Working at a snail's pace helps Denver artist create masterpieces

They call it a snail's pace for a reason.

KUSA - Cut, snip, pop out, repeat.

That was Lauri Lynnxe Murphy's life from April to June while she worked on a 24-foot installation for the Arvada Center's Paper Works exhibit.

She worked in her studio, bent over a table for hours at a time cutting shapes out of black paper with an X-ACTO knife.

"I already told myself that when this is all done, hot springs," Lauri said with a laugh.

It was late April when we met and she had just a few feet of her instillation finished. It was a slow process, and Lauri really couldn't help it.

She worked with a partner, and that partner could only go so fast.

"They call it a snail's pace for a reason, I guess," she said.

Lauri teamed up with more than 20 snails to get the job done. They worked together mostly at night; the snails crawled across paper leaving behind shiny trails, then Lauri cut around those trails leaving behind something she says looks like "a system of highways."

She met her "partners" accidentally in New York's Catskill Mountains a few years ago. Lauri was working on a completely different project on a residency at a farm. One day she was helping farmers pick snails off plants when she plopped one down on the cover of her sketchbook. She was fascinated at the drawing the snail left behind with its trail.

"I didn't really realize that I was going to be several years later still doing it," Lauri said.

Fast forward to June 2017 and Lauri's 24-foot instillation is hanging on one of the first walls you see walk into the Paper Works exhibit. Her snail's trails are cut out and overhead lights throw shadows onto the wall that make this massive piece of art pop.

"It was very moving to see it unrolled and be like, 'wow, this is what two months of working on this every day looks like,'" Lauri said.

She's not done.

Lauri's 20 snails have turned into hundreds. She says it was easy to breed them and the tiny babies will soon be big enough to start a new piece of snail art.

"I just want to keep on going," Lauri said. "I want to make more."

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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