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05/14/2014 | Created by Darla Martin Tucker

La Sierra University art student Lauren Prado acknowledges her need for control over life, and as an artist she has found an outlet for her malady – a community of her own design over which she reigns.

Art senior Lauren Prado poses with "Favi from 1995," one of 29 works she will exhibit at Brandstater Gallery. (Photos by Dan Shepherd)
"Nena," embroidered batik by art senior Lauren Prado.

Prado is graduating in June with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in textiles, but before she marches to “Pomp and Circumstance,” she will put on display 29 human-like figures created from hand-embroidered, colorful batik pieces in a solo exhibit at La Sierra’s Brandstater Gallery. She calls her work “My Community” – it is a world where she calls the shots and her figures, culled from her imagination, tell her side of the story. “I’m quite the control freak, so I decided to micromanage a personal community for myself,” she said.

"My Community" will run May 19-30 with a reception held Mon., May 19, 6 -- 8 p.m. and an artist’s talk at 6:15 p.m. Admission is free.

Prado strives to bring out the figures’ inner souls, “breaking the human essence down into a tactile form that I have power over.” At the same time, she is relinquishing her control of the pieces through the process of creating and sewing, she said.

Prado allows her hands to lead the needle and threads to reflect her experiences of human interaction. She says she is stitching together “my side of the story, told my way. I’m creating textile people that I wish were real.”

Always dabbling in creativity and the arts through music, art and dancing, Prado’s interests in working with cloth and woven fabric are linked to her past efforts to engage in punk culture about 10 years ago without getting grounded by her parents. The punk culture interest morphed into a secret obsession, she said, expressed by drawing band logos on the backs of sweaters and sewing patches “onto every piece of clothing I owned. Even though my stitching wasn’t the best back then, I really think this opened a gateway for my love of sewing and fabrics,” said Prado.

As for artistic inspiration, Prado says she draws from the world around her, people she knows or randomly meets, and from every day objects. “It’s the cool pair of shoes from a magazine that I wish I could buy. It’s the color of my soda can and texture of my favorite coat.”

The creative stimuli remain in her subconscious until she begins work on a piece. Then she pulls from the reservoir and puts the puzzle together. For instance, her work titled “Favi from 1995,” depicting a woman with flame red hair, green blouse with brown flowers and brown skirt with small squares draws upon a vague memory of a woman Prado saw during a cousin’s baptismal service. “I was really young and for some reason, the pattern of her skirt is what I remember the clearest from that event,” she said.  

As for the future, Prado is laser focused on one goal – “I’m on the hunt for a super cool graduate program,” she said. 

La Sierra’s Brandstater Gallery is located in the Visual Art Center 112, Building 1. Gallery hours are Mon. – Thurs., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Fri., 10:30 a.m. – noon, Sun., 2 – 5 p.m. La Sierra University is at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside. Admission is free. For additional information call 951-785-2170.