Laura Hapka creates abstract geometric paintings out of acrylic medium and epoxy resin. She strives to build unique work using a complex process. She works within three series: The Forest and Trees Series, The Wave Series, and the Trauma Series. Laura lives and works in Oakland, California.
You are deeply connected to both nature and design, how does your relationship with these focuses influence your work?
Yes, nature and design and an important aspect of my art. I typically create abstract images of clouds, waves, forests and trees. I also like use water when I paint to create natural movement. I want my pieces to convey movement. In addition, I have a degree in Landscape Architecture. My formal training in landscape design enhances the natural and brings a structural aspect to my work. It has also helps me with the planning and design of a painting.
What is the best part of your artistic process? What can be a challenging part when creating work?
The absolute best part about my artistic process is when I start to adhere the second layer of acrylic paint. This is when the painting transforms in complexity and depth. I start to see what the final image will become.
The most challenging part of creating my work is pouring epoxy resin on a textured surface. Flat surface resin pouring is already challenging, but when you pour on a textured surface these problems become exaggerated and harder to rectify.
From one midwestern to another (Illinois!) I find that living in Oakland, CA is creatively inspiring, how did growing up in Northern Minnesota and then moving to the West Coast influence your work?
I grew up on a potato farm nine miles from a city of 600 people. There were absolutely no art galleries close by, or even a movie theater. I was remote! That said, I find that growing up not having outside influence from the artistic world has promoted my drive and determination to create artwork that is original and unique.
I, similarly, find that living in California is very inspiring. The West Coast has provided me with personal imagery of the ocean, mountains, redwoods, as well as the beauty of the cities, especially San Francisco. The fun thing that I’ve found living in West Oakland is that you’ll often discover new, and professionally created, graffiti art.
Working in Construction Project Management, having obtained three degrees in Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Master of Business Administration, how do find time to paint?
Good question! It took some time to develop my technique. When I had the time, I explored different materials and mediums for about 8 years after work hours; it was fun. I didn’t settle on a medium I wanted to show until 2015. After 2015 I actively pursued painting while I working full-time in a very stressful job. It was tough but I’m very passionate about painting and making art helped me through some trying times during this period. Now, I work part-time with an amazing Australian/New Zealand based design-build company, Cachet, that allows me to pursue both of my career goals.
You are a well-traveled woman! We need a tip for our next trip…. where should we go?
Everywhere! Go, travel, see the natural and man-made world, meet new cultures, explore! It’s hard to pin down one location. I have so much more to see and wish I had more time. I feel that almost any UNESCO World Heritage Site is a good bet. Some of my favorites are: Plitivice Lakes National Park in Croatia, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, The city of Luxembourg, Angkor in Cambodia, and the Alhambra, medieval Granada, in Spain.