Last week, we had the incredible opportunity to head up to Evergreen for a day of art with Robyn Thayer of Studio Lila! We sat down and played with paint, collaged in her art "womb" room, lost track of time, and ate cucumbers and cherries for lunch. We also toured her amazing studio. The studio is actually a series of sweet little rooms, all filled with her goosebump-inducing art. Read on to hear about Studio Lila, how it came to be, and take a gander at her soulful art. And we are so lucky that we'll be graced with her presence and her art at the Horseshoe!
HS (Horseshoe Market): What is Studio Lila and how did it come to be?
SL (Studio Lila): One day, in a yoga class I heard the sanskrit word: Lila. My heart lit up. I knew on that day I would someday name something: Lila. Lila refers to the experience of delight, just like a child playing peek-a-boo, believing you are really gone when they see you disappear behind your hand and then squealing in delight as they see your eyes again. I did not know at the time of hearing “Lila” that my “something” was ART. (Okay, I had an inkling) That is the way of sanskrit and the sacred teachings, a bell chimes and something is awoken in us. Through time and commitment I, little by slowly, woke up to my inner artist and the importance of cultivating my innate abilities.
HS: For you, what does it mean to be an artist?
SL: I am utterly grateful to express in color and shape. I believe art has a way of speaking straight into the hearts of the beholders, opening doors and windows of the soul, in ways we never could have imagined. The conversations I share while creating each piece is a blessing to my life and it is an honor to witness this adding value to the world.
HS: Can you tell us about your creative process?
SL: My work comes forth in the Womb of Sparkles (you may come visit me at Open Door Studios Tour on September 18th-19th). I carry an imaginary butterfly net, which gets swooped through my days capturing moments and memories and tears and laughter. I am an avid journal-er with plenty of doodles. My artwork is a distillation of my life, from thoughts and feelings to canvas or paper, with words and color. I play with Truth and Wonder (peek-a-boo), chewing away at my experiences until I start to see colors and shapes (usually upon waking) and then I know it is time to get to the womb. When I go “in” I have to remember to bring food and water as the process sweeps me into another realm (my heaven!). As I stated earlier, for me painting is much like a conversation. Mostly I listen (and listen and listen) to the promptings of my heart. It is a slow process, with many layers and long periods of contemplation. My True Nature is revealed to me with the mixing of colors (more peek-a-boo). I laugh and cry and shudder and contend with hours of goosebumps all in recognition of what is. The best part is I learn that fun is not always easy or immediate, rather it is what comes from the deep satisfaction of being with what is, practicing radical acceptance and continuing, knowing my work is to fearlessly express my authenticity and the delight is in remembering who I really am (Lila). The process is seriously playful, vibrantly real, and wonderously delectable!
Inside Studio Lila
HS: What are the challenges and rewards of being a working artist?
SL: I find it challenging to continuously show up for myself, to really look at what is. For, if I cannot see what is REALLY going on I have no fuel for my paintings and some days require a tremendous amount of showing up. And, when I don’t, can I be compassionate with myself? Can I give myself the space and time needed for the art piece at hand, which might take months and months and the building of two new gardens and six weeks of coaching, delving into self worth and pleasure. Can I be that kind and generous with myself? And the reward, as I cultivate these virtues within me I am able to offer it fearlessly through painting and interactions (perhaps shyly and awkwardly at first) with the world.
HS: What have been your greatest moments/accomplishments with Studio Lila? What are your hopes for the future?
SL: Gosh, there are so many! A friend said, “there are really no big deals.” I have been chewing on that lately and I am learning that life is the big deal. Each step, tiny or backward or leaping as it maybe, is to be celebrated and it is up to me to recognize this goodness and experience the Light Heartedness that bubbles up. The world needs our talent AND our celebration.
Studio Lila has been featured a handful of times in several publications, including the cover of Somerset Studio last summer! The growth and popularity of my greeting card line is continuing at a rapid pace, which totally inspires and excites me. Find a store near you!
For the future, I plan to expand my product line and its reach across the globe. I look forward to showing my fine art in more galleries and, in some format, leading conversations with other artists about the process of art making; the value it adds to the world by individuals willing to look inside and draw from their inner strength and offer their unique talent.
HS: Any exciting happenings/events on your plate in the coming months or year?
HS: What are your must have tools/resources as an artist?
SL: Space and time! I need time to wander and a sizable space to make and contain my mess. Art dates with other artists are a MUST. Workshops to introduce fresh ideas and stretch my comfort zone. I love Meininger's to excite me and experiment with new products and Dick Blick to order products directly. Of all my tools, I adore my traditional fountain pen with black india ink.
HS: What advice would you give you someone who wants to quit their day job and become a full time artist?
SL: Find an artist you love and follow them. Start showing your work to friends, then at shows, a gallery and online. As your sales increase with the demand for your work, ween yourself from your day job. Check out this book, Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd. Realize there are a lot of aspects of being a full time artist that are similar to having a day job. It is the change in perspective from working for someone else to fulfilling my life purpose: creating beauty and building community that drives the days at the computers, financials, operations and negotiations.
Thanks so much, Robyn! We are so excited Studio Lila will be part of the Horseshoe. Don't forget to peruse her rich and lovely website, www.studiolila.com!