LA artist Lani Trock does it all. A photographer and artist, Lani's work stems from a love for the natural world. From photography to flower foraging, a unifying theme of Lani's diverse body of work is how plants, flora, and pieces of everyday nature came be experienced in different environments and expressed in a range of mediums.
Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…
I was born and raised on Oahu in Hawaii. After high school in San Diego, I studied philosophy at UC Santa Cruz and moved to LA shortly after graduation. At the time, I was pursuing music while working as a web designer, but then my mom gave me a camera, which carried me in a very different direction. I fell in love and took a million photos in that phase. Soon after, I began shooting for Refinery 29 and two years later, I released my first collection with Tappan and made my first installation, flowers for the moon, at The Standard. That was about four years ago. Almost two years ago I was given my first studio space in the Tappan Atelier downtown, and last May I moved into my second in Mount Washington. I’ve been working to establish a consistent studio practice ever since. I love working in my studio, but it is definitely a challenge to strike a balance between time spent there, and administrative / digital communications. Perhaps not so romantic, but all aspects are necessary to have longevity and success. I’m learning to love the parts I once openly disliked, in seeing them as essential to the collective whole. This theme of interconnectedness has been revealing itself to me often and on multiple planes of understanding.
What is your creative process?
This process isn’t linear. More like circling lightly overhead, until something resonates and feels just right. Then I proceed. I am continuously practicing the refinement of this awareness. When does it feel right to move forward? I meditate daily, sketch and write often, which is usually how to the conceptual framework emerges, but I almost never connect the dots until after the work has been made. It’s in the process of archival review or observing a completed work, that the title, overarching meaning, and its place within a grander narrative reveals itself. I’m in the midst of shifting my process from reactive to proactive, meaning that much of the work I’ve made, has been made as the direct result of an invitation, often without a great deal of time for contemplation prior to its production. In the coming phase, I am cultivating a long-term mindset; larger and more complex visions, and taking practical steps to ground them in reality. In the past, I think I needed the validation of an external authority to grant me permission to make the work that lived inside my mind. But now I know I don’t need anyone’s permission. I trust that if I make work that’s an authentic expression of my internal self, the right support system will appear to bring it into existence and carry it out into the world.
Lani Trock says
“I love working and surrounding myself with plants quite simply because of the way it makes me feel.”
Describe your work in three words....
Ephemeral, futuristic nostalgia.
Your practice incorporates various medium, including photography, sculpture and installation elements. How do you approach these mediums differently?
All are approached with the same exploratory, experimental intention. How could I better see what wishes to come into being and gently steward this vision into existence? Always listening, inquiring, playfully, lovingly. I experience the process of creation as a conversation; with materials, space, time, each site and with my innermost self. I believe that a consistent connection with my inner child holds the potential to facilitate the most profound results. Through that dialogue, the pathway forward is unveiled. I ask every participant what they wish to become, how to actualize their highest expression, to their own fullest potential. This dialogue becomes a dance, and I especially love sculpture and specifically clay because the messiness of this dance is so romantic. There is something essential about the experience that mirrors the imperfections of being human. I make as much time as possible to play and experiment. I think this is where most breakthroughs occur for me. When I over-intellectualize while in progress, I’m rarely happy with the results.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Repeating patterns and circular systems in nature, the evolution of human consciousness, people who live their values, nylon string instruments, my garden, morning meditation, astrologers on youtube studying long-term outer planetary transits, quantum physics, co-creation of aural harmony, artist-run spaces.
Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?
The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?
Ruth Asawa, Sol Lewitt, Eva Hesse, Ana Mendieta, Helen Frankenthaler, Pina Bausch, Ragnar Kjartansson, Cy Twombly, Hank Willis Thomas, Lita Albuquerque, Anna Maria Maiolino, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Lina Iris Viktor, Hilma Af Klint, Florence Henri, Cassi Namoda, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Noah and Karon Davis.
What makes you excited about the future?
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
About Lani Trock
Trock's work investigates the human relationship to nature through photography, sculpture and immersive, environmental installations.
Lani Trock is a Los Angeles based multidisciplinary artist. Her work investigates the human relationship to nature through photography, sculpture and immersive, environmental installations. Her artistic practice is informed by a childhood spent freely exploring the wilderness of Hawaii and California and a nontraditional trajectory into art making.
She studied philosophy at UC Santa Cruz and has lived in LA in the nine years since. Having worked as a designer, programmer and photographer, her process consistently inhabits the place in which technology and art meet. Deeply interested in the potential multifunctionality of spaces, her work seeks to create environments that are both beautiful and useful; creating educational spaces through the implementation of best new technological practices, and which are built utilizing found, repurposed or readily available materials. A key tenet of her personal and artistic philosophy is one of improvisation; doing what you can with what you have in order to challenge the status quo. Through the creation of this work, she makes space to envision and spark dialogue about alternative future paradigms that embody a cultural shift away from scarcity, commodification and competition in favor of abundance and support. The primary objective of her practice is to advocate for the peaceful evolution and spiritual elevation of mankind. She has exhibited work at the Standard Hotel, Soho House, Ace Hotel and Space 1520.
"One of my favorite quotes on art is by Matisse: “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.” In all I do, I aim to share a feeling of peace.” - Lani Trock
2006 BA Philosophy, UC Santa Cruz
National Peace Service, 2017-Ongoing.
NPS Site 08 We Rise, Los Angeles, CA, May-June 2018
NPS Site 07 Kinship, Los Angeles, CA, May 2018-Ongoing
NPS Site 06 Installation Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, March-April 2018
NPS Site 05 Into Action, Los Angeles, CA, January 2018
NPS Site 04 Hilde EB, Oakland, CA, December 2017
NPS Site 03 Art House LA, Los Angeles, CA, December 2017
NPS Site 03 Big Pictures, Los Angeles, CA, October 2017
NPS Site 02 Big Pictures, Los Angeles, CA, October 2017
NPS Site 02 Hilde LA, Los Angeles, CA, October 2017
Sanctuary, Social Study, Los Angeles, CA, April 2017
Empathetic Feminine Divine, Part of Her Room, Junior High, Los Angeles, CA August, 2016
Biophilia; A Public Service Announcement, Tappan, Culver City, CA, March 2016
Trust In you of Now, Space 1520, Los Angeles, CA. April, 2015
Flowers for the Moon, The Standard, Los Angeles, CA. April 2014
Project Art Gala, Underground Museum, Floating Garden for “My Kid Could Do That” Exhibition + Gala Opening, Los Angeles, CA, April, 2018
Mama Projects, Chateau Marmont, Floating Garden for Mama Projects Launch, Los Angeles, CA, August, 2017
St. Germaine, Houdini Mansion, Wearable Floral Sculptures for No One Art Dancers, Los Angeles, CA, AUGUST 2017
Phone Home, Multiple Locations, Floating Gardens for Ambient Music Concert Series, Atlanta, Big Sur & Los Angeles, 2016-17