Laura Marr has 20 years of branding and design experience. In her studio, she crafts multi-layered visual messages through graphics, posters, maps, invitations, signage, and apparel. Her style is influenced by the early 20th century golden age of illustration, a pre-photography era that permeated the visual landscape of print media and fine arts. Her background in theatre design at the University of Texas evolved into freelance design for museum and tourism sites. In early 2017, Laura released Inky Richmond, an award-winning illustrative coloring book. Her current studio work involves the creation of a special 100th Anniversary Broad Street Station logo, which will be released by the Science Museum of Virginia in 2019.
How did you discover illustration and graphic design?
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t draw. It’s always been a part of my life. I knew I wanted an art career of some kind since I was a child. In high school, I was hired by a department store to create fashion illustrations for their weekly newspaper ads. From there, I went to Baylor University and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, with a focus on illustration. I’ve done postgraduate coursework in Florence, Italy, and Scotland. I describe my work as undulating, intricate, and thoughtful. Drawing is where my work speaks the most; it’s my most expressive form of communication.
Your work is full of iconic landmarks and landscapes, What draws you to them?
Travel sketching allows you to take it all in. I sit, linger, and soak in all the smells and noises of a place. You feel the buzz of the people, and I have more time to record that memory as a snapshot in time.
What inspired Inky Richmond?
I didn’t intend to become a coloring book artist. My aunt, Donna Anderson, who was a fine art painter, developed a hand palsy that left her frustrated and unable to paint. I brought her the standard, mass-produced coloring book after reading it could be used as form of therapy. While it was great physically, the mundane illustrations lacked meaning and were rather non-captivating for a creative professional. I decided to craft high-quality images of renowned places to evoke memories and emotions. Great detail, time, and expense were placed in both the design and print of the book to resonate with fellow artists of all abilities.
What is your favorite Richmond spot?
I absolutely love biking on the Virginia Capital Trail. It’s beautiful to watch the wind blowing through the fields as you speed by. It’s a great place to go with my family and meet other people.
Social media is a great tool for artist to gain exposure, Are there any drawbacks?
Since social media makes it possible to see the work of thousands of talented people around the world, I’m sure it could be easy to wonder if you and your talent can really stand out. I’d encourage young artists and illustrators not to worry and just focus on what they love to make. Believe in yourself and your work— your uniqueness will shine through. You will eventually find the right clients and the right projects.
Tell us something we may not know.
In the early 2000’s, I was an art director at Punch and helped create Seymour, the dinosaur mascot of Children’s Museum of Richmond, with the support and visionary idea of Wyndi Carnes. As a parent, it is wonderful to see children interact with someone that I created. I love that. My artwork is physically reaching out to children and giving them a hug. I love that the museum has embraced him.