A candid conversation with up-and-coming artist, Oriana Lacau of Soy Milk and Berries

Feb 16, 2021 | Interviews

19 year old artist Oriana Lacau loves soy milk and berries so much she’s dedicated her art to it. Originally from Miami, Ori relocated to NYC to pursue a design degree at Parsons. Other than listening to Frank Ocean, Maria Isabel and eating pop-tarts, Ori runs an art account filled with everything she loves. 

Starting off, who is a TV character who you’d want to be friends with?

Honestly David from Schitt’s Creek. I feel like we’d be good friends, David and I.

Honestly, same.

I love all of your outfits, how would you describe your style?

My style is semi-laid back, on a day to day it’s pretty casual. If I’m doing something more special, I’d say it’s more colourful. I’ve had a big change in my style recently. At the beginning of 2020, I was like I’m going to take this more seriously and dress more how I want to dress. A bit edgy with a lot of colours.

And what are some of your favourite brands?

I’ve been really into I.Am.Gia which seems basic but they have really good pieces and good sales. I’ve been thrifting a lot and on Depop a lot. Definitely I.Am.Gia, I’m committed to them.

What is something you’re grateful for recently?

My parents! I stayed with them all of quarantine and we’ve always been really close but quarantine was really nice to be all together. Now that I’m back in New York I really miss all of them. We talk pretty often, they’re so supportive and great.

I have to ask, where did the name Soy Milk and Berries come from?

The art account was never meant to be public but I needed a random name and I still wanted to like it. I had another art account in 2017 but I ended up ghosting it because I hated the name so much. I was really just brainstorming and I preferred longer sounding names. I don’t eat dairy so I’m a huge soy milk fan and I love berries. So it’s just the essence of everything that I like. 

I love it. 

I’ve noticed you use a variety of art forms, what would you say is your favourite medium?

Digital art feels more comfortable but my all time favourite is embroidery. Not specifically on clothes or anything but just in general. Digital is what I do the most but nothing’s ever going to top embroidery. It’s so soothing to me.

I definitely want to get more into textiles and maybe start knitting a bit or weaving. It’s similar tactile wise to embroidery. I’m in the process of making a website so I can start selling some stuff. My dad works in tech so he’s helping me out with the programming side. It all started because I made a phone case and I want to sell my art. The reason it’s taking so long is because I want it to be perfect. 

Would you call yourself a perfectionist in terms of your art?

Yes. But I’ve learned to sort of let that go. If I focus too much on a piece for so long and I stress too much, I’ll never be satisfied with it and it’s not going to get me anywhere. I want to do it because it’s giving me some sort of enjoyment and pleasure and to be so focused on it really takes the run out of it. 

Who are some artists you look up to and who are you most influenced by?

Yeah! I was actually thinking about them recently. His name is Gabriel Alcala, he did a music video for the group LSD – Labrinth, Sia, Diplo. I also love this digital artist called Erik Winkowski, he does really cool digital work.

In terms of your What They Really Meant series, what inspired you to include powerful messages into your work? 

That was actually for school! I did an art class in high school and we had to do a concentration, really specific topic. Mine was satirical adverts of women in the late 70s/80s. It’s so hard to just not laugh when you look at it. The way that there was a trend of what women should look like and I was really fixated on the topic. 

How did you come up with your Productivity Series?

That one was also for class last semester, it was a final project and I was really grateful to both my professors. The way it started was we were meant to focus on a list of obsessions and what you were really obsessed with at the time in an alphabetical list. For P I had productivity and for T I had time. I did some more research and realised they were really just social constructs. There’s some sort of pressure in society with how much you’re doing and what you’re doing. Productivity is so subjective, in the US you’re productive if you make money and you’re productive if you’re busy all the time, not sleeping and a great worker. I was just trying to show how absurd that was. 

Speaking of school, how do you balance creating art for fun and creating art for school or a project?

That’s actually really hard because I wasn’t quite used to it when I started art school. It’s mixing passion with work and the lines can be quite blurred. Sometimes, I just get into a moment where I’m like I haven’t done a passion project in a while. Doing work and personal projects honestly feel different. When there are guidelines, it’s great for school. I just check in with myself and see how much time is going in for school, how much time is going in for Soy Milk and Berries and how much is for me. It’s important to allocate time. 

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve created?

I’d have to say this one. I have a strange emotional connection to this one, it’s when I started finding my new style. It was a little pin-drop on when I was finding my style. It’s just a random doodle I did in class. 

Follow Oriana, Soy Milk and Berries and stay tuned for something coming from Ori 😉

Interviewed by Anna Lowe