Marx at work in her Cherokee Street studio.
Lauren Marx grew up wanting to be a zoologist. When she realized that profession also came with a lot of biology labs and science classes, admittedly not her strong suit, she had to regroup. Which is how she ended up with a B.F.A. from Webster University. This fine arts background, coupled with her love of animals, are partially responsible for her successful career as an artist, one who specializes in self-described “gory animal prettiness” to be exact.
The other part responsible for this burgeoning art career? Her family. For one, Marx comes from a long line of artists, a great-grandfather who was a painter, a grandfather who was a printmaker, a mother who was an artist. Said grandfather not only gave Marx the artistic gene, he also influenced Marx’s subject matter – whether he knew it or not- because his dining room was adorned in the work of John James Audubon. Marx would stare at these prints as a child and file them away for future use.
Audubon, in case you aren’t familiar, was an American naturalist and painter and the first person to create an illustrated natural history book, specifically known for it’s detailed illustrations of birds in their natural habitat. This gained him fame and notoriety in the late 19th century and is why his is the name behind the Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to wildlife conservation that was incorporated in 1905.
Audubon’s work still plays a role in Marx’s art. Some vintage Audubon prints that she found in an antique store on Cherokee Street are stacked neatly on her desk, serving as inspiration. Evidence of his style is apparent in the composition, details and color palette of Marx’s work too. Like Audubon, her work is very intricate and anatomically accurate, but instead of birds being perched on a branch somewhat wholesomely, as Audubon painted them, Marx depicts her animal subjects eating their prey, blood and guts also shown in all their natural glory.
Inspiration abounds on Marx’s desk.