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Ole Miss Alumna, Lauren Dayan, Climbs Into the Local Art Scene One Peak at a Time

Historically, Ole Miss has proven to have a knack for cranking out artists in every imaginable media. It cannot be coincidence that the UM Art Department continually adds to and maintains a laundry list of both successfully established and up and coming artists.

Oxford artist, Lauren Dayan
Oxford artist, Lauren Dayan

2015 Ole Miss graduate, Lauren Dayan, took the long, steep route to become the pen and ink sketch artist she has become today; technically, “a graphite and micron pen artist,” according to Dayan.

“I have a proclivity for monochromatic schemes that are rendered with the use of the both mediums,” Dayan said. “I just love the feelings that ‘dark’ drawings evoke – think Edward Gorey and Tim Burton.”

Although a 2010 graduate of Oxford High School, Dayan never participated in any art classes while in attendance there, even though she had been drawing passionately for years. It was not until her junior year at Ole Miss when she began her formal training.

Drawn by Oxford artist Lauren Dayan
Drawn by Oxford artist Lauren Dayan

“I graduated from Ole Miss in May of 2015 after being a part-time student for five years,” Dayan said. “My major was psychology and, in my junior year, I decided on art as my minor.”

After Dayan and her two sisters completed several years of homeschooling where creativity was encouraged by her musically-gifted parents, entering public education somewhat buffered her enthusiasm for sketch art – or any art for that matter.

“I am willing to say that most of the people I grew up had no idea that I liked to draw,” Dayan said. “Going from an environment at home where all creativity was appreciated into one of judgment was quite a shock.”

Obviously, that shock wore off as Dayan is now successfully cranking out both unsolicited pieces and, most important to her, projects for family and friends.

“Most of the time people contact me personally when they want a commission or to purchase one of my pieces,” Dayan said. “But, I also have a website and an Instagram account where everyone can see what I’m up to.”

An avid hiker and climber, Dayan has met the challenge presented by several peaks and hikes throughout her life – peaks such as Mount Rainer, for example. Those challenges will certainly aid her as she now navigates the maze of commercial art production.

“I have been to Colorado twice since the summer and did a handful of day hikes each time, but nothing as intense as Mount Rainier,” Dayan said. “I am hoping that since my parents have relocated there, to Colorado, I can climb Longs Peak, a 14,259-foot peak located in the Rocky Mountains, next summer.”

Artist Lauren Dayan's most influential muse, Fergus
Artist Lauren Dayan’s most influential muse, Fergus

For the moment, however, hiking has been put on the back burner as Dayan is focused on her art commissions as well as promoting her passion.

“Right now I am in between showings,” she stated. “I did the Motel Art Show here in Oxford a few weeks ago and soon I will participate in a Christmas art sale with a few other local artists.”

For the immediate future, Dayan is concentrating on the holidays and her lifelong passion of creating an illustrated book, “specifically a picture book that can be read and enjoyed by everyone,” she mused.

For more information on Dayan or to shop her unique drawings, visit laurendayan.com or visit her Facebook, Etsy or Instagram pages.

Just tell her Fergus sent you.


Jeff McVay is the staff writer and graphic designer at HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at jeff.mcvay@hottytoddy.com.

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