Lindsay Bolin Lowery is one of the young artists injecting energy into the Annapolis art scene and supporting social issues.
She’s a full-time artist with Art at Large, a firm involved in a wide variety of large public art, museums and other spaces providing design, execution and even installation for their clients.
But she also has the drive to raise awareness and speak up through her own art.
Spotlight caught up with Lindsay in the Art at Large studio which recently moved to become part of Circle Creatives, a collection of Annapolis creative companies working under one roof at 47-49 Spa Road in the Annapolis Arts District.
Lowery: I was always involved in art. Concentrated on art at Kent Island High School, then went to AACC (Anne Arundel Community College) for three years and took pretty much every art credit I could. I was tremendously supported by the faculty there, and the facilities are incredible.
Then I transferred to MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) and studied illustration for two years with illustration chair Allan Comport.
But I graduated in 2010 and was terrified, the economy was in the tank. What am I going to do?
I went back to work at the farm stand, it was my high school job, Lowery’s Produce.
Of course now I married their son and they are stuck with me.
Looking for any job I could get and Allan Comport called me asking if I can help out in Art at Large studio. (He is wed to Art at Large principal Sally Wern Comport) I said, ‘If it has air-conditioning, yes.’ The produce stand is, well, hot. At 100 degrees the fan does not do the trick.
I started out once a month then twice then once a week.
Then I got on full time at Art at Large. I said I am going to keep showing up until Sally fires me.
It’s been nine years. I have been lucky. I was right out of school, not knowing 100 percent what I was doing and Sally has been patient enough to let me learn on the job.
At Art at Large we do museum exhibits, public art, any kind of large scale graphics.
Spotlight: What is part of the reward doing that work?
Lowery: Sally and I are kindred spirits in that we are both curious and like to try and figure things out — even if we don’t know how to do it.
Part of that is a work ethic I have always had. Got it from my father who likes to build things, he’s always busy with his hands. And its much the same, our hands and minds are always working, whether it be with computers or traditional media. We are partners trying to figure out how to make things happen.
It is an amazing experience it provides so many different avenues and we are free as possible, any which way to get it done.
Spotlight: But you are able to do a lot outside of work at Art at Large. How do you do it?
Lowery: Sally is very supportive of my work in the studio and outside the studio.
I’ve always done that. I’ve had a micro enterprise since coming out of school, LBo Craft.
( Her website describes it an outlet for her “love for drawing, painting, photographing, documenting and working with my hands to craft handmade things that celebrate hometown pride, nostalgia, and nature.”) It is a discipline - Always making art.
Spotlight: How do you create, and get involved in the process of making art regardless of what you start out or intend to do?
I keep a sketch book. I took a class at MICA called Visual Journalism. It’s the idea of always being aware of your surroundings. It’s trying not to feel you have to have inspiration to sit down and create. You become aware of everything around you - you are an open vessel.
I record in my sketch book and it becomes source material for other projects.
Spotlight: You are involved in a special project now. What can you tell us about that?
Lowery: I am working with journalist and novelist Masha Hamilton on a project called, “Drawing on the Past to Build a Future.” It is about immigrants telling their stories and female artists creating visuals to accompany the narratives. Masha interviews the subjects and we keep their identities protected, which helps them tell their story.
There is s visually compelling element to the story. Someone is talking about their experience, they are from a different part of the world and have had a different experience in life.
It is interesting to see what each of us takes away from the experience created around the interview.
I have done two, a refugee from Syria and an immigrant from El Salvador.
The Syrian woman, in her 60s, fled Damascus and came here in 2016.
The woman from El Salvador, now about 30, came here when she was a teenager. She was too young to work at first. There were no job or educational opportunities. She worked then met a man from El Salvador and got married.
She has kids, one with autism. She just wants to stay here for them, to get her son the special education he needs.
I believe she is undocumented. On top of trying to take care of her kids she has to worry she is going to be taken away.
The point of the project is, if you listen to their stories, we all have a common experience. But in this atmosphere of dehumanizing people it is easy not to care about what happens to them. People are just trying to get a better life for their families. Take them out of the larger conversation (about immigration) and look at one person’s experience and see how you relate to their struggles.
Spotlight: You and others in the local arts community have been active in social justice issues. What what drives that?
Lowery: It is all about empathy. Art has always been the connector. I have been able to get involved with Future History Now, and other projects. Art at Large has done lots of work like for the Lighthouse, BizArts, Providence Center.