Fine artist, Lauri Marks Kaye, enjoys wandering around Tucson in search of great coffee shops in which to take up residence and draw while enjoying endless cups of coffee. She is passionately committed to straying from her schedule to entertain impromptu photo shoots with her iphone and drum up conversations with strangers for which she uses as subjects for her drawings in a newly made up artistic category called, Portrait Stories. Lauri has worked professionally as an artist since graduating from Parsons School of Design, NYC, in 1992. She first landed a job as assistant art director at Rolling Stone Magazine and eventually moved on to become art director at NSI Design, NY, producing art and design projects for local and corporate clients, including AT&T, Fodor’s and Scientific American. Eventually, Kaye began freelancing, building up a client list that would enable her to launch her own design firm, Sun Design, Inc. The artists at Kaye’s new design studio worked on a wide range of creative design projects, the favorite being a host of collateral material, art and design for several theme restaurants in Manhattan; Jekyll & Hyde, Slaughtered Lamb and Night Gallery.
During these years of fulfilling, passionate endeavors, Kaye was inspired to work on a business plan for her own restaurant concept where she could incorporate her creative skills with her joy of cooking, and inventing delicious, healthy meals. In the spring of 1998, Kaye packed up and headed southwest after discovering that Tucson, AZ had the most restaurants per capita. Her professional intention was to open a restaurant that served creative American fare, where artists could exhibit and sell their work. She established Create Cafe & Catering, Inc. in Tucson in 1999, fulfilling these dreams and so much more for 13 years. This is where she not only sold her first sandwiches and salads, but also pieces from her portfolio of photography, prints and hand painted furniture. Having a platform to sell artwork quickly exceeded her expectations with several pieces of photography becoming part of the decor in a local chain of restaurants.
Kaye spent time simultaneously building her fine arts portfolio with a variety of ink drawings, collage, digital color and photography. With a hectic lifestyle as a restaurateur, raising a family and maintaining a hand in the arts, Kaye decided to simplify her artistic approach by choosing a medium that was easily portable and could be applied at a moment’s notice or surge of inspiration. And so it was that .03 mm archival pen and a hardcover sketchbook became the heart and soul for her creative expression. A volume of journalistic portraiture line drawings began to fill the pages. They included people of various cultures and lifestyles, landscapes, news stories, local entrepreneurs, and social issues. They all evolved from textual information, observations and images, each becoming a unique “Portrait Story”.
In 2014, Kaye launched Create For The People Ventures creating original and commissioned artwork. The subject material of Kaye’s hand-drawn customized portraits vary from people, social issues, politics, pets and businesses and current events. Clients complete a questionnaire in order to provide interesting and relevant information about the subject. Kaye weaves the information together to create a truly unique piece of art that tells a story. These black and white continuous line drawings with digital color feature immense, intricate detail. Words, quotes, facts and images are integrated to make for a striking and entertaining piece. While the drawings often begin on a 12”x12” sheet of bond, the finished pieces most range from 2-12 feet, depending on its usage. Many pieces have been printed on a wide range of materials, from metal, wood, acrylic and apparel.
While there are always several places to view Kaye’s works around Tucson as mentioned on her website: createforthepeople.com, she is currently working on an ongoing series of Tucson Portrait Stories for exhibition and publication. Here you can view subjects both iconic and off the beaten path. Portraits include DeGrazia’s Mission, Tohono O’odham Women at San Xavier, Wig-O-Rama, Bartender from OINK, Alberto G Out on the Streets, Gates Pass, Frank’s Salsa from Menlo Park, Monsoon Mobile, UA Basketball Meditation, and many more. If you would like to contribute ideas that exemplify a great Tucson moment, place or person feel free to contact Lauri at email@example.com