Lauretta Lowell is Featured Artist at Rancho Mirage Art Affaire

Overcomes personal challenges to find herself in artistic expression

Marcia Gawecki Arts & Entertainment 0 Comments


VIDEO: Artist Lauretta Lowell shows some new pieces as well as one she will always keep for herself.

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She had a promising career as a marketing executive, but a small plane crash in 1982 and a brain tumor 20 years later changed all that.

However, Lauretta Lowell considers herself lucky. She will be the "Featured Artist" at the 14th annual Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, Nov. 8-9, at Rancho Mirage Community Park, formerly Whitewater Park.

Six years ago, Lowell found her new calling by making mixed media assemblages that use vintage parts and harken back to the 1940s carnival shows. Each is a unique “puzzle” that helps in her recovery, while creating joy to those who collect them.

“I always had a knack for redoing things, and displayed odd objects in my home,” Lowell says from Palm Desert.

Photo by Ian L. Sitren

Lauretta Lowell finds the parts and puts them together herself.

But when her assemblages sold at an art show, Lowell embraced her new career. Now she supports herself by selling at regional shows and teaching private classes.

Her work is shown in art galleries, museums and is collected worldwide. She won a recent “Best of Show” award for “The Big O,” a 7-foot female ostrich with a dressmaker’s bodice smoking a cigarette. It now stands in her kitchen.

Like a chef combining different ingredients, Lowell finds all the parts and puts them together. She knows how to saw, drill, and weld.

Parts come from junkyards, high desert swap meets, dumpsters and online. Her latest eBay find was a set of veneers.

“To me, these are better than flowers or candy,” she says.

Photo by Ian L. Sitren

“Everything I make has a story about some aspect of my life,” says Lauretta Lowell.

Other times, people call her up with treasures. When a friend led her inside an old meat locker with a 6-foot-2-inch artist’s wooden mannequin strewn in pieces across the floor, she could hardly contain herself. She painted him over in bright colors, and opened up his chest cavity to showcase his heart. On the door hinge she wrote, “Open Carefully.”

“Many people think assemblage is just nailing old things to boards,” Lowell explains. “But everything I make is reassembled, painted over and given a new look.”

At her booth at the Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, people walk in, curious and amused. Many ask Lowell about her process.

“Everything I make has a story about some aspect of my life,” she says. “Yet people relate to them from their own experiences.”

Visit for more information on Lauretta’s work.

2014 Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, Nov. 8-9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, Rancho Mirage Community Park, 71-560 San Jacinto Drive, (760) 324-4511, www.ranchomiragegov/art-affaire/


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