Raw, real, dark whilst enlightened, unapologetic and wild. These are words that spring to mind when visiting the Laura Jean Sargent solo exhibition "She Smells Like a Gun" at the Canaletto Gallery on 257 City Rd, London. After a 10 year hiatus of the art world she re-enters with a strong body of work containing self portraits taken over a year showcasing a range of emotions and strength. A must-see, so make sure you pay a visit before the 2nd July! I met with Laura on sunny Redchurch St and we talked about London, her exhibition and future plans. Thank you Laura Jean, I loved talking to you!
Where did you study?
I did a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Central Saint Martins, then a BA in Photography at Brighton University.
You spoke of a 10 year hiatus, what made you decide to come back and what did you do in the 10 years of absence from the art world?
The decision to return was far from concious; it was instinctive. I began using my camera as a tool to work through some personal challenges and when I was offered the chance to exhibit I began to think more formally about the results as a coherent body of work. I've done an awful lot with the 10 years, working creatively in various industries, from fashion and lifestyle, to farming and travel, but nothing scratches the itch quite like creating from the heart, on your own terms, pushing your own boundaries.
We are happy you are back with this strong, brave and honest work. What do you feel represents your work and where are you headed?
I think deep introspection is a theme throughout my work. I'm on a constant journey of self development and consciously processing from the inside out is my way of facing up to myself and finding my truth. It can be a very difficult and confusing process but in the end comes clarity. As for where I'm headed, my physical, emotional and spiritual evolution continues and therefore, so does my work's. So, we'll see what happens.
1 --- Laura wears Isabel Marant cords and Soeur shirt, shoes her own.
What shall we look out for in the near future?
I'm working on touring She Smells Like A Gun, so hopefully the series will find its way to other parts of the globe. Later this year, we are planning for it to be exhibited in Burgundy, France, where it will hang on the walls of Château de La Salle - the beautiful country house which provided the backdrop for the work.
What do you love most about living in London?
I love how global the city feels; there's a heady fusion of cultures that keep your eyes wide and your mind open.
And, where do you escape to?
For the past few years, Château de La Salle, where I've been working on "She Smells Like A Gun". There are many meadows to lie in and forests to wander through. I can find peace there.
Favourite designer in Aime
Favourite local lunch spot
Depending on where the day takes me, the Pride Kitchen At TIOSK on Broadway Market, Catalyst in Clerkenwell, or soup and vegan sausage rolls at my friend Adam's house.
What’s your life motto
Strong back, soft front (courtesy of Roshi Joan Halifax).
What’s your favourite sound
A strong wind through old trees.
You’ll reincarnate into?
A deer, I hope: Long legs to run and bound with, an inquisitive ear, and a tranquil life lived in dappled shade.
2--- Laura wears Isabel Marant and her own vintage skirt.
Portraits by Maaike Mekking, Exhibition installation view photographs provided by Laura Jean Sargent's studio.