Lauren Hodder, Artist – St. John’s

Lauren Hodder is an interdisciplinary artist from St. John’s, Newfoundland. She currently resides in St. John’s after making a move in 2020 from Halifax where she spent time completing her BFA at NSCAD University. Since moving back to Newfoundland, she completed a residency in the Elbow Room studio at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery. Her solo exhibition Oxyeye, Aster is on display there until January 30. Lauren currently spends a lot of time outdoors walking and observing the unique landscape around the coastline of the St. John’s harbour near her home in the Battery. She has noted its positive effects on her mental health, but also observed the landscape for direct inspiration for her paintings.

  1. My robe

As the holidays approached this year, I resolved that I wanted to find myself a plaid wool robe. I kept seeing the actors in holiday movies in cozy robes and slippers, and got it in my head that I needed one too. I imagined myself with a robe that a dad in the nineties would wear as he stepped outside to see what all the hubbub was about on the lawn. Or perhaps with a turtleneck underneath like Diane Keaton in The Family Stone. I searched on eBay for a long time and finally found a vintage wool robe in a seasonally appropriate tartan. It has gotten a lot of wear, specifically over this particularly depressing holiday that I spent away from my partner as they quarantined.

  1. Tiktok live

A mere few months ago I scoffed at friends’ suggestions for me to download Tiktok. I finally caved and lately find myself particularly fascinated by the world of Tiktok live streaming. I know that the app itself is considered a wasteland by many that has the potential to do terrible things to the brain. Like any other form of social media, it has its advantages, but the live section is something else entirely. I suppose this is nothing new for a lot of people, but I had no idea that users around the world streamed themselves working jobs and completing mundane tasks. You can watch someone make burgers, dance, cut hair, drive around the city, study in the Oxford library, or work a counter at a convenience store. I do not understand the urge to stream oneself to complete strangers, and this is just the tip of the iceberg of reasons for my astonishment. I know there is monetization involved as well with streaming, but I find the scale of available content and what the algorithm shows you both endlessly compelling and repulsive.

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas

I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas over the holidays. I hadn’t watched it since I was a kid. What struck me was how Charlie is so dang depressed and how I did not notice or more likely understand it as a child. Personally, the holidays often make me feel sad and lonely and resentful of consumerism, and I saw Charlie’s experience mirroring my own this year. There is so much I love about it: the animation, the warm music, the dancing, Sally Brown wanting her fair share and her presents in tens and twenties, Lucy’s therapy, etc.

  1. Winter sunsets on Signal Hill

I tend to walk the North Head trail in the late afternoon, and oftentimes now when I finish at the top of Signal Hill, the sun is setting. The colour of the sky is this soft pastel pink which looks incredible with the vast expanse of ocean below and the snow on the pale sand-coloured grass. It’s always such a nice sight after huffing it up the steep climb.

  1. Milton Avery

Milton Avery, Meadows and Mountains, 1946, oil on canvas

I am drawn to Avery’s paintings for the effortless-looking swaths of colour that depict the depth of landscapes. I admire his mark-making and choice of colour. I started to look at his landscape paintings more closely when I moved back to Newfoundland and wanted to paint what I was seeing. I can get caught up sometimes in the complexity of the scenery, and I think his paintings do a great job of depicting the basis of the landscape – shape, colour, light – everything you need, nothing you don’t.