North Texas Daily

Local artist uses abstract art to convey political messages

Local artist uses abstract art to convey political messages

Local artist uses abstract art to convey political messages
December 03
12:30 2020

After attending classes at Texas Woman’s University, working a retail job and guiding her daughter through online school, fine arts student Lauren Muñoz can be found in her studio with a 30 by 40 inch canvas and acrylic paints. 

Muñoz has been drawn to art since her childhood but after having her daughter six years ago, she decided to pursue a major in art at TWU.

“I can’t imagine a time where I wasn’t involved in art,” Lauren said.  “When I was little I would make collages and would have collages all over my room. I just love putting materials together and creating new things from it.”

Her classes at TWU, however, inspired Lauren to utilize acrylic paint and simple style, Lauren said. 

Her most popular pieces are political portraits of former President Barack Obama and late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While painting political figures, she informs herself and her family of their impact on society, her husband Mike Muñoz said. 

“As she paints a certain portrait, she gets more into politics and relays [her knowledge] to me and my daughter,” Mike said. “Every time she points out new things and it opens my mind more.”

Activism has always been a part of Lauren’s life and she has used art to convey her thoughts regarding social and political issues. 

“My mom got me into politics because she protested a lot when I was growing up about certain things,” Lauren said. “I’m not the best writer or the most well-spoken, so my art is how I use my voice. I want my art to grab people’s attention and make people think.”

When creating her artwork, Lauren gravitates to rich colors and a simple style. 

“I would say [the bright colors] come from graphic design and loving the basic forms of art like color, shape and form,” Lauren said. “I really like to strip things down to keep things simple.” 

Her simplicity in shape yet vibrant use of color capture her personality, friend Dr. Robin Dobson said. 

“Her art is extraordinarily vibrant and has very clean lines, like how she has a vibrant personality,” Dobson said. “Her art is a really good expression of who she is because it’s vibrant and it’s bright, but it also has a deeper message.”

In addition to highlighting popular political figures, Lauren creates portraits of female bodies. 

“I believe women should have the right to choose what is done [to] and said about their bodies,” Lauren said. “It is about how the media portrays how anybody [who] identifies as a woman and how politicians have a say over what we do with our bodies.”

Her adaption of different skin tones and sizes allows women to feel accepted, Mike said. 

“She portrays that women can be whatever they want and that any body is beautiful,” Mike said. “She paints those bodies to show people that it doesn’t matter what you look like, just flaunt it and love it.”

Lauren uses art as an expression of her political views, but also seeks to embolden other activists. 

“When I see [activist messages] come in art form, it’s kind of encouraging to an activist because it makes you think someone cared enough to make an art piece out of it,” Dobson said. “Because the pieces are so bright, it gives you a positive feeling in a political landscape which doesn’t always feel positive.”

Currently, Lauren sells prints of her work through her Instagram account and intends to continue selling her designs. As she continues to take classes at TWU, she centers her motivation to obtain a graduate degree and continue creating art around her daughter. 

“I try to show her, and I hope she sees me finishing my degree while working with a kid, that it’s possible to do all these things, you just have to work hard,” Lauren said. “I hope she sees that through me. That makes it a little bit easier to manage because I think about her and do it all for her.”

Featured Image: Artist Lauren Muñoz poses in the TWU student union between four of her paintings on display on Nov. 15, 2020. Image by John Anderson

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Anvitha Reddy

Anvitha Reddy

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