I’m Laura Harrington, A British transplant, now living in New York City. An Advertising Art Director, Creative Director at The Young Creative Council and Founder of pattern & texture hunters: Touch Upon Studios.To date, I have worked in the advertising industry and surrounding world for just shy of nine years, on some of the World’s biggest clients, for some of the most prestigious agencies and shops. My work has taken me from working with the big names on the big screen to tactfully negotiating my way into the newspapers with the birth of Britain’s future King.
That’s when my love affair with New York began. But like most relationships, we’ve had our ups and our downs. To truly understand my artistic passion for New York you have to get through my hate first. New York isn’t the sort of city you can just rock up to and casually stroll in the door, it’s a melting pot of some of the most impassioned and driven people in the world and knowing it wasn’t going to be easy, I still wanted a piece of that. After all, as ‘they say’ (whoever they are) if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
Wandering from one interview to the next, I would find myself overshadowed by skyscrapers. Looming over me, covering the sun and cascading darkness over my mood. The sounds loud and the heat overbearing I started to miss the historic beauty of London and resent the sun stealers in front of me. I felt smaller somehow, smaller than I did in London.
So, I started to look for the smaller things of beauty within the jungle. I would wander around New York looking for little moments; little patterns within the architecture and that’s where my passion for charcoal rubbings was reignited – or, as I now like to call them: ‘touches’. I realized that through art, I found a side of New York that was unique to me these ‘touches’ would become fingerprints of the concrete jungle that made me fall head over heels for the city. The city I now call home.
Working in advertising I was never afraid to share an idea. The first thing you are taught at Ad school is that your ideas are not precious, ‘Don’t be afraid to kill your babies’ they often say – they never truly exist until your mum sees your work in the flesh. But this was more personal, an insight into my daily life – a charcoal journal of sorts, squirreled away on a pretty anonymous Instagram account, until one day I built up the courage to show my other half.
But that was then, and this is now (pretty much one year to the day!) And these touches are now on display in one of my favorite parts of Brooklyn, whilst I am working on commissions, generally running amok and all is right with the world.
New York thrives on diversity and that’s where you come in, that’s where we all come in. That is why it is such an amazing city – it pulls in the best no matter where you are from because we all had to fight that bit harder to be here.
I guess I’ll finish by saying, that my story is one of many but one thing I’m sure we’ve all learned is that New York needs us just as much as we need it.