"This is part of the "New Papillon (butterfly)" series and is in the "Culmination" subgroup which is about transformation from suffering and is a part of a 5 year series called "Despite the Pain" that mirrors the path of the Monarch butterfly and my own journey with illness. After being hospitalized 7 months and living a cave like existence for years, I suddenly ended up in Paris for an experimental treatment. The method is moving DSLR camera that take snapshots of earth and then develop them in Photoshop. This entire collection is about the evolution of perspective from the individual to the cosmic. Five years, five collections to form one snapshot."
- Laria Saunders
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Los Angeles, CA
& San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Laria Saunders’ is a former dancer/photographer whose primary body of work is digital photo assemblage paintings. Her portfolio also includes traditional and experimental photography plus NFT’s - both still and animated. She is represented by Octavia Art Gallery - New Orleans and ArtLifting-Boston, who currently rep seventy of her works. Collectors include, Google, Microsoft, Warner Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment and she has been exhibited at Octavia Art Gallery. In 2012, Laria switched to painting on her phone due to daily severe migraine. The small emitting light screen enabled her to create 350 digital paintings to date.
Saunders’ was born in Boston and raised equally there and in New York and Los Angeles. She has lived in many places including, India, Czech Republic, Italy and Mexico. Her artistic family spans four generations on both sides and includes professional artists in painting, music, theater, dance and photography. This self-taught artist is often seen in the streets snapping images of aging walls, organic sidewalks, dirty puddles and cracks in the road. She does these walk-bouts to collect her palette library and each piece contains 50-100 bits and pieces of texture images that can take several hours to several months to create.
Laria has a Bachelor of Arts from University California Los Angeles (UCLA) in World Arts & Culture/Dance. Due to her varied experience in the arts, she was admitted as an alumni arts scholar and graduated with the highest honors. She was trained as a modern dancer and specialized in the Odissi style of Classical Indian dance (Orissa, India). She was performing across the United States before the chronic illness started in 1998. Saunders is also self-taught photographer and has been recognized by Light & Composition Magazine as the “top 100 photographers of 2014” and has been awarded by Eden Arts- UK, Momentum Images of Dance-CT, ArtSlant and Project 30k.
After long period of isolation living in India, Saunders began experimental moving photography and worked exclusively for five years on a grand scale abstract collection in Switzerland, France and California. By moving with her camera, she created what she calls “earth swabs" to form a tiered collection with the evolution of the imagery growing in complexity every year and paralleling the migration of the Monarch butterfly and her own journey.
Laria is especially interested in ideas expounded by American philosopher, Ken Wilber in his “Integral Theory. “I am fascinated by the art of perception, nascent ideas and nature’s artistic unfoldment.” The central column seen in a lot of her paintings is becoming her signature style. “I actually keep attempting to veer away from this central column but it keeps drawing me back. For me, it’s about humanity’s eros-like
creative drive to evolve and the power of this forward movement. It is also personal and mirrors my own willpower to endure chronic illness.”
Laria has been battling debilitating pain for over two decades; Transverse Myelitis (demyelination-spinal cord injury), daily severe migraine, Fibromyalgia and many other painful and mysterious syndromes. She has sought treatments all over the world, been hospitalized over eight months and has had four surgeries. Due to multiple severe drug allergies, she has only recently has been able to manage the pain. Saunders’ attributes
her early obsession with meditation enabling her to survive the Kafkaesque medical maze. “Hurting from head to toe and losing everything, allowed me to completely and utterly STOP and this turned out to be a great catalyst both spiritually and artistically. “
Currently, Saunders’ exclusively creates digital photo collages and animations and by 2023, will be creating on the iPad. She lives with her husband and golden retriever in Los Angeles and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Laria exclaims, “I am done with living in the dark, hello world!”
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