Meet Lauren Freestone, a contemporary Indigenous artist. Art forged a beautiful bond between Lauren and her father, who taught her to paint, just as his father had done before him. Growing up in Scotts Head, the beautiful coastal landscape surrounded by bush was the perfect inspiration for her art. Her works tell the stories of her ancestors and the Wiradjuri & Gumbaynggirr country, stories she believes need to be passed down for generations.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and the path that led to your current artistic endeavours?
I grew up in Scotts Head in Gumbaynggirr Country which is located on the mid-north coast of NSW. Scotts is a tiny little coastal village bordered by the beach and the bush. The beach was our playground; if we weren’t there, we were down by the river. I think the population would have been about 1000 people at the time, so everyone knew everyone. I was always creative and grew up watching my Dad paint. My Pop also painted and sold Yidakis (Didgeridoos) at the markets, so I was always surrounded by art. My Mum and Dad divorced when I was 6, and although my Dad and I always had a relationship, our connection really came later in life when we bonded over art. It’s very special to me for that reason, it brought us together.
Your art is reminiscent of the Australian landscape, where do you find inspiration?
A lot of my earlier work is inspired by the coastal beauty of Gumbaynggirr Country and the Ocean. My later work however, has really centred around our Wiradjuri history, which is where my family are from. My hillscapes are a celebration of the landscape where my Ancestors lived in the Mudgee/ Rylstone area; they are also a reflection of an inner childhood sense of belonging and pride. I am always inspired when I visit both of these places I call home.
What does art mean to you and your Indigenous culture?
For me, my art is how I connect with my family and Ancestors. It’s a way of teaching my daughter about our family history and country, and something she can have and pass down like my Dad has done for me, and his Dad has done for him. I think knowing who you are and where you come from is so important; our history and origin is something to be celebrated. Aboriginal art has always been about storytelling, I am trying to tell mine and my family's story through my work.
When you’re not creating art, where would we find you?
Most likely with my family at the beach or taking my daughter to the park. I try to get home to see my parents as much as I can too.
Who is your favourite Indigenous artist and why?
There are too many to name! I adore the Ken Sisters Collaborative, their work is just breathtaking! The King sisters are brilliant too. Oh, and my Dad, of course!
Can you describe your creative process?
It varies, I usually have an idea in mind so it generally starts from there but what ends up on the canvas is not always what I envisioned. I sort of procrastinate when this happens and usually start another painting until I adjust my view of the painting. I used to paint over things and start again in frustration, but I would often regret it instantly. I am always working on a few things at a time now so I can move between paintings instead of giving up. Imperfection is beautiful and more real.
What drew you to Auguste The Label?
I feel comfortable in loose fitting clothes. I love the lightweight feel and softness of the fabrics. I am all about comfort and Auguste is just really easy to wear.
What is a wardrobe staple you can’t go a week without wearing?
To be honest, I live in trackies at home painting. If I am going out, I think definitely a maxi dress or a skirt. They are just so easy and look so nice on everyone. Dress them up or down, perfect staple piece.