Beasties Allsorts is the whimsical world of animal illustrations by Finnish visual artist Laura Merz. Laura graduated from Aalto university, School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki with a master degree in textile design and art in 2015. She specialises in experimental drawing, illustration, pattern design and other graphic art. You can find Laura’s illustrations in the Finnish children’s book Tuhat ja yksi otusta (A Thousand and One Creatures), published in 2016 by Etana Editions. You can view her full portfolio and CV on her main artist page www.designallsorts.com
Laura views her art practice as an endless quest for more spontaneous, intuitive, fun and energetic ways to draw. She offers tailored workshops in experimental drawing for children and adults. Laura is always keen to take on new projects and challenges. If you would like to suggest a commission, a workshop or other project, please navigate to the contact page for details.
“I have always had a passion for the natural world. Since I was little, I have been interested in animals - all kinds, big and small. As a child I kept pets ranging from snails, tadpoles and lobsters to cats, rabbits and goats, and as a teenager I worked at horse stables and farms. Now as an adult, animals often appear in my works both as themes for my drawings, as well as sometimes as physical material for my projects. My works often deal with environmental issues with a focus on how to improve our relationship with nature.
I am interested in how different physical nature experiences translate into the visual language of an artist. My drawings are informed by the real life encounters with domestic and wild animals I have had throughout my life. I believe that the drawing hand has a memory of itself. In the act of drawing, it transforms invisible, tacit knowledge - layers of past experiences - into something visible, into the form of an image. In my wildlife drawings I try to capture the essence and the energy of animals, the way I have experienced it, through intuitive, spontaneous and experimental drawing techniques.
Whilst drawing primarily from my personal nature experiences, I’m also inspired by the collective animal knowledge that is myths, stories and fables linked to animals in our culture. I am interested in the ambiguity of our depictions of other species, the grey area between human nature and animal nature in our imagery. The animal image serves as a tool to study the complexities of human existence, whilst simultaneously pondering how life is for other species. My drawings toy with both human and animal stereotypes. They are intuitive, subjective portraits that tell stories of mammals named humans meeting other animals, with a message that we should value and protect all species on our planet.”