Excited by the everyday, Or Lapid’s practice captures fleeting moments of beautiful mundanity
Bringing the usually invisible to life, Or’s colourful and candid observational paintings express optimism and anonymous individuality.
- Harry Bennett
- 21 April 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Wandering and waiting for the everyday to catch her eye, the Tel-Aviv-based artist and illustrator Or Lapid finds a way to effortlessly extract the banal of the domestic and translate it into humble, colourful paintings that highlight the beauty within the scene. “My practice starts by documenting daily moments on camera,” Or explains, interpreting these photographs by “reducing them into figures and bright colours, mostly using gouache paints on a small scale.” This becomes a positively repetitive process by way of “constantly revisiting and deconstructing these moments,” in doing so discovering what she finds most exciting.
“People interest me,” she tells us, “especially people and moments who I think are usually invisible to the average passerby.” Through her practice, Or becomes a flaneur, strolling the streets with no place to go or be, only there to observe. This somewhat psycho-geographic mindset is the primary source of Or’s inspiration – “I love to roam around the city, its sites, the sea, the museum and watch people pass through these places,” she says, “there’s something about the simplicity and effortlessness of people going about their everyday lives that excites me.”
Or’s incredible skill and attention to detail is demonstrated in how she distils her scenes down to their bare bones, leaving only colour, pattern and shape, yet still managing to capture and celebrate the beauty and essence of the individual. It could be the focus on the “colours they wear, the way a couple holds each others’ hands or the way that they carry themselves.” The conclusion drawn from these illustrations is the experience of life that is “revealed by their outfits and body language,” that “represent a striking contrast to the post-modern, temporary, and fast-paced world that we live in.”
This is also complemented in the process Or undergoes in producing her work. Starting with photography, something that is fast and immediate, she then translates that into something more concise, considered and slower. The notion of time and progress is very apparent in her work through the way we are presented with individual subjects “from the everyday, supposedly mundane moments” frozen in time – “these moments have a fragility and authenticity that I find very beautiful and optimistic,” Or tells us. It encourages us to fill in what Or has left blank, including the untold story of those depicted. She explains that “capturing a moment when nothing seems to be happening except two old, wrinkled hands embracing one another touches me because it hints at a love that has lasted for many years.” There is an intimacy between the characters of the paintings that we seemingly have the privilege to see.
The form of Or’s paintings began from a place of comfort – a chosen perspective from behind the stranger. Or chose this initially “because it is far less embarrassing or disturbing to take pictures of a stranger’s back instead of their face,” however she has since embraced this viewpoint due to how the subjects “remain anonymous” but still “convey their individuality.” This frees Or to interpret the content as she wishes, be it “the pattern of their shirt, the fruits they carry in their shopping bag or the shape of their body.” At the same time, this perspective provides room to speculate on the story of the subject. “By viewing these figures from behind, it gives a perspective of moving towards something,” Or explains.
This is what Or finds most rewarding about her practice, being able to share a mutual excitement with others, reliving moments and painting them. “When I create something new out of these experiences, they become my own souvenirs,” she admits, having the most fun when “hunting for inspirational moments...” There is a romance to the process for Or, explaining “I don’t necessarily always look for moments like this, but when I do witness them, it feels like magic – and I catch them...there is a thrill in this act, almost like stealing from a candy store.”
Intending to pursue a master’s degree abroad, Or considers her future practice and drive to develop, telling us “I believe that in order to evolve as an artist and stay interested I need to get out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons, see new places, and meet new people.”
About the Author
After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. Feel free to get in contact with Harry about new and upcoming creative projects.