Frutti di Mare | July 2022
& The Reboot | January 2023
Lucy Stark is a painter and printmaker living in Oakland, CA. In her art practice, she documents food and dishes with personal significance as a way to capture and celebrate the euphoric yet fleeting moment right before a meal commences.
From Lucy on her design for our first-ever picnic blanket: “Frutti di Mare translates to 'fruit of the sea' (or seafood). This picnic blanket is inspired by the ocean’s bounty and the experience of dining al fresco with friends. The dishes in Frutti di Mare are based on a picnic I had in Tomales Bay where some friends and I enjoyed fruits, the sea, and plenty of fruits of the sea. For me, the best time at the beach is after a salty swim when the snacks come out. With this blanket, even after the last sardine has been eaten, the picnic never has to end. The oysters will stay chilled, the baguette won’t go stale, and you can pretend you brought more than a bag of chips to the beach."
Lucy was the perfect artist to bring a picnic blanket to life with her bright colors and delicate details that recall those nostalgic feelings of friends, family, tradition, and decadence. Since our first collaboration, Lucy has shown her work at MRKTGLLRY and Mini Mart galleries in San Francsico and continues to build her art practice. She is definitely one to watch.
Q & A with Lucy Stark
Plunge: Where do you make your artwork?
Lucy: Mostly upstairs here, though I definitely get lonely sometimes. I like to make art around other people so sometimes I’ll bring my easel and paints downstairs so I can hang out [with housemates].. I've always dreamed of having a room in my house that is just designated for art and once it was reality, it was like… what's everyone else doing?
Do you tend to work on one painting at a time or do you bounce around?
For the most part I work on one painting at a time. I have a couple paintings that are started that I don't really have a plan for – no one commissioned them and they're not going to a show so they sort of get tossed aside until I get more time.
At what point in your career have you felt the most successful so far?
I mean, not to kiss up, but when you asked me to do the blanket, I was really excited. And to have an experience when I'm not actually producing the work and just designing it was really cool. I love to make things but there was something really amazing to say this is just my design and everyone gets to enjoy it.
In a perfect-world scenario, do you want art to be your only job?
I feel like maybe no, because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself or my art practice or selling work. There are so many things that I wanna make for me in my home that I don’t necessarily sell or think that people would wanna buy. I like the fact that I have a job that I can go to and not have to worry about linking my financial stability to my art practice. But also I feel extremely frustrated most of the time because I feel like I don’t have enough time to work on my art and I wish I had more time so that things would move quicker. I also feel like so much of my work is for friends or family and I like to keep it that way. I know that’s not necessarily sustainable for a career in the arts but…
I don’t believe the definition of an artist is someone who only shows their work in galleries or makes work for the public.
I know. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, though, when you see other people, especially on Instagram, like, “oh, I’m doing this show or that show ''.
How do you feel about sharing your work on social media?
Instagram is definitely the worst. Sometimes it takes me weeks to post something. I try to post paintings right when I finish them and oftentimes it will take me a really long time because I just hate posting. But it’s cool because I've found so many great artists there and so many people have found me. Part of me would love to not have instagram but another part of me wonders what would happen to my art practice. I feel like it is kind of intertwined.
Are you Swedish?
Yeah my dad is Swedish – we actually went to Sweden this summer.
Where did you grow up?
And you came here for school, studied printmaking, and then decided to stay in the Bay?
Yeah, Berkeley. I just never left. Right after I graduated I worked at this summer camp, and then I [went] traveling, and then when I came back I worked for an interior designer, I worked at the Gagosian Gallery in the city – it's no longer there. And then I started teaching art and got a job at Paulson Fontaine Press. I feel like ever since I graduated, I've been more focused on painting but always try to keep one hand in printmaking.
Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with your family, and how food is such an important part of your work?
My mom went to cooking school and food was a really big thing in our family, even before that. My sister and I were always in the kitchen at a young age and I was kind of a picky eater too. It is what my mom and my sister and I bond over: going out to dinner, making dinner… Nellie makes cakes and that’s kind of her art practice too. [She] and I have two very different practices but we definitely help each other and collaborate. And if I'm ever stuck on something I'll ask what she thinks.
She probably understands your work on another level that helps you push through those indecisive moments.
Do you find yourself ever making work that's not about food?
Currently, no. I feel like before I was really into the food, I did a lot of lounging ladies, naked ladies, swimming ladies, like that kind of stuff. It’s kind of funny. I feel like I’ve put myself in this… not a rut, because I’m still very much enjoying it. The only time recently where I do art that's not about food is when I draw invitations if we're gonna have a party.
What else are you excited about?
One of my goals for this year was to do a self portrait and I haven’t done that yet.
Oh yeah? That’s different!
I did a portrait of Nellie and I really enjoyed it. It was so hard.
Are you comfortable in that realm?
Not really. It was just what I felt like focusing on, trying to do figures and faces in my reductive layering style is something I'm really interested in exploring. I want to do more of that, but we’ll see…
Find more of Lucy's work:Lucy's Instagram