How did art and creativity completely absorb Loren Fidalgo's life and dreams? Well, perhaps it is because when Loren was a toddler, she carried around a shopping bag with handles (similar to the one's she designs now) and in that bag, she collected objects and materials that she could 'make things with'. Also, in her bag would be scissors and stuff that she cut up. Loren would cut up mail, cereal boxes and all sorts of 'PAPERS' (sometimes important papers). Loren loved cutting with scissors then and still does today. When there was something missing in the house... well, the family would say,"it's probably in Loren's bag" and it was! But was this where Loren learned and showed signs that she had an artistic gift and was destined to be an artist?
Probably somewhat, but she was also profoundly influenced by her Dad who was a brilliant toy designer for Kohiner Brothers. He was extremely absorbed with ideas and creativity and he was very instrumental in Loren’s early development as a creative soul. As it is history, creating art has been a drive in life since childhood through encouragement and support from her Dad. Loren's 'kooky' Dad would often bring home factory rejects from the toy plant and they would sit on the floor together and dream up things that could be made out of them. Loren’s Dad recognized early that his little girl had an artistic and creative side. After Loren had cut out of paper feet in different colors and pasted them to the walls from her bedroom to the kitchen, Loren's Dad stated emphatically, "I have to send her to art school!" He knew what needed to happen but little did he know what was ahead of her artistically, creatively and emotionally. Tragically, in 1974 Loren's Dad passed away when she was just fourteen. He was only forty. This was coupled by the loss of Loren’s Mom to an illness when she was just four years old. The loss of both parents, in her developing and formative years, undoubtedly, had an enormous and powerful effect on her both emotionally and creatively. But the influence for Loren's art didn't end with her Dad. Loren has learned in her adult life that her Mom was also an artist and writer and she was brilliant just as Loren's Dad was. Loren's Mom was Valedictorian of her high school class and could draw anything directly from her memory. It was the combination of these three influential forces that Loren was, born with a gift, exposed to art early on in her life and learning on her own to be creative, that has made her the artist she is today. The path to get to where she is today is an interesting one, to say the least.
Loren briefly attended a local community college, where she developed a strong interest in commercial art and graphic design. Not experiencing the growth and inspiration she needed and desired, Loren decided to take a huge leap of faith and left the comforts of Toms River, NJ., to enroll in Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA. This decision would change the direction of Loren’s life forever. It was at Moore that Loren first began to see her creativity soar. She began to define herself as an artist, and more importantly, she began to believe that she was indeed artistic, just as her Dad realized when she was a child. Although Loren majored in Advertising Design, her direction and creativity seemed to have a life of it’s own. Loren was often recognized for her ‘unconventional thinking’. She often impressed many of Moore’s faculty with her ‘zany designs’ and her ‘out of the box’ approach to her work. In her junior year, Loren took top honors by winning both “The Emily Sartain Traveling Fellowship” where Loren was able to research the history of toy making in England and Scotland and she also won the “Four A’s Advertising Internship’ in New York. Loren was granted a U.S. Patent in 1988 for a body contact game that she invented, called BUMPERS & LOOPERS TM.
After graduation, Loren's entrepreneurial side and her diverse skills, led her to a number of different vocational options. She did some Graphic Design work, such as logo designs and presentation slides as well as, hand painted clothing and pillows, which she sold at local craft fairs and small boutique shops. Loren also designed jewelry, using Polymer Clay, which she also sold at boutiques, but it wasn't until 2003 when Loren accidentally discovered the field of Art Licensing.
Art Licensing created the venue in which Loren’s cartoon and floral designs could flourish. All Loren’s designs could be adapted for use in commercial art. Loren taught herself Adobe Photoshop which allowed her many opportunities and leveled the playing field. In 2006 and 2007, Loren participated in the ‘Licensing Expo’ in New York City. Loren never thought that art licensing would change her path, but it did, and it turned her creative world upside down, again.
Although Art Licensing was a new direction that Loren’s career would take, she always relied on Ceramics as her 'artistic therapy'. Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, PA is a funded continuing art education center for adults, as well as children where Loren had been attended for over twenty years plus, taking only Ceramics classes. Then out of nowhere, Loren was taking by accident and again her artistic world would literally turn on it's head.
While attending one of her classes in 2008, on an uneventful day, a large, approximately 10 lb. vase, had fallen off of a shelf and toppled onto Loren's head. Loren did not have a concussion or any other symptoms, and resumed her everyday activities. Around one month after the head injury, Loren began to notice strong compelling thoughts and a 'calling' to express herself through painting and mixed media. She found herself moving from commercial artwork to fine art, and she decided to enroll in a painting class and leave Ceramics behind. Loren wanted a way to express herself more and found that painting and mixed media collage to do just that. She wanted to create in a way that was more meaningful to her. Loren loved painting anything and she first began painting in still life and then serendipitously found her way to abstract painting. Currently, she paints in a variety of subjects such as still life, conceptual/fantasy and abstract. Painting and mixed-media seemed to be the new mediums for her to pursue a career in art licensing, as well as fine art painting. Loren has adapted some of her commercial designs to a mixed media format and she has won four Honorable Mention awards in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 for her paintings exhibited in Fleisher’s Annual Students Shows. Some where between the time she began painting and today, she decided to try her hand again at art licensing. This time she was working in different mediums and styles and with a different mind set. She is now working to integrate her painting, mixed media and illustrative styles to create even more creative and unique designs.
Whether the head injury was the catalyst or a coincidence to her compelling obsession and 'calling' to painting and mixed media, Loren does not know? What she does know in that she is now 'smitten' with painting and mixed media and since she started, she has never looked back. Loren found these new mediums to express herself and to pursue her dreams as an artist just as her Dad believed she would in her childhood days. Little did either one know, that when she was sitting on the floor dreaming up imaginary art and ideas, and carrying a shopping bag with scissors to cut up everything in sight and when her Dad said, “I will have to send her to art school!”, he paved the way from the feet she put on the wall, for her art and creativity to become the center of her life's passion, her dreams, her journey and the savior of her life.