Lauren Monroe is a self-taught painter who started painting while getting his English Lit degree at the University of Montana. He works in a traditional Blackfoot primary pallet and uses recognizable symbols like the lifeline and the morning star, but his blank-faced portraits act as both “stand-ins for himself, and free-floating identities. It’s up to the viewer to complete the story.” His paintings of animals are surreal, “seen just as you are waking up, in between reality and a dream.” Monroe’s Hunter is silhouetted by ravens, intelligent loners, helping the central figure in his search. “The search is important,” says Monroe, “because when you have everything, you die.”
“I’m retelling the same story 1000 times over, in different ways. It is a story about isolation, about recognizing oneself.”
Monroe is about to begin shooting on his Blackfoot language film Kills Last, the story of four warriors in a post-apocalyptic future searching for a kidnapped woman.
As a Blackfeet Artist, Lauren Monroe Jr. focuses on creating relevant and culturally accurate art using acrylic and mixed media. Most pieces are a culmination of a strong Blackfeet motif and imagery, with the artists own style. Imaginative and surreal, the artwork of Lauren is often unparalleled in style and color.
Lauren Monroe Jr. is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northwestern Montana. Art and self-expression have always been important in his life. His grandfather, Gordon Monroe, is a very talented sculptor who encouraged him at a young age to articulate his self through art. As a self-taught visual artist, he finds himself painting images from his experience of living on the reservation and continues to find inspiration from his many friends and family. Currently, Lauren is finishing a BA in English Literature from the University of Montana-Missoula and also working on setting up his own silk-screen T-shirt business on the Blackfeet Reservation.
Art was never Lauren’s first choice, it was always something he enjoyed doing after work or lulls in school, whether making sculptures out of driftwood or tinkering with mechanical parts, he always had an acute fascination with different projects and mediums. After he graduates from the University of Montana-Missoula, he plans on continuing his education and perhaps will become an Art teacher back on the Blackfeet Reservation.
Lauren feels his art will continually change and redefine itself to reflect the changes in the life of the artist. Also, the medium will often change from painting to sculpting, to metal work, to anything that interests him as an artist. Often the summers are spent hiking and searching for strange or interesting pieces of wood or items, while the winters are spent painting and tinkering with various projects.
Often Laurens’ work revolves around the individual with voyages into the surreal. With strong, bold colors often representing the traditional lifestyle he grew up with, while the individuals in the pieces are often left without facial characteristics, which Lauren believes the viewer should place themselves in. Currently, Lauren is working on larger canvases in which he believes lends support to his style of painting.
Lauren’s greatest inspiration comes from his home, the Blackfeet Reservation, where it’s bordered on the west by the beautiful Rocky Mountains and on the east by the rolling plains. His large family and artistic circle of friends always encourages him to continue his interest and passion for making things.
Currently Lauren is in the process of renovating a building in which he can utilize as an artists studio. In which he eventually would like to offer workspace or opportunity to develop other artists ambitions or get students interested in creating art.
Follow Lauren's Work @l_monroejr