Artist of the Issue: Lou Lobdell

Lou Lobdell, "Consumption," oil on canvas. This piece investigates concepts of hunger and emptiness.

By Kailey Kairo

  Congratulations to this month’s Artist of the Issue, Lou Lobdell! Lobdell is a sophomore who’s majoring in both art and biology here at the University of Puget Sound. Their talent and enthusiasm for both of these disciplines has led them to become the Puget Sound Museum of Natural History’s second ever Artist-in-Residence, where he works as a docent and curatorial assistant. Alongside this museum work, Lobdell has developed an impressive personal portfolio of oil paintings that puts his passion for nature on full display. Lobdell clearly has a bright future ahead of him; keep an eye out for their future work – we’re certain it will be worth it!

Q: What led you to pursue an education in the arts? Is there a person in your life or a particular artist who inspires you?

A: I’ve always wanted to be an artist, even when I was really young—I illustrated comic books and fake magazines as a kid, and I was constantly doodling. One of my biggest inspirations is an artist named Tom Heflin, who was a friend of my paternal grandmother. She taught him in elementary school, and they stayed in touch. He was an incredible painter, and I grew up seeing his work. 

Q: You’re studying both biology and art—how does your passion for science inform your artistic goals?

A: Honestly, my passion for science is a huge part of my drive to create. Drawing helps me to better understand the world around me and interpret biological concepts. I feel that drawing and painting follow a similar process to the scientific method in terms of experimentation, and it’s natural to me to combine them. 

Q: You’re currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Puget Sound Museum of Natural History—what initially drew you to working with the museum? What are some of your favorite parts about this position?

A: The museum is actually what drew me to this campus! I’ve been in love with museums ever since I visited the Field Museum in Chicago as a kid, so working in a museum is a dream come true. The Puget Sound Museum has an incredible array of specimens, and coming face to face with that was like an aha moment—I just knew I was where I belonged. I especially love being able to share the joy that I feel in the museum with other people. Being able to hang out with docents and help direct some of their work is really fun and a great community. 

Q: What has been one of the most memorable parts of your art career so far?

A: During my senior year of highschool, I was actually able to display my work in a gallery for a showing. This was the first time I’d ever displayed my work on a larger scale, and I’m really proud of how the show came out. 

Q: Are you currently working on any new artistic projects? Are there any moods or themes that you’d like to capture in future works?

A:  I have a couple major pieces in the works right now, and I’m hoping to explore them further—lately I’ve been really caught up in canine and bird imagery. Something I’ve also been working on is using new media and combining mediums, which I don’t do a lot. I’m hoping to be able to display more work soon!