Lauren Eckstein Schonekas has always had a passion for art in both the physical form and in the process. As a native to New Orleans, Schonekas studied the dynamic forces of the city. Although there is much to celebrate in the food, music, art, and architecture of the city, Schonekas always acknowledged to conflicting reality of the poverty and pain that is not always observed by the naked eye. Her awareness of the contrast of the rich and poor shaped her perspective and created an appreciation for art as both a way to cope and communicate.
Schonekas harnessed this influence throughout her career, which began with Social Work during the aftermath of Katrina. As a grief and trauma counselor, she used art to enhance and direct her treatment with children. During this time, Schonekas also focused her creative energy, specializing in jewelry design through her company, Construct Jewelry, in which she transformed vintage pieces into unique and contemporary designs. As she began to form her own family, which took place in two-and-a-half years, her career quickly changed from Social Work to being a mother of three kids. Always an artist, Schonekas’ medium evolved from jewelry to paint, giving us her first mixed medium collection, the Bird Series.
Through this series, Schonekas explores nature through a different lens, giving the birds personality and expression beyond the confines of reality. Juxtaposing the technical detail found in the acrylic application of the birds with the whimsical and exuberant dimension of the feathers and gold leaf, Schonekas creates a whimsical menagerie that invites the audience to challenge the boundaries of reality.