling play a part in your creative process?

Being an artist is such a solitary existence. If anything the other work I do is an opportunity to connect with and help other people face to face. In some ways the work I do both in and out of the studio is about creating a space for something to be experienced, explored and (re)examined. And not just any something; I’m drawn to the unexplainable, to looking harder at things, and asking questions about what we think we know or see. Both seem to have a theme of exploring the heavier questions of life. Except in my art I never truly want to discover the answers — but in life I really seek to see the truth clearly. I think in everything I do I am striving for deeper understanding.
"Except in my art I never truly want to discover the answers — but in life I really seek to see the truth clearly. I think in everything I do I am striving for deeper understanding."

Does art become more of a release from or is it inspired by your other roles?

I see them all as one. I don’t think there is much separation in all the things we do. How we do one thing is how we do anything. 

The natural world plays a leading role in everything you do and create: Can you share more about how your moon cycle writings?In studying moon cycles, and meditation in general, what themes or concepts have been of recent significance?

Twice a month I just sit down and write about what I feel is going on; weaving together where I am, what I’m learning, questions I have, themes of conversations I have had with others, and the little astrological information I have gleaned over the years. It’s hard to take ownership over the writing, it sort of just comes through me. I am always amazed to get emails from people saying how right on it was for them, as each time I feel I am just talking about myself. Further proof that the more personal you make something, the more universal it becomes. I always say, I’m just reporting the weather.

Can you share any trusted resources for mindfulness/meditation that have been helpful for you, or that you find yourself returning to again and again?

I think we are often seeking outside of ourselves the wisdom that is already within. We know a lot more than we think we do, or are willing to say. All that being said I do love listening to other people’s stories. I’m really into the thoughtful interviews Krista Tippett does for her radio show On Being.
"I think we are often seeking outside of ourselves the wisdom that is already within. We know a lot more than we think we do, or are willing to say."



Your days are pretty varied: what constants remain?

Chinese herbs, some sort of movement, solo time, work, sun, rest, hummingbirds, maybe a “bad” movie, reading before bed.

What’s the best story you’ve heard this month?

Ancient accounts and stories of the influence of the sexes on vegetation. The customs and practices of cultures and civilizations that believed in the correlation between sex and the fruitfulness of their crops. 

What objects have been most significant to you lately?

A small box made out of pink calcite, containing a piece of malachite from France and a piece of meteorite. From a friend, found at a flea market in Lot, France. When I opened the gift it felt like a possession of mine was being returned to me.
What was the best recent conversation you’ve had?

I recently talked to a friend about a dance & visual arts center/school that I want to start/build in Mt. Washington.

Please describe your last month in a word.



What reliably makes you feel happy?

Being in the sun and sea. Making art with kids. A good idea.


Lauren wears HERA FLIGHT SUIT 

What reliably stresses you out?

Expectations and loud noise.

What do you make for a dinner party? Can you share the menu?

A pre-summer BBQ with a group of friends: some bison burgers on the grill, grilled corn on the cob, a big salad, a fresh ginger-lime sparkly drink, and my cherry macaroon tart.


What do you make for dinner alone? Can you share a recipe?

My staple meal of basmati rice, Japanese sweet potatoes and kale sautéed in Ayurvedic spices, with cultured vegetables and some avocado, topped with lots of Italian parsley. 
Do you have a mentor?
I think Sharon Lockhart is great, particularly the work she did with Noe Eshkol and the workshops she’s been creating in Poland with orphaned teenage girls. I really admire her authenticity, integrity, and her compassion  and generosity as an artist.  And my mum, I learned so much from her. She was a silversmith and she taught me a lot about what it is to be an incredible mother and at the same time a hard working artist. She really valued her creativity and understood how to use and trust it. And she was always learning new skills; teaching herself anything from how to fire metal clay, to how to tile a bathroom. Growing up in that environment made a huge impact on me. Because of that I never feel the limits of my creativity or ability. I always think, “Oh, ya… I can do that.” Even if I have never done it before I trust that I will figure it out, or make it up as I go.  

How do you remember to be intentional?
I think it’s a mixture of my personality — being someone who naturally wants to discover the deeper meaning and truth of things. And being an artist — knowing that every choice I make creates meaning beyond the creation itself. I think it’s important to understand that the way we do everything has meaning. It’s a reflection of who we are and it has an effect on those around us. When you study energy and start to understand how it works things become really interesting. There is something about intention that is like a form of magic. 

"There is something about intention that is like a form of magic."


Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
Something you’ve been wanting to do/make but for whatever reason haven’t yet been able to do. A sculpture made out of pearls. A book about what it was like to sell our family home and go through my mother’s things after she died. Mixed with fictional stories about some of the incredible antiques that are in our family archive. I am really interested in the stories we inherit and the ones we create. I am dreaming up some costumes for a photo collaboration about dance and architecture with my favorite creative collaboration partner Claire Cottrell. 

A great artist gets inspiration from anywhere — what are some of the most unusual sources of inspiration for you?
I get a lot of good ideas at inconvenient times: during yoga, in the shower, and while driving. I noticed I have snapped a lot of recent photos of how things lean against something else. Sometimes the unintentional is good inspiration for me, as I am an over thinker / over planner / over worker. This also happens in the studio. I put things aside to get them out of the way and then weeks later look in the corner and go, “I think that’s a piece!” Sometimes things just make themselves. I just have to recognize them. 

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve recently discovered?

The paintings of Mernet Larsen. My jade face roller. A birthday party invitation I made when I was 9, written with my first quill pen in my own secret hieroglyphic/code language. 

What are you serious about?
Guys in horn rimmed glasses. 


What things will you never take seriously?
Fast trends — right now it’s Birkenstocks...I just can’t.  


Photography by YE RIN MOK  | Words by LEIGH PATTERSON