Here at Pela, we believe that the phone case is a powerful medium of empowerment. Our compostable phone cases are a simple step towards a waste-free world. The art featured on our cases is intentionally curated and beautifully designed. We want to share with you the stories of the artist behind our collections. For our new collection in celebration of International Women’s Day, we have collaborated with the Georgia-based artist Lauren Rust.
“I want the consumers of my work to see the beauty of women. Beauty is more than skin deep - it is an attitude.”
Lauren’s story starts with a permanent marker and a coffee table. Lauren created one of her earliest pieces at the age of three, in which she drew a picture of a giraffe on a coffee table with a permanent marker. Currently, Lauren illustrates edgy continuous line portraits with female-centric visuals and messaging. Lauren takes a single line and transforms them into portraits of strong women. “Using my platform to share stories from my own life that inspire and encourage other women. I want to normalize the emotions that many of us are feeling (especially this past year!). When people look at my work and read my posts, I want them to somehow see themselves in the pieces.”
Being a mother and a creative forced Lauren to intentionally create time for herself and her art. “In college, I began painting canvases for friends and family. It was something I enjoyed doing and it allowed me to make some extra money while I was in school and then when I started my first post-college job in New York City. I would come home from work, eat dinner and then paint until bedtime. It was always just something I did here and there on the side. But I really began this new iteration of my creativity in 2019. By that time, I was married with two young children. I found myself drowning in my daily life and desperately needed to tap into my creativity to stay afloat. For me, it was self-care. I was kind to myself at first. I wanted to break out the paints, but it was just too hard with little kids. I was exhausted. So I tapped into my creativity by signing up for Skillshare.com and I literally just watched other people be creative. I joined classes on painting, drawing, and digital illustration. It gave me a creative distraction that required very little energy. It was a baby step in the right direction.
“When people look at my work and read my posts, I want them to somehow see themselves in the pieces.”
In the past year, Lauren’s Instagram following has grown substantially due to her showcasing her art and story. “At the end of 2019, I committed to doing a personal challenge called The 100 Day Project (#the100dayproject) where you make 100 pieces of work in 100 days. I posted my work (the good, the bad AND the ugly!) and my Instagram account grew exponentially as a result. That larger audience translated into more commission inquiries and eventually design commissions. I’ve had the honor of working with many small businesses and startups to bring their visions to life, mainly in product packaging and visual branding. It’s been amazing watching my business come to life over the past year. There is so much negativity on social media. I am trying to make my page an uplifting space for women. Some posts are more serious (because well, you know… life!) but I always try to balance those posts with humor. We desperately need some laughs these days, and I don’t mind them coming at my expense.”
Our core values at Pela are community, creativity, courage, and consciousness. These are values that Lauren aligns with through art and actions. “Humans were meant to be in community with one another. It’s at the heart of who we are. In my own life, I can tell you that I am the happiest when I am around other people who share my interests. Her values are rooted in love and service. Lauren expressed her excitement to be collaborating with Pela because we share a passion for supporting our community and taking the steps to create a better world. “I love the way Pela has prioritized the health of our planet. So many companies disregard their environmental thumbprint and our planet is suffering as a result.”
When we asked Lauren what Women’s Day means to her, she explained that “it means we are making PROGRESS! I’ve been so honored to work with many amazing fempreneurs who are building businesses (and as a result, legacies and financial security for their families). I get excited when I see other women chasing their dreams and doing amazing things. As women, many times we feel guilty about prioritizing self-care. It’s something I struggle with daily myself. But I notice that when I am healthy physically and emotionally, I am more able to do great things - things that change the world!”
Lauren’s designs in our Womxn’s of the World Collection, Genevieve and Amora, depict women who feel all too familiar to us— like ones we’ve met before and will again and again. Follow Lauren Rust on Instagram @laurenrustart and shop more of her work online at https://www.laurenrustart.com.