Grace Lang makes art out of her demons

Grace Lang’s artwork is arresting. You want to both look and not look at the same time.

“A big theme in my work has to do with the idea of overcoming personal struggles by confronting them, taming them, and then allowing the remnants of that battle to serve you productively,” Lang, 27, says. 

“Everybody has demons. We all have some darkness inside us and to ignore that really limits one’s level of self-awareness and ability to connect with others. The moments in which we overcome and possibly even embrace our own inner demons lead to the most positive self-realizations.”

Grace Lang

Brooklyn, the residence Lang adopted five years ago, is giving her more room to explore. “I wanted more space and to be somewhere a bit quieter, but I’ve always stayed in New York because I like being close to my family, but also because it is a city that values art,” she says. "Plus, the chaos and movement keeps me motivated to work. It feels like everybody in New York is constantly hustling and I feed off that energy.”

We caught up with Lang to learn a little more about her life—and art:

Who were your first mentors?

My mom was the first artist in my life. She was a costume designer, and the first real drawings I can remember doing were copies of her illustrations. All of my earliest art memories involve my mom—lots of craft projects and encouragement. Ever since I can remember, my family has treated me like an artist, and I think having that identity for so long instilled a pretty deep confidence in my chosen path.

What piece represents where you want to go as an artist?

I am really happy with my recent sculpture “Sublime Feeding,” because it’s unlike any other piece I’ve made before. I like to work in both two- and three-dimensional media, but lately I have been extra excited about sculpting since it is less familiar to me, which means I end up experimenting a lot. Now that I feel pretty comfortable rendering my ideas in ceramic, I am hoping to start working bigger. Like MUCH bigger. I want to sculpt life-size. I’m also eager to continue painting big—hopefully some cool mural gigs will come up in the New Year. I really just want to keep growing, skill-wise, and entertain myself through my work.

What do you like to do in your free time outside of art?

I love to read, wander around new cities, and re-watch the same TV shows over and over. Sometimes I need a break from the city, so I go upstate to my parents’ house like once a month, where I can see cows and stars and experience total quiet at night. It’s a nice re-charge. Spending time with my niece and nephew is pretty high up on the list too.

Favorite Nectar style?

I have one tester pair that’s got the same shape as the Isla style, although the color is a bit different. The Beryl style is classic, too, but sometimes I want a pop of color and opt for the Dank or Southside style. I love colorful reflective lenses. I don’t wear a ton of color, so the dark green and teal polarized shades are a really nice way to brighten up a dark outfit. Plus, obviously sun protection is important! 

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