‘I love the idea of inspiring the younger generation through expressive art’

CREATIVITY: Lauren Bouche and the children’s artwork

Lauren Bouche, a local sensory artist who loves to paint in a number of abstract ways, including with her hands and sometimes feet, has been the Artist in Residence at Langton Green Primary School during the summer term of 2023. Following her end-of-term exhibition last Thursday (July 20), Lauren spoke to Eileen Leahy about her work and why she believes it is so important to keep the arts alive in mainstream education…


For the past few months, artist Lauren Bouche has been going to Langton Green Primary School to help further pupils’ appreciation of the arts. She has been working with more than 400 schoolchildren in a variety of expressive workshops with the end goal of showcasing their creations in an exhibition.

After hours of painting with their feet, hands and brushes, Lauren and her students were successful in putting on a special exhibition showcasing their work last Thursday evening (July 20).

But before that took place, Lauren and the children put in a lot of hard work creating incredible supersized canvases – and if you follow the school or Lauren on social media, you would have been able to see them being worked on during this past summer term.

“Art and music are key parts of life at Langton Green Primary. The school loves to share, and celebrate art and music each and every day with the children as one element of providing them with cultural capital,” explains Lauren.

“The school champions working with different local creatives as ‘artists-in-residence’ in order to share the magic of the design process with their pupils and so when they got in touch with me, we became very quickly mutually excited about working together on this amazing project.”

Lauren says that her main aim, alongside inspiring the pupils, is that other schools will see this creative collaboration and be inspired to do something either with her or as a school.

“I suppose it’s about the message of educational establishments prioritising the arts, pupils’ individual wellbeing and having the ability to express themselves, but there has to be a fun element to all of this too,” smiles Lauren.

“Quite simply, doing this has been a wonderful chance for us to come together as a local community and truly make a difference.”

Lauren and the schoolchildren have worked on a pretty impressive large scale, mainly outside so they could stretch their artistic endeavours to the max.

“We have worked with huge scrolls of paper, PVC and Perspex. We’d put on music and get, quite literally, really hands-on.”

I ask Lauren how the project with Langton Green Primary School came about, to which she says they got in contact with her via Instagram.

“I am super grateful for that. I have always wanted to be an artist-in-residence and loved the idea of inspiring the younger generation to just go for it through expressive art. The idea of running specific workshops excited me, to be able to encourage creativity, expression and break down barriers through different mediums and music whilst creating artwork. I was also intrigued to see if the way I paint with my hands to create a piece of work was beneficial to others.”

Of the project, which ran from April to July, and the subsequent show last week, Lauren says she has had nothing but very positive feedback.

“This in itself is so rewarding on every level, let’s do it again! The teachers loved the idea of working outside and not in the boundaries of the classroom and felt it was liberating and creative. They also felt it was an amazing way to demonstrate that expressive art can take many forms and use many techniques.”

Lauren explains that she ran expressive workshops for each year group, so every single child got to experience a session with her.

“We always started with a warm-up on a large roll of paper with oil pastels and charcoal, then moved on to creating our abstract final pieces by using our hands – painting and experimenting with different techniques on Perspex and PVC fabric – all with the exhibition in mind to showcase the artwork.

Last week the art was hung from a ceiling in the school to create an immersive art installation and it will now be there permanently there as a tribute to the work Lauren and the primary pupils have done.

What does Lauren think the children gained from this creative experience?

“Firstly I think they loved just being outside and I feel they gained immense confidence working on a large scale. They learned how to work collaboratively in teams, with the exhibition in mind at the end of term as our clear goal.

“I really hope they found it refreshing and felt inspired to carry on or start something creative as a hobby or even a career. They just needed to have fun whilst expressing themselves in a totally different environment. I feel I have learnt so much from them too, they have inspired me to be more playful, have fun, let loose and change the medium for my next series of work!”

Lauren tells me that she wanted to work this way as she deems herself to be a holistic artist who loves focusing on the senses, creating a feeling and a mood.

“My art is tactile, large scale and expressive. I paint with my hands, random tools and sometimes even my feet to create pieces. The canvas feels like home, it’s the place to be vulnerable and to let out raw emotions using paint. A goal of mine is to create spaces for people to heal through movement and art,” she adds.

Lauren tells me that art has always been a part of her life: “It is deeply rooted, and ingrained inside me. I have never known anything different. From a very young age I remember always being drawn to arts and crafts. It runs in the family, my parents and grandparents are also very creative.”

Lauren studied at De Montfort University in Leicester and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Textile Design specialising in screen printing.

“This is where my love for movement came into play, the process from the original artwork to developing the primary source into a print, this really sparked an interest in me. For my final major project, I collaborated with dancers to produce tactile abstract prints.”

Lauren has had what she calls “a varied and exciting career” so far, working as an assistant stylist and also as a set assistant for Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Lauren is currently working at the Prince’s Trust supporting young people.

“This feels close to my heart as I was supported by the charity at one point. I live and breathe art, it is in my heart and soul. My ambition is to be a full-time holistic abstract artist.”



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