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Lani Trock | Studio Visit

March 2016

Los Angeles, CA


The following excerpt is taken from your artist statement about your installation, biopilia: a public service announcement: “existing within this delicate space, our foundation, environment and systems are beginning to crumble. the future of our species and planet hang precariously in limbo, seeking balance. will we rise to the occasion or fall victim to despair?”

Could you tell us a little more about what this means in relation to biopilia: a public service announcement, in the way the piece has died, and, in a sense, has been reborn again and again?

we are existing in a pivotal moment in in which we must release our past modes of being in order to make space for our individual and collective evolution. this truth has been revealing itself to me more and more frequently in recent months, and as i worked on this installation, both in preparation prior to the launch and in maintaining it while on view, its meaning has deepened internally within. externally, the energy surrounding the current presidential race is intensifying this theme of confronting the elements and constructions within our society and within ourselves, that are no longer serving our collective evolution. in order to move forward, we must face these sometimes painful and uncomfortable constructs, take responsibility for them and then release them to the wind; embracing a new way of being, centered in a more holistic, compassionate understanding of our relationship to our planet, to each other and i think most importantly, to ourselves.

creating and maintaining this installation has been a beautiful challenge...working with living plants and delicate materials is inherently unpredictable and in the process, i have experienced a wide range of physical and emotional responses to these conditions. it was always my intention or at least understanding that the elements of the installation might shift shape and/or destruct during the course of its life, but what i could not have foreseen is my feelings in reaction to those changes. the process has given me a wonderful lesson in care, letting go and remaining open. this project has been far from easy, but it has also given back to me tenfold, in every way possible. as the elements of the installation have moved through several phases of birth, growth, death and rebirth, I can feel us moving through a parallel process as a society at large.
this process will likely be complex, full of growing pains, stops and starts, and potentially met with resistance, but the point of this moment is in the face of these challenges, and any setbacks, to continue moving forward, one foot in front of the other, in a unified commitment to evolve together. as dire as this moment feels at times, i have a deep faith in our ability to rise to the occasion, release the old ways and move gracefully into the future as one, united in our deep desire to co-create a loving, peaceful world together.

This installation has been a labor of love; how has the process made you feel, and how would you continue to develop this exploration? I guess simply, what's next? 

this process of creation has made me feel a wide range of, peace, joy and interconnectedness, as well as the other end of the spectrum; frustration, despair, a desire to give up and loneliness, but i am grateful for all of these experiences. the complexity of being is what makes our existence so magical. without sadness, happiness could never be felt so sweetly. with my next body of work, i would like to continue to make spaces that are both beautiful and useful. i wish to create environments that further explore pathways to our collective evolution and the idea of food and green space as human rights. we are moving into a new paradigm, one that abandons a competitive perspective, in favor of collaboration and support. we are all connected and together we will build a new global community, rooted deeply in an intrinsic understanding of this truth.


Tell us a little bit about what you're working on now.

currently i am most interested in exploring a singular aesthetic concept through multiple mediums that i have very little experience working with. i began making art as a photographer, and in this moment i feel like i am rebelling a bit against the instant gratification of that medium, by experimenting with processes that require a great deal of slow, patient movement and attention to detail. looking forward from my installation currently on view at Tappan, i am working on a long term, permanent installation that explores the idea of food and green space as human rights.

Why do you create?

the act of creation satisfies something within me that words cannot sufficiently explain. i think the best answer i can give is that i create because i feel compelled and inspired to. when i do not, i feel unbalanced inside. i find my voice and my purpose through the process of making art.

What is something people would be surprised to discover about you?

i'm pretty new to this. i made my first installation two years ago, and started taking photos about a year and a half before that. before this phase of my life, i worked as a web designer and developer. take it back even further, i first moved to los angeles, nearly 10 years ago to play music. my professional idols at that time were g. love and jack johnson. things have definitely shifted since.

What do you think is your most unique quality?

it is very easy for me to love and also let go. i am rarely angry as a result.

What are you known for amongst your closest friends?

i nearly always come with foraged flowers in hand:) and for my cashew pesto. i almost always have a variation on that in the fridge.

What is your favorite quote?

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter - a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue. Henri Matisse

When do you make your best work?

i would like to say when i feel at peace, but i also feel there is definitely something to be said for the effect of struggle on an artist's work...i think the most important thing for me, is to cultivate an environment to create from in which i feel the freedom to explore with a sense of childlike wonder, without fear of error or making mistakes. i think that is my greatest challenge as an artist, to give myself space to mess up. when i create from that kind of fearlessness, that's where my best work springs forth.

What is your favorite color?

right now, i'm working frequently with a palate of pale pinks. but i also feel deeply connected to golden mustard and deep sea cerulean blue.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

fresh strawberry in a cone

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

hot yoga at kinship in highland park. that studio saved my life. as much as my schedule allows, i wake up early, mediate with a coconut cream coffee and go a morning practice there. it is the first time in my life i have found a form of exercise that fulfills me so completely. beyond yoga in the morning, everyday i wake up excited to make work that fulfills me both in the process of making it, and in the space that this work creates to bring people together, and cultivate a more loving, peaceful society.

What puts you to sleep at night?

a conscious expression of gratitude and release of everything that happened during the day.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

yayoi kusama, cy twombly, momilani ramstrum, teresita fernandez, helen frankenthaler, marina abromovich, pina bausch, james turrell, ana mendieta, jordan sullivan, eva hesse. 

Who is your hero?

bernie sanders

Did you have breakfast today?

avocado on sourdough with ghost pepper flakes and a fried egg.

What is your least favorite sound?

nails on a chalkboard 

What is the one thing you wouldn't eat?

cumin. i am allergic! 

What is your biggest demon?

sacrificing what is purposeful for me in the name of maintaining peace.

What would you draw for a lover?

us, making love in a wild garden.

What is your ideal life at 60?

pretty much the same thing i am doing now, growing a garden and making food for friends...the freedom to make the art i dream of would be beautiful then, to have built an archive of living edible garden installations i can visit and help maintain.

Where is your ideal life?

in a beautiful wild space, surrounded by love.

What is something you can’t do without?


Where do you go when you need to get inspired?

live jazz jam at the falls on monday evenings, huntington gardens, or eaton canyon. and when time is scarce, i explore the many microcosms that exist within my backyard.

What’s next for you?

the pursuit of a joyful, love-filled existence. hopefully many more opportunities to create spaces that reflect my deepest inner dreams and a vision for a more loving and compassionate future paradigm.