Laura Lashley: Local Winston-Salem Difference Makers

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

I knew Laura Lashley was a great person when I visited her studio in Downtown Winston, and she was working with an autistic artist, Jonathan Lindsay (30), who Lashley works with four hours a week. His parents were in his studio, and we realized that we had a lot in common, including that my mom was Jonathan’s speech teacher at Jefferson Elementary.

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Laura working with Jonathan

Lashley’s art can be seen all over our great city. She has murals on Trade St. and at ARTivity on the Green. You can also pick up her colorful work at Design Archives on Fourth Street. It will be available at Kleur, which is between Trade and Liberty Street, and at Hoots Flea Market starting this May.

Lashley grew up in Davidson County, but her family had a Winston-Salem address. After going to college at UNC-Charlotte, she lived in Austin, TX, but was homesick for North Carolina. She officially moved back to Winston in 1997. She is engaged to Spencer Pickle, and they will be married soon. They live with their dog (Early) and two cats (GG and Samba).

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Read Lashley’s unique answers below to find out why Winston-Salem is so special to Lashley:

Winston-Salem Questions:

Where is your studio? 
I share a studio with 13 other artists at 709 Patterson Ave.  We are the Electric Pyramid Studios. The building was originally a funeral home then became Pyramid Barber College.
In 2015 I painted lots of large paintings on buildings and walls downtown.  This year I have been working more in the studio and have very recently started working with a couple of students I used to have at the Enrichment Center. My dream is to open a gallery where I can feature the work of so many artists I know. They are adults with disabilities, but I don’t want that to be the focus because the artwork is so great no matter what!

Could you ever imagine leaving Winston-Salem and if so, where would you go? 
I love being so close to my parents and Spencer’s mom here in Winston (I can walk to my mom’s house). Spencer and I watch lots of travel shows on PBS and daydream of leaving the country one day. Sweden might be the top of the list. I also joke about living in Siberia and having pet foxes.More realistically- but still a fantasy right now- would be having a bit of land in NC or VA where we could have a small farm and artist’s retreat. Ideally we would have a little lake or pond (or be near a stream) and have lots of little renovated shipping container homes and a central lodge where people could come together for meals.

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Which Winston-Salem neighborhoods have you lived in? 
I lived on Spring St.  when I moved here in ’97 and downtown was a ghost town. I had an apartment all to myself on the top floor.There was a gorgeous view from my windows and there was roof top access. I fell in love with downtown then! I lived on Madison Ave. in Ardmore after that and loved it there too. I got really into gardening at that house. I very briefly lived at the Werehouse (Krankies), before buying my sweet house on Devonshire St. in Sunnyside. It’s a tiny house built in 1923 that I absolutely love!

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What different schools did you go to (both growing up and college)?
I went to North Davidson High School and UNC Charlotte.

Are there any local artists that have inspired you? Are there any famous artists?
There are lots of local artists: all of my Pyramid studio mates inspire me- especially Kat Lamp, Ian Dennis, Shawn Peters, and Andrew Fansler. I follow Woodie Anderson on Instagram and am always inspired by her. Some of the artists I want to feature in my gallery are Jonathan Lindsay, Ricky Needham, Adam LeFevre, and Raymond Mariani-all brilliant artists with their own unique style and vision. I have lots of Jody Ericson paintings in my house.She is from here but lives in Brooklyn now. I admire the work of Molly Grace Simpson too.
My current “famous” artist inspirations are Edna Andrade and Charley Harper. I have books of their work that I love to look through. Edna Andrade said, “I am concerned with geometric systems, ratio, color interaction, visual ambiguities, scale, archetypes. My ideas come from organic structures, crystallography, physics, gestalt psychology and from games, patterns, puzzles and sunsets at the end of Pine Street.”
I am in love with Charley Harpers style and admire his love and connection to the natural world.

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What are some of your favorite changes that have happened in Winston as you have grown up?
It has been interesting to see Winston-Salem evolve. I love the evolution of Krankies. It’s fun to say, “back in the 90’s I saw naked fire dancers in the performance space.”  I love that they have food now and that they are doing so well. I have always loved the buildings that are now the Innovation Quarter. I love how they looked empty and abandoned and how they are now all shiny and new! I love a/perture and Camino Bakery and Mary’s Gourmet Diner. And Kleur! And the Art Park! I am a big fan of modern design so anything Stitch has it’s hands in makes me very happy. I CAN’T WAIT to see the quarry park!!!! I love all the bike lanes and Phuzzphest.

What are your top three Winston-Salem restaurants of all time?
Mary’s, Mooney’s, and Krankies.  There are SO MANY new places that I have heard great things about and hope to try one day.  (the honey pot is on the top of that list).

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Are you more of a Hanes Mall or Thruway fan?
Not a fan of either!  I worked at Kinko’s in Thruway for about 8 years back in the day so I still have PTSD from that.

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
Hard question.  I have excellent memories of Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beaches but lately have also fallen in love with Nags Head and Ocracoke!

Where is your favorite place in the mountains in North Carolina? 
We love to take day trips to hike at Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock, and Stone Mountain as much as possible.  My friend has a place in Boone that is magical also.

What was your favorite concert at the original Ziggy’s (Baity Street)?
The only concert I remember going to there was David Byrne-and it was amazing!

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