We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Stewart DeRosa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
My work/life balance is constantly evolving. A huge part of me longs for the days in the studio that began at 2pm and ended around 2am, but I have a family—for which I am very grateful—and so that is no longer possible. My kids are back in school after a wild ride this past year. I drop them off in the morning, step into the studio, and after what often feels like 10 minutes, head back out to pick them up. It’s challenging to switch in and out of the mode of art making so abruptly, but parenthood requires that of me. My studio is in my home and that makes it easy to fit in spurts of work at night and on the weekends. That convenience has a flip side though. My creative mess seeps out into the rest of our living space, the crazy kid energy often disrupts my work, and we no longer have a living room to speak of. It’s all a work in progress.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I got my MFA in 2007 with a focus in oil painting and that continues to be my favorite mode of working. I’m constantly seeking balance between making commissioned pieces and building larger bodies of oil paintings. Art making can often be an isolating field so I truly embrace the customer service aspect of what I do. It brings me so much satisfaction to work with and often get to know clients while hopefully creating something that they’ll treasure. Ive also learned to take criticism with a grain of salt and stay true to myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d start at home. My kitchen is another place where I love to be creative and feed friends and family. It always starts with food and drinks at home. The next couple of days would be spent checking out what Denver has to offer, artwise—-galleries on Santa Fe (I love Space Gallery and all of the energy flowing during first Friday art walks), incredible street art in Rino (some favorites include Flow and Root and the Ladies’ Fancywork Society), Redline and the Museum of Contemporary Art. We’d hit the patio at Ironton Distillery, Finn’s Manor, and Denver Beer Co. We’d eat at Izakaya Den, Hop Alley, Root Down, and The Bronze Empire. Each night would end at a different music venue listening to new bands and old favorites—the Bluebird, Gothic, Mission Ballroom, Red Rocks. Finally, we’d pack up the car with all of the outdoor gear, food, drinks, (kids optional) and head to the mountains to take in as much beauty and adventure as possible.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so grateful to the steady stream of clients who have commissioned me over the past decade. There have been years when it’s been very hard for me to make art because of financial pressures, other job commitments, and births of babies. These jobs have honed my skills, helped me feel appreciated, and forced me into the studio when it didn’t seem possible. The commissions also often inform my other bodies of work and have helped me grow. I am also incredibly lucky to have a family who constantly supports and encourages me.