Artist Spotlight features painters, ceramicists, and photographers whose work I love and who I'm excited to share with you. I love to learn more about artists' process and the story behind their work.
For this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, we're chatting with Laura Naples, a talented painter and all around wonderful person based near Cleveland, Ohio. I was drawn to Laura's work when I first saw it. I love the fluid lines, soft but resonant palette, and the emotion each piece conveys.
If you haven't heard of Laura's work yet, I highly recommend following her on Instagram for behind the scenes inspiration and beautiful finished work. You can shop Laura's work on Uprise Art and you can learn more about her work on her website.
Thanks for being here, Laura! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your studio.
Thank you for including me in the series! My name is Laura Naples. I am an abstract painter and work from my studio in Beachwood, Ohio, near Cleveland. My current workspace is also a gallery where I show my paintings as well as selected works of various forms by fellow artists and friends. I've been fortunate to work here since early spring
thanks to the generosity of the developer who loaned the space to me.
Your studio is so beautiful! I love to see the way you design it. How did you get started with painting? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Yes, I have always wanted to be an artist. I took extracurricular studio and dance classes since elementary school, and was exposed to the arts through visits to museums and performances with my mom. In college, I decided to combine my love of the arts with writing to study visual communication. I worked in advertising and graphic design
for several years before picking up a paintbrush again in 2013. At that time, I was a stay at home mom and freelance designer with young children searching for a means of expression. My process began to evolve through experimentation. My perspective has paradoxically expanded and become more specific while maintaining connective threads
to those first beginnings.
Tell us about your process. Do you have any specific ways of staying inspired?
My process begins with a desire to learn and notice connections. I keep libraries of images and sketchbooks containing notes and drawings. Sometimes I'll arrange printouts of images snapped from books or magazines with objects such as a ceramic vessel or a fabric. This practice creates a story of colors, textures, or forms almost as a warm-up to inspire the next work or series. As I notice points of visual inspiration, I also think about alignment with thoughts, words, or sounds that resonate with me.
I begin with a solid or washed background of paint and then create foundational marks. I don't sketch outlines directly on the canvas or paper; instead, I snap photos of the work in progress and use a digital sketching app to loosely plan next steps. Sometimes I'll pause
if I feel stuck and put a work away for days or even months until I see the next step, so I always work on several paintings at once.
Who are the artists from the past that you admire?
I greatly admire Zilia Sanchez, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Barbara Hepworth, Giorgio Morandi, Anni Albers, and Donald Judd. I'm also inspired by designers of various disciplines including Karl Springer, Alvar Aalto, Ricardo Bofill, Madame Gres, Phoebe Philo, Joseph Dirand, Sabine Marcelis, Rogan Gregory, and Marisa Competello of Meta Flora. But I am just as inspired by the fresh perspectives of emerging contemporary artists and designers.
What role do you think art plays in a home?
I think art creates the feeling of a home and the expression of the resident. When designing a space, I think it's ideal to begin with the architecture and next determine placement of art before furniture. Viewing a work of art is a multi-sensory encounter, so characteristics of the environment such as lighting, wall color, and surrounding textures all play a role in presentation. Composing a furniture arrangement that considers this experience from different angles and eye levels can enhance and evoke a desired feeling in the home's inhabitants and visitors.
Do you have any recommendations for someone looking to start collecting art?
My first recommendation is to buy only what you love, and not to worry about whether or not it is a "good" investment. If you love it, it has value because of how it makes you feel. My second recommendation is to buy original work if you can. The connection between the maker and the buyer is a tangible and energetic aspect of the collecting experience.
Thanks so much for being with us, Laura! It's such a joy to learn more about your work and what drives it. You can shop Laura's work on Uprise Art , you can follow her on Instagram, and you can learn more about her work on her website.