Ariel Lauren Sexton-Shaw AKA Loveariel is a Sydney born and bred artist and musician whose work is evocative of the occult, the painterly tradition and classic graffiti. Her practice has gained her an international base of collectors, a hugely successful solo show ‘Saintanism’ and living legend status on the streets of Sydney, her hometown.
(Picture below of a painting by Ariel)
With a 3rd upcoming solo show, a new musical project and a variety of sculptural works all bubbling away in Ariel’s well stocked cauldron, now is the perfect time to get to know her, by reading the Art Talk below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Ariel Lauren Sexton-Shaw aka Loveariel.
D.O.B – 5/7/1985
City, State n Country you currently call home?
Sydney, N.S.W, Australia.
City, State n Country your from?
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together your pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, crime… ANYTHING!
* age 5 – beginnings:
Going to preschool with a stack of plain paper which mum had drawn ovals in the center of each so I could construct my different princesses and their gowns, but I was too young to even be able to draw an even circle.
(Picture below of a young Ariel with her friend Masaya – Photo by Lupe Arelano)
* age 10 – continuations:
I remember being so honored to be the elected creative in charge of drawing the life sized monument of Princess Di for our class room shrine to her.
Thinking back on it our teacher was a bit odd with her Di obsession.
* age 15 – getting serious:
Can’t really remember what I was doing at 15, probably because that was around the age I discovered drugs and boys.
(Picture below of Ariel at age 18 or so in a self described “MySpace Selfie”)
* age 20 – young adult:
At 20 things started to settle in for me, I had begun to paint larger canvas artworks and I had my own little studio inside the Potts Point apartment I shared with my boyfriend at the time, was doing illustrations for local club nights and was getting other design work through my website.
* age 25 – adult mode:
At 25 I basically thought I was the coolest bitch out living in some alternate reality where nothing of this world or any other could touch me.
I’d just come back from 6 months painting and being a goth in London with some pretty incredible experiences under my belt and also a whole lot of dark rage to express, I started fucking with witchcraft and getting myself into dangerous situations with some heavy entities which was ultimately a good thing because it forced me to invoke my power as an angel to fight them and also The God force into my life to support me through that period.
And also rediscovering my passion for singing helped me to release a lot of that rage.
“Death shall fear you, so shall all the shadows of the world”
Electric wizard, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Joni Mitchell.
Favorite TV show(s)?
Game of thrones. The Simpsons. True blood.
Favorite sport(s) + teams?
True Romance , the Holy Mountain, Twin Peaks.
Favorite books and comics?
Why the name ‘Love Ariel’?
It came from when I had to come up with a domain name back when very few of my friends had websites, people used to call me “loveariel.com”. Lol.
I used to sign <3 ariel on my paintings so …
(Picture below of an early piece of Ariel’s promotional art)
Favorite other artist(s)?
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Sexism, and the notion that artists should starve to have integrity.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Making your own rules for life.
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
Fine art, most of what I have been doing last couple of years you would probably call ‘pop surrealism’ and now I’m moving further into a style that is most popularly known as ‘visionary’.
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
I’ve always been that way inclined, and as an only child with a single parent , I had plenty of time alone to practice.
What did you draw as a pre-teen child?
Loads of fairys, mermaids & princesses.
What did you draw as a teen?
Punk girls, graff girls & club girls, and sometimes Disney characters as junkies lol.
(Pictures below of some of Ariel’s juvenilia)
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
The last few months has been the most pivotal with a giant shift into the non figurative.
I’ve been blessing out paintings nebulas and rainbow organic patterns.
Very different from the figures I’ve spent the last 13 years perfecting.
(Pictures below of some of Ariel’s more recent works)
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
It was never a conscious choice, even when I finished my fine art diploma instead of doing my HSC I was still thinking “fuck , what the fuck am I going to do with my life- all I can do is draw!”
Describe the method of making a ‘Love Ariel’ work? (dot point all o.k.)
Have materials, have model, have concept, spend a few days/weeks procrastinating.
…Then pump it out in a crazy daze for hours and hours consecutively.
But I don’t know, with this new non figurative stuff I don’t need any of that planning, I just start and the colours flow, or I look at a picture of a nebula and colour match the patters I’m doing but still the lines are organic with their intertwining .
* your paintings?
Loads of planning most of the time.
(Picture below of one of Ariel’s paintings)
* your sketches and drawings?
Mostly just start and keep redrawing till it’s right.
(Pictures below of some drawings by Ariel)
* your street art?
Light sketch and then go for it.
Shape sketch up first the block colour over , and then bring it all together with an outline & white highlights.
(Pictures below of some of Ariel’s street art – in the UK and Germany)
* your more sculptural works such as corsetry, jewelry and leather work?
The leather works is fun, I just cut it up and piece it together on a manikin or a client, getting better at it with each piece.
And as for sculptures, I’m still very much in the experimental stage so there is no method yet.
(Pictures below of some of Ariel’s leather and metal pieces)
Best and worst memories from your 2013 show, Saintanism – Held at ‘Era Gallery’, Sydney?
Worst memories was probably trying to carry the 9 foot pre-stretched & heavily painted baphomet & Lilith work down Hibernian stairs cause it wouldn’t fit in the lift.
Best memories was seeing some of my favorite works end up being bought by some of my favorite people 🙂
(Pictures below of Ariel’s 2013 solo show, Saintanism)
Please go into detail concerning your living situation at Sydney avant-institution ‘Hibernian House’…
It’s a large L shaped suit so I have it divided up into personal space and shared art studio space.
Have had a lot of different set ups over the last 5 years but this way works well. I love it there.
What were some of the highs and lows of your time spent painting and relaxing in Bali back in 2014?
There was no low the whole trip was like a dream.
Spiritually I felt I had earned my time there coming out of a recent depression and it truly felt like the spirits of the island were there in full force guiding me back into my joy.
Plus great food, amazing sun and rocking around on the back of smoking hot babes motor bikes the whole time just spending cash like a millionaire.
TAKE ME BACK!
(Pictures below of Ariel’s street painting in Bali)
Odds n Ends
Much of your work references occult and esoteric philosophies… Care to go into your current relationship with these practices and belief systems?
Much of my studies have been around this, finding where my own spirituality and belief system lies, but currently I’ve moved a bit away from that now – knowing all I have learnt I have less questions to ask through my work and am leaning more towards the practice of meditation through my painting and the idea of light and colour being the highest vibrations of symbolism , really saying the same things in my artwork now as before but in a less convoluted way.
Highs and lows of the ‘Hekfest’ 1 day music festival you recently hosted at The Oxford Arts Factory in Sydney?
Highs being the 3 coffees I had to drink to be able to pull the whole day off on my own! (And of course the quality of the music I booked being even more impressive that I knew it would be)
Lows being the aggressive behavior of one of the punters unfortunately instigating backlash and subsequently cutting one of the main act’s sets short.
You are also an accomplished musician – what release do you get working in music as opposed to your other art?
The release of having a regular band practice is like my form of going to the gym, when I’m song writing and workshopping my songs I feel healthy. And when I’m performing them for an audience I feel powerful.
It’s more of an ego buzz then my painting, but then my painting is more reliable to me as an outlet- music can go either way.
You released your mobile number publicly back in 2011 in an interview for ‘Curvy Magazine’…
* why did you do this?
I’m a pretty open person. If someone wants to come talk to me or visit me I’m open to showing them what I’m about or working on something for someone.
* any interesting tales as a result?
Not really. Some skaters still prank call me but they had my number regardless.
What role did toys play in your childhood?
Hmm… I used to just style all my toys and barbies into punks and goths haha!
Please describe your experiences growing up in Australia?
Geez. I don’t know…
…I love Australia, although I was bullied pretty badly all through school which made me quite reclusive until I discovered drugs and the live music scene. But I suppose that worked out well for honing my artistic talents so can’t complain to much.
And I was a pretty hektik lad growing up which worked out well for me cause I’m don’t really let anyone fuck with me anymore.
Who was your 1st crush and why?
… A very early crush I remember was a long haired sort of shy but arty (kind of Kurt Cobain type) guy a few years above me in primary school called Myles. I just remember him talking to me with interest and kindness even tho I was younger, and he played the piano very passionately.
Does sex change everything?
Not really. Love making does tho. And once you know how to do that there isn’t really any going back.
So love making is what really changes everything.
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
I don’t remember my latest dream, but I do remember a reoccurring dream I used to have as a child – where I was escaping from a Nazi concentration camp with like 20 little brothers and sisters , I was the oldest and the one leading the escape from hiding place to hiding place always running from the spot lights and the sirens.
And each time our hiding place was exposed I would lose another child off the end of the duckling line I was trying to save . Always.
..I would survive but always I would be the only one left.
It was a very intense dream but I never remembered being traumatized from it – invigorated if anything. Odd.
Have you ever tried psychedelics of any sort? And what was the experience like?
Have you seen my paintings man?
(Picture below of a painted antique tin container by Ariel)
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?
I hope one day the hard earned truths I have discovered through my painting and “research experiments” are read into with the same interest I had while painting and discovering them.
Perhaps in a museum even, we will see.
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
I think drugs can be the window, but you can’t walk through the door until you walk away from the window at the same time. It’s a tough one.
Some say you can achieve higher states through meditation and not be damaging your body while doing so. That’s next on my list.
Please describe what you think the Australian Psyche/Zeitgeist is today?
I think there is a lot of talent in this country, but not much really makes it out or past the judgmental alumni and small circles of deciders.
I also think there is not much of a connection to the old masters and ages that came before us as we are a young country disconnected from our European culture after settlement, so a lot of the art that reaches hype status seems quit immature in a lot of ways, or inspired more by pop culture than organic elements – not that this is a bad thing at all.
I see the Australian psyche being very excitable, very quick to change & grow with a hell of a lot of diversity if I’m to be honest.
I think we are yet to even be old enough to have formed an ‘Australian style’.
Any collaborations on the horizon?
I’m working on a collaborative music project at the moment. Something different with a (traditionally) hip hop based producer.
Less rock songwriting and more vocal harmonies, chanting and unconventional sound structures.
Any major projects you want to hype?
My solo show that I will be holding later this year in New York with a small preview held in my warehouse suite before I leave at some point.