Laura Cogoni

How has your artistic style evolved over the years?

I’m more at ease painting and sculpting than I used to be. I don’t feel as aggressive as I used to, which I think shows in my work, which is softer and more considered…

Has your art always been inspired by your travels?

Not really. At first I thought I needed to document my pain, I wanted to use the past to document what I was feeling in the present. I now just focus on what I need to say. I’m just more at peace now.

Which medium do you work with the most? Has this always been the case?

I’ve begun working in recycled materials because they’re readily available and varied – I just pick up random things and keep them until I feel I’m turning my place into a rubbish heap. I like free materials basically! If I can find some wood or metal when I’m out and about I’m grabbing it and taking it home. I also love watercolour and like to find new ways of making a mark with such a traditional medium.

You lived in Notting Hill for years – where are your favourite haunts?

I love The Electric. Well the old Electric. I love all of Portobello, the whole road is beautiful, and the steel band man who always smiles at me and nods.

You’re known for your eclectic, bohemian style – what inspires your sartorial choices?

I like to feel like a ninja most of the time, if I’m honest. I’ve got to wear boots because I cycle and march everywhere so I need nice solid footwear. My ninja uniform is black jeans and boots and a kimono every now and again. Medusa hair is my thing, I just wash and go. And I’ve discovered some awesome product called SKIMDO. It literally saved my curls!

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Atop a mountain. I’m obsessed with mountains – I feel a deep connection to mountains. Maybe I used to be a mountain. But I was recently in Greece and felt the mountain was communicating with me.

Do you have a favourite west London restaurant or pub?

FARMACY. I’m vegan and I need to eat!

You’re currently working on a project inspired by the destruction of the rainforest. How did this come about and what is the plan?

My most recent work is based on the environmental and social concept of recycling – it was the re-working of an idea first born while taking ayahuasca in the Peruvian Amazon. My inspiration is Isa Genzken and how she uses such random pieces to build totemic structures. I’m looking at where non-recycled materials go so asked 10 friends and businesses to collect their non-recycled materials which I plan to make into a site-specific installation.

I have been travelling so the project was inspired by my trip to Peru. I witnessed the destruction of the rainforest first-hand. It took me by surprise to be surrounded by chopped and burnt tree trunks for miles – and led me to start a new collection of paintings inspired by nature. At first I wanted to see all the pretty things, the mountains and sunsets we all love, and find happiness within, but I started to discover that wasn’t really challenging the way I live. I went off to climb some mountains and documented this with a series of oil paintings on recycled wood I’d found on the streets of Hackney.

As a side project, I recently completed series of ten watercolour paintings called The Throat Series, related to the throat chakra and what that means in terms of communication..

Why installation?

I like building things. I need to be making things, I like the physical act of using my hands. Sometimes I just like the idea of creating a thing to occupy space where there was once nothing.

Who are your main artistic inspirations?

Iza Genzken is a huge inspiration of mine. She uses everyday materials to create these totemic structures. They’re so diverse and she’s incredibly inventive.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? World domination?

I hope to have bought some land in Spain with orange trees and olive trees and enough land to rehome animals. I hope I’ll be doing whatever comes to me at the time. I’ll obviously be a massive, successful artist with things to say and new ways in which to think them.


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