Laurie Lipton

Empress of death

New York being her birthplace as well as living in Holland, France and Germany before making London her residence, she has captured the attention of a global audience through her macabre and ethereal drawings. Citing Durer, Memling and Van Eyck as a few of her influences, her elaborate and unique approach to her work manages to be refreshing and innovative whilst maintaining classic quality. Depicting fear, lust, vanity and sexuality to name just some of her themes, her work is always accessible by highlighting the dark and light of humanity.

How best would you describe your work?

My works are amazingly detailed, psychological paintings with pencils… dark with a deadly humorous underbelly.

When did you first realise you had enough talent to make a living out of your pieces?

When I was 4 years old and my parents screamed, “GENIUS!” after I showed them a drawing.

How important is it for you to make social comments in your work?

I don’t think of my work as social commentaries. I am just focusing on the things that disturb me.

What were the advantages of creating pieces by hand/sketching as opposed to painting/sculpture?

As a child I was fascinated by the early Renaissance painters, especially the Flemish School. I developed my own drawing technique after trying, and failing, to paint like them. I loved the detail they achieved in their pictures. I couldn’t figure out how to paint those tiny little lines and no one could teach me, so I began to draw using tiny strokes of the pencil. I found a permanent point pencil & I built-up areas of tone using thousands of lines. It’s an insane and tedious way to draw, but it enables me to achieve beautiful tonality and clear details. It’s impossible to tell, on a computer screen, the amount of work that goes into each drawing.

What current projects are you working on at the moment?

I have a show opening at the Grand Central Art Center in California called WEAPONS OF MASS DELUSIONS and am also working towards a new show that will open at Billy Shire’s in LA in November. There is also a book that has just been published about my work called, “The Extraordinary Drawings of Laurie Lipton”. You can find out more details about these and other events on my website. Just go to: and click on NEWS.

Do you find it difficult to achieve/realize original ideas and concepts?

Not at all. I think in images. I thought this was normal until my mother told me that most people think in words. If anything I don’t have enough time to do all the images that are crowding in my head to get out. If I had my way, I would just sit & draw for 24 hours, 7 days a week… but unfortunately I need to eat, sleep & socialize on occasion.

On average how long does it take you to draw a piece?

I used to lie and make up a number… but to tell you the truth: I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I go into a kind of Zone and there is no time. Thank God. If I sat down in front of a huge, blank piece of paper and said to myself, “Right! This is going to take months.”… I think I’d be too overwhelmed to begin.

Do you have any peers you admire?

There is a whole art movement of new Surrealists and Visionary artists out there that is very exciting. I don’t wish to point out a few individuals and leave out anybody. There’s been a reaction against the dead, de-humanized, boring abstract/conceptual art of the past 70 years. There are artists out there that can actually draw and paint. You can’t look at their work and say, “I can do that!” like with rocks on the floor or dead fish or polka-dots on a canvas. There are a LOT of young artists out there with real talent and skill. The internet is allowing them to bypass the strangle-hold of the galleries and show their work to the public. I suggest you have a look at sites such as Jon Beinart’s ( to see what I mean.