Lauren Vass is a print and textile artist based in Brooklyn. After studying Fibers at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Vass took a print internship at Diane von Furstenberg and became interested in applying her fine art skills to ready-to-wear. This young up-and-comer is already making her mark in the world of fashion as a print designer for the contemporary label Rachel Roy. Lauren starts her design process in a very organic and exploratory nature using various materials and printmaking techniques to create beautifully crafted abstract and textural pieces. After working in the print shop (she is a very dedicated member of the Haven Press Studio in Williamsburg), Lauren takes her designs and puts them into a repeat pattern which is printed onto fabric yardage and then cut into a garment for the final outcome. A timely, yet extremely rewarding process it all is!
I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon at Haven Press with Lauren and observe the printmaking grind. Below are a few questions and photos from that day:
LC: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you became interested in textile and print design?
LV: I’m originally from Southern California. Growing up I wasn’t very interested in fashion, but after attending the Savannah College of Art and Design for Fibers I took an internship at Diane von Furstenberg and became interested in fashion because of its direct relationship with pattern and embellishment.
LC: How do you gather your thoughts and initial inspirations when starting a new project?
LC: Name a few artists/designers that are key influences for you and your work.
LV: Cy Twombly, Miranda July, Gerhard Richter; Vena Cava, Agi & Sam, Raquel Allegra, Helmut Lang, Rachel Comey, Marni, Hussein Chalayan.
LC: Tell us a little about your creative and technical process when working in the print shop.
LV: I’m always collecting various materials from which I can pull texture and imagery for my prints. As a practice, the printmaking process allows for experimentation and happy accidents that I find really exciting.
LC: What are some of your favorite materials you have used when creating your prints?
LV: I’ve made prints from inking up rolls of string, pleating and manipulating fabrics to then print off of. I’ve experimented with lace, bubble wrap and chair caning. Lately I’ve been making paintings out of laying draw-downs and monoprinting with baby powder and various resists. I also frequently revisit my script-font typewriter.
LC: Do you feel your aesthetic has evolved since working at Rachel Roy? What’s the biggest thing as an artist that you have learned since working in the industry?
LV: My aesthetic hasn’t changed since working at Rachel Roy, but I have learned how best to design for someone who isn’t myself. I’ve also learned to not be a perfectionist in my printmaking practice, since I’ve found an application for my prints that isn’t reliant on strict editioning. With fine art printmaking, curating and numbering prints is time-consuming and stressful, but with my current approach my prints are really initial sketches for a final textile print. It’s really exciting seeing prints I’ve created turn into yardage for RACHEL Rachel Roy.
LC: What is your most valuable item in your collection of Earthly possessions?
LV: I just bought a motorcycle that I’m really excited about. It’s a 1967 Honda Super Hawk.
LC: When can we expect to see some of your print creations in stores for Rachel Roy? Any other news or plans we should know about for the rest of 2013?
LV: Look for prints I’ve developed in stores March 2014. Also, I’m currently developing new plates for my rock print etchings and I’m looking forward to exploring that body of work in a new way. I’m also managing my Etsy account for selling my etching prints. For the rest of 2013, I’d just like to continue what I’m doing, making new work, enjoying the summer in New York and hanging with my crew.