Bio

Born into an artistic and musical family, Laura Shabazz was destined to ‘make things.’ Exploring the gamut of both visual and auditory media, from songwriting to traditional drawing and painting to ceramics to CAD, Laura’s creative endeavors had always occupied an essential but supplemental place in her life. This secondary role of creativity was brought to its painful nadir when cramped city living nearly eclipsed her artistic pursuits. After giving birth to their daughter, Laura and her musician husband, Shaheed, relocated to the ‘burbs. Their new location afforded Laura the space to explore collage through upcycling the discarded magazines and books that she salvages from recycling bins all over town. Juggling parenthood, the demands of teaching guitar and a part-time job, Laura creates her art in the precious moments when the household is (finally) asleep.


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Artist Statement

For the original collages, I use only paper and glue. The paper is torn from magazines and old books that I salvage from recycling bins. I don’t use any paint, ink, or digital manipulation; even the different shades of the book pages are due to the natural yellowing of the pages. Most of the pieces of paper are torn by hand, and the larger collages use hundreds of tiny scraps. I get straight lines by using the edges of the paper, though occasionally I use scissors for precise shapes.

I’m drawn to crazy quilts for their use of color and pattern. For subject matter and composition, I look to pre-Raphaelite paintings. High contrast photography informs my value scheme of lights and darks.

Every collage starts with an assortment of reference images, a basic sketch and a general idea of colors. From there, since I never know what magazines I’m going to have as my palette, so I figure out color placement and detail in real time. The finished product that you see is really an improvisation that can’t be recreated even if I wanted to make the same thing again.


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Education

Self-taught in collage and upcycled paper media
Parsons The New School for Design, AAS Interior Design, 2007 Dean’s List
Columbia University, BA Anthropology, 2004 Dean’s List
Montclair State University, Coursework in Fine Arts, 2000
Raritan Valley Community College, Coursework in Fine Arts, 1999
Oberlin College, Coursework in Fine Arts and Ceramics, 1995-1998
Ceramics Apprenticeships under Don Thieberger, Tom Phinney, Ellen Kelly
Assistant to jewelers Michael Alexander (incl. website design) and Sue Sachs

 

Shows

2018            Hidden Gallery (group show curated by high school student and
                   pop-up gallery founder, Lily Ambrose), Bernardsville, NJ
2017            ARTsee Open Studio Tour Bernardsville and Basking Ridge, NJ
2017            28th Annual Small Works Show (group show curated by
                   Dr. Gail Stavitsky, Chief Curator of the Montclair Art
                   Museum) Mikhail Zakin Gallery at the Art School at Old Church,
                   Demarest, NJ
2017            Recycle 2017 (group show curated by Harriet Taub, executive
                   director of Materials for the Arts) Brooklyn Waterfront Artists
                   Coalition, Brooklyn, NY
2017            Mothers' Day Invitational (craft show juried by Jewelers Studio
                   Guild), Chatham, NJ
2017            The Happening (group show), Bernardsville, NJ
2017            In Care of the White House (political art and letter campaign),
                   national, online
2016            More Than Art (solo fundraiser show for More Than Me in Liberia,
                   Africa, coordinated by Enactus of Raritan Valley Community
                   College), Bernardsville, NJ
2016            A Haunting at the Hive (group show) The Hive Gallery, Chester, NJ
2016            ARTsee Open Studio Tour Bernardsville and Basking Ridge, NJ
2016            Tiny Book Show national touring show with the Creativity Caravan
2015            Group Show Bernards Township Library, Basking Ridge, NJ
2014            Meet the Artists (1 of 5 artists) TMC Boutique, Stirling, NJ
2012            Everything Jersey City Jersey City, NJ
2012            Crafts on Grove Jersey City, NJ
2011            Arts at Hamilton Park Jersey City, NJ

 

Gallery Representation

Kyo Gallery - 111 South Patrick St. Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314

 

Collections and Commissions

J Peter Bradley LLC, Basking Ridge, NJ
Just Cabinetry, Bernardsville, NJ
Advanced Health and Physical Therapy, Bernardsville, NJ
Corporate Art Commission, Carrier & Multi-Pak Offices, West Caldwell, NJ
Private Collection of actress Deanna Russo and actor Michael Cassady, Los Angeles, CA
“Wall of Flowers” Private Collection, Fort Myers, FL
Indiegogo campaign perk for “Unstuck Guitar,” online
Private Collection, North Andover, MA
Private Collection, Gettysburg, PA
Private Collection, Flagstaff, AZ
Represented in private collections throughout NJ and NY

 

 



Press - online

Ann Martin, "Fine Art Collages from Upcycled Magazines and Books by Paper Artist Laura Shabazz," All Things Paper, 5/29/18
Janine Domingues Vasquez, "From Magazine Ads and Articles to Living
   Art: Collage Artist Laura Shabazz Breathes New Life to Old Pages,"
   Blog, 5/1/18

Priscilla Frank, “People Are Sending Trump Art To Guarantee Their
   Opinions Are Archived,” Huffington Post, Arts and Culture, 5/24/17

- “Atrium Gallery,” Morris Arts, May 2017
- “Recycle 2017,” Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, April 2017
- “Starbucks and RVCC team up for fundraising art show of Bernardsville
   woman’s work,” nj.com, October 2016

- “Bernardsville art show to benefit ‘More Than Me’ foundation,” New
   Jersey Hills Media Group, 10/24/16

 

Teaching

2018        Artist Demo - ARTsee Happening event, Ross Farm, Basking Ridge, NJ
2014-16   Workshop Leader - upcycled book page wreaths, Bernardsville
               Public
Library, Bernardsville, NJ
2014-15   Presenter, NJ Makers Day, Bernardsville Public Library,
               Bernardsville, NJ

2014        Workshop Leader – black-out poetry, Bernardsville Public Library,
              
Library, Bernardsville, NJ

 

Panels

2017        Healing Through Art Panel Participant, Montclair, NJ

 

Curatorial Projects

2015 - current    Altered Book Contest and Display, NJ Makers
                 Day, Bernardsville Public Library, Bernardsville, NJ

 

Professional Affiliations

2017 - current     Studio Montclair
2016 - current     ARTsee