She’s definitely no paper tiger: Meet Lacy of Lacy Barry
Lacy Barry is a Paper Artist, Set Designer, and Interior Designer in Berlin, Germany
Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born at a very young age, near the Rocky Mountains of Canada. As a little spark I had an over-active imagination making for an intrinsic need to artistically express myself in anything within reach of my little fingers. But I was cripplingly shy & introverted so my mum signed me up for dance classes. I loved ballet, jazz, tap, it was an escape, and when I was training 6 days a week, touring North America with a dance company for most of summer vacation, (including sessions with Janet Jacksons Choreographer, OMG Rhythm Nation) I quit. My family was relocating to a smaller town in the Albertan countryside and I took up work apprenticing my dad, a sign-painter & artist who hand-lettered signs for film sets & businesses. My tasks included cleaning brushes and fetching 8 cups of coffee a day until I was skilled enough hold a quill and grace it like a pro. Taking on some sign-painting gigs on my own, I scraped together enough to enroll in a graphic design course and a part-time business class.
How did you get started as a Paper Artist & Set / Interior Designer?
After school I somehow contracted the wanderlust virus and moved to London where I tried to work as a fashion designer. It happened for a time, but when the dream was phasing, I moved to Los Angeles and took up work in TV & film productions. It was familiar and l was able to combine my maker abilities to wardrobe & set dec projects while developing collective art projects on the side. When the 2009 US recession hit, a bunch of work visas were being denied renewal, mine was one of them. I was forced to sell off my life in 3 weeks, kiss my lovely boyfriend good-bye and try to start again in Canada. Heart broken, jobless and with limited funds, I obtained a studio through friends in Montreal, it was there I managed to introduce myself to a well-known paper artist who kindly threw some paper set gigs my way. Without so much experience in paper, but previous set experience, graphic design education and some hard earned business acumen, I took to it like a fish to water. It wasn’t long until I was working with a fleet of photographers & directors in the inner circles of Montreal and eventually New York..
What was a defining moment in your life?
After designing a bar interior for friends in New York, I got a strong intuitive feeling to level up and relocate. A lot of friends thought I was crazy, concerned I would die alive in the rat-race let alone trying to pay rent. But I knew myself and I knew I had to do this or pack up my ambitions and retire to the comfortable life.
New York was really good to me, even the woodsman street style trends and taxidermy shop décor was a welcoming that seemed to reflect my mountain town upbringing. Just going outside in that city makes you feel like you’re in some insane musical. I hustled and made a mental list of everything I wanted to do, introducing myself to anyone regardless of social stature. I returned back to Montreal a couple times to design boards for a video game, a design fair and decorate shop windows for Tiffany & Co. but on my third arrival back to the city I was headhunted to do windows for LVMH (I turned down, cuz well this bird needs to fly), asked to art direct a music video for Matthew Dear, created windows for some 5th avenue shops, collaborated with various favorite photographers on agency gigs and debuted the first ‘Little Wing’ piece in a Brooklyn gallery along side street artists Faile and Swoon… Before hopping the pond to make my final move to Berlin, Germany
What fears or resistance did you face in that process?
Some administrative, some rejection, some heartbreaks, some flat-out sadness for situations I couldn’t help. Knowing I may lose friends along the way, or experience running from vampires late in central park or hafto eat pasta for a time when funds were low, or get stuck on the G train, or tuck your portfolio under your arm and go knock on doors, knowing the doors may not open. Yes it’s scary to put yourself out there, heartbreaks & setbacks are part of the human experience, but low-points can be constructive, even when you don’t realize it at the time. There were interludes where I need to hide, or feel sick or depressed or be anxious or kick a fence or seek therapy or eat a ton of cookies, but those moments are just as important as all the good stuff that comes my way.
Is there a favorite quote or mantra that gave (or gives) you inspiration? Or did you have a power song?
Haha no, but I do like to bust moves on my kitchen floor to Motown, the same kitchen floor I cry to classical orchestra on… though the albums in the past 6 months I keep going back to are Wildflower by the Avalanches (a cinematic album made with film clips) and Thundercats — Drunk… you should probably listen to one while reading this interview to set the moooood… ifyaknowwhatimean ;)
How do you define bravery?
Surviving, I mean what we have to do to stay alive is as brave as it gets! And most people have this, it’s when you start to listen to the good little voice inside and silence all the bad ones is when things really get crazy. 😃
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone facing a challenge?
This is gonna sound like a Beyoncé quote, but ‘Trust Yourself!!’. No one knows you more than you! And when you feel rejected or poor or straight up sad, pick yourself up and say; ‘Gurrrrl ( or Boi), you did your best, and that’s alright, be sad if you need to, and get down to it when you’re ready, I love youuuuu!..and btw, your hair looks great today.’ … then telepathically reach your future self and repeat it with a pat on your future self’s back … throw glitter in the air. *****