Lauren Irving-Hughes is originally from Brighton, UK, but I grew up in San Francisco, CA, Nanaimo, BC, and Toronto, ON. She said that she was lucky to be raised by a well traveled family of storytellers and artists who have encouraged and accommodated her creative interests since before she can remember.
Lauren feels that there is a real appreciation for traditional fundamentals at Max the Mutt and there are very few schools in the Toronto that provide that. Lauren said she’s no longer sure her passion even lies in concept art, but feels the Concept Art program provides enough transferable skills. She also liked that she can attend while living from home which saves money, time, and energy; all valuable assets at this school. Max the Mutt has a real honed focus on particular niches of the industry that Lauren said that she truly couldn’t find anywhere else that provides classes on character design, visual storytelling in film, and classical oil painting.
She went on to say this about why she chose to study Concept Art, “At some point it really struck me that most of the industries I was interested in working in were male dominated, so I figured I wanted to go for the one I felt most ambitious about changing. I’ve grown pretty weary of witnessing men design the tacky female-presenting characters and story arcs accepted in a lot of current content when they have no first hand experience living that life.”
Lauren said that she’d love to contribute to the film or tattoo industries in some way or another one day. In the end, She feels that she has an obligation as an able-bodied white person to support and create platforms that nurture unconventional and underrepresented stories.
She has said that, given the current state of the world, it’s difficult for much of her generation to feel the invested drive to pursue a dream or feel passionate about a craft. For Lauren it’s hard to think about where she will want to be in 5 years when she doesn’t know where the socioeconomic political climate will be either. One day Lauren hopes to be able to create diverse, contentious content from anywhere in the world while remaining comfortably disillusioned from an ingrained capitalist mindset that states productivity equals worth.
The website link, for Dames Making Games, that Lauren provided is for a group in Toronto who has heavily inspired her in my time at Max the Mutt.