Interview with Street Art Photographer: Lou Chamberlin

Lou Chamberlin SQUARE.jpg

Artist, photographer and author, Lou Chamberlin is one motivated and talented lady! I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing her about her creative journey, from hanging up her art teaching apron, to becoming a full time artist, street artist photographer and author!

Lou has a huge following on her instagram @streetartaustralia where she shares the fabulous images she has captured of street art from around the world. Lisa King perfectly summed up how skilled Lou is in a recent instagram post. Lisa praised Lou for being one of the few photographers that doesn’t alter the colours or add filters, but instead she is

“capturing the work in its truest form as the artist intended”.

Photo by Lou Chamberlin. Mural by Lisa King,  Jungle Queen,  Adelaide, 2018

Photo by Lou Chamberlin. Mural by Lisa King, Jungle Queen, Adelaide, 2018

Flick through the pages of Lou Chamberlin’s street art books and you will be inspired to travel, explore and appreciate the ever-changing landscape of our cities and suburban walls. Here's 6 questions I got to ask Lou...

 

1. What do you think the difference is between street art and graffiti?

"Street art is there for others to enjoy and graffiti is more personal. It’s more about the identity for the individuals and their peers."

 

2. What makes you passionate about street art?

"Because of how street art is available to everyone. You don’t have to stand in a quiet, white space like galleries; I really don’t know how galleries are surviving! Street art is readily available and readily understandable."

Photo by Lou Chamberlin in Croft Alley, Melbourne CBD, July 2018. Painting by Facter at left and Keomatch at the end of the lane.

Photo by Lou Chamberlin in Croft Alley, Melbourne CBD, July 2018. Painting by Facter at left and Keomatch at the end of the lane.

3. In your creative process, why do you need deadlines?

"If I don’t, I’ll read a book. I need to feel useful and have meaning to what I’m doing. With my own artwork I don’t exhibit. So it’s about honing in on skills that I can develop. It’s about creating something that is beautiful. It’s more about the act of creation. With my writing, that’s my job. It’s developed over time and I’m sharing something that I find engaging. I’m documenting and I get a sense of satisfaction when I hand it over."

 

4. What’s your favourite part about documenting street art and writing?

"Finding images that work well together. Designing the page that reads well because of the content of the image. I enjoy creating a well-balanced page that displays the beautiful art. That gives me a lot of pleasure and makes me realise how lucky I am to do this."

Photo by Lou Chamberlin. Mural by Sarah Boese, Adelaide, 2018.

Photo by Lou Chamberlin. Mural by Sarah Boese, Adelaide, 2018.

5. How important is acknowledging the artist in your instagram posts, both by tagging them and also taking a quality photograph?

"It’s essential that I acknowledge the artists. You’ve got to honour the art and the artist. When I take a photo, if the lighting isn’t right and I can’t get back to that wall, then I’m not going to post it. The art has to be looking its best. Sometimes I remove bins in laneways, or I stand back more and sometimes I even include the pedestrians walking past the mural. I value the artist’s reputation and I only ever post photos of progress shots with the permission of the artist. These days, street artists are pretty happy to be in them, they’re not hiding their face with their hat."

Photo by Vueey Le. Progress shot of Leah Grant painting for Living Colour Festival 2017.

Photo by Vueey Le. Progress shot of Leah Grant painting for Living Colour Festival 2017.

6. What’s your next project?

"In December my next book will be released. It’s all about text. It’s going to include international murals from 54 cities and 22 countries. It’s the first book that I’ve included graffiti in it! There is one with scrawled text “You are beautiful” and another that says “Bless You” written in chalk along the pavement in front of a church. It’s also about BIG and BEAUTIFUL TEXT."

That sure will be perfect timing! Just before Christmas a new book release from Lou Chamberlin! My wonderful friends and family, you now all now know what I’m buying you this year!

Seriously, there is so much gold in all Lou Chamberlain’s books. Here’s one of my favourite quotes from her book...

Sometimes [street art] is political, a voice for the socially conscious. It can provoke, challenge and delight. Often it makes the heart sing.
— Street Art international, Lou Chamberlin

What wall makes your heart sing?