At an age when most children were playing with dolls or toy cars, Laura Walker discovered that a simple pencil could turn a blank piece of lifeless paper into anything her creative mind could imagine. Her talents blossomed and when, in middle school, teachers, family and friends encouraged her artistic abilities, Laura decided to make art a career.
She grew up in Evansville, Indiana where she received a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with an emphasis in fine arts and a Master of Liberal Arts with an emphasis in cultural studies and art history at the University of Southern Indiana. While in school, Laura worked for a contemporary art gallery, and following graduation, worked in a museum of arts, history and science. In 2012, Laura moved to Salem, Oregon, where she lived with her husband, Jonathan, and three children, Lilly, Oliver and Aeva until 2017, when she moved to Ocala expressly to take the position of Cultural Arts and Sciences Division Head for the City of Ocala’s Recreation and Parks Department.
“I love it here,” she says. “Ocala is such a friendly town. It has a small town feel with all the amenities of a big city. The downtown is hopping until 10 o’clock and you don’t even see that in cities like San Francisco. It also has a very strong art scene. When it comes to art, this town really has a lot going on.”
Part of what’s going on is Laura’s art. She is an accomplished artist, producing stunning prints in both block print method and in the multicolor technique called intaglio, paintings comprised of acrylic on Masonite.
“In college I took printmaking under Michael Aakhus, and I fell in love with intaglio,” she says. “In making prints, you have to determine what is negative space and what the end print will be. It is actually the opposite of what you draw. It’s intriguing just processing the end result in your head. There are special tools, but I actually use construction nails to etch into an asphalt medium spread on a copper plate. I then dip the plate in an acid bath, renew the asphalt and then etch it again. Each new etching can be a different color or different shade. Then you can make as many prints as you want from the final product.”