Works by Lauren Catarinae are showcased during the exhibit After from November 3 through December 7.
Lauren Catarinae grew up in a small town in southern Maryland and had always been interested in worlds of fantasy and science fiction. Wherever she was, there was usually a doodle of a creature or dragon on any piece of paper in her possession. To her, they were the coolest things in the world. In middle school, she was gifted her first drawing tablet and began a long journey in the field of digital art. In high school, her projects were given more direct and focused guidance from her art teacher. From there, the projects and knowledge on character and creature design would grow and then evolve even further in college. She discovered the world of fantasy worldbuilding, online communities of other creature designers and the art of storytelling. She’s scheduled to graduate in 2024 with a B.F.A. in art with a painting track.
As a kid, I was always drawing creatures in my sketchbook, be it from TV or any weird dragon or alien design I would come up with. I don’t remember when it started, but they were always my favorite thing to draw. As I got older, I got interested in fantasy worlds and animal biology, which all came together in my current projects.
When I got back into learning about dinosaurs and, by extension, all sorts of prehistoric life, a new world of creature design opened up. It’s all incredibly fascinating. This interested me in all the different phases the Earth has gone through to support life and all the creatures lost to time and mass extinctions. Paired with my interest in creature design, it wasn’t a leap to apply this concept to fantasy. Using studies of paleontology and archeology, I’m creating an ever-changing timeline of evolution and extinction in a fantasy world. New things are being discovered all the time, so there’s always more to learn about. I want a world that feels alive, and living worlds never stay the same. The creatures and individuals in them are not forever, nor is the world they live in. Endings like these give way to something new, after all. It gives me so many possibilities in this world I’ve made.