Laria Saunders’ is a former dancer/photographer whose primary body of work is digital photo assemblage paintings. Her portfolio also includes traditional and experimental photography, plus NFT’s - both still and animated.
She is represented by Octavia Art Gallery - New Orleans and exhibited at this gallery in 2022 in a group show called "Digital Reality." ArtLifting-Boston currently represents seventy of Laria's works and collectors include, Google, Microsoft, Warner Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
In 2012, Laria switched to painting on her phone due to daily severe migraine. The small emitting light screen enabled her to create 350 paintings to date.
Saunders’ was born in Boston and raised equally there and in New York and Los Angeles. She has lived in many places including, India, Czech Republic, Italy and Mexico. Her artistic family spans four generations on both sides and includes professional artists in painting, music, theater, dance and photography. This self-taught artist is often seen in the streets snapping images of aging walls, organic sidewalks, dirty puddles and cracks in the road. She does these walk-bouts to collect her palette library and each piece contains 50-100 bits and pieces of texture images that can take several hours to several months to create.
Laria has a Bachelor of Arts from University California Los Angeles (UCLA) in World Arts & Culture/Dance. Due to her varied experience in the arts, she was admitted as an alumni arts scholar and graduated with the highest honors. She was trained as a modern dancer and specialized in the Odissi style of Classical Indian dance (Orissa, India). She was performing across the United Staes and had done private shows for Ravi Shankar, Goldie Hawn, Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field before the chronic illness started in 1998.
Saunders is also self-taught photographer and has been recognized by Light & Composition Magazine as the “top 100 photographers of 2014.” In her Los Angeles loft studio, Laria photographed Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Reno Wilson (Good Girls), Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica) and with her husband, James Duffy, also did portraits of Jaimie Alexander (Blindspot), and Mallika Sherawat (Murder, The Myth).
She has been awarded for her photography by Eden Arts-UK, Momentum Images of Dance-CT, ArtSlant and Project 30k. Her photographic work has been exhibited at Linus Gallery, 1650 Gallery, Groovworx Gallery, Whole 9 Gallery in Los Angeles, plus Gallery Violet in London.
Laria is especially interested in ideas expounded by American philosopher, Ken Wilber in his “Integral Theory. “I am fascinated by the art of perception, nascent ideas and nature’s artistic unfoldment.” The central column seen in a lot of her paintings is becoming her signature style. “I actually keep attempting to veer away from this central column but it keeps drawing me back. For me, it’s about eros and agape in humanity’s evolutionary drive and the power of this forward movement. It is also personal and mirrors my own willpower to endure chronic illness.”
Laria has been battling debilitating pain for over two decades; Transverse Myelitis (demyelination-spinal cord injury), daily severe migraine, Fibromyalgia and many other painful and mysterious syndromes. She has sought treatments all over the world, been hospitalized over eight months and has had four surgeries. Due to multiple severe drug allergies, she has only recently has been able to manage the pain. Saunders’ attributes her early obsession with meditation enabling her to survive the Kafkaesque medical maze. “Hurting from head to toe and losing everything, allowed me to completely and utterly STOP and this turned out to be a great catalyst both spiritually and artistically. “
After long period of isolation living in India, Saunders began experimental moving photography and worked exclusively for five years on a grand scale abstract collection in Switzerland, France and California. By moving with her camera, she created what she calls “earth swabs" to form a tiered collection with the evolution of the imagery growing in complexity every year and paralleling the migration of the Monarch butterfly and her own journey.
A decade ago, when Laria switched to digital painting, she found solace in the abstract world. “The abstract space is poetically similar to dance; the accents, fields and valleys are open to interpretation and have an alternate rhythm, cadence and consciousness to the figurative space.”
Currently, Saunders’ solely creates digital photo assemblage paintings and animations. By 2023, she will exclusively be creating on the iPad. She often collaborates with her father, Theo Saunders, an internationally known jazz pianist/composer.
She lives with her husband and golden retriever in Los Angeles and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Laria exclaims, “I am done with living in the dark, hello world!”
*A CV provided upon request*
*If you want read about Laria's family of artists, actors and performers click here . It's a page in progress.