Art by Ogus Psychedelic Leggings
An interview with Lindsay Ogus of Art by Ogus.
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. My name is Lindsay Ogus, I am a Toronto-born 26 year-old painter, business owner, creativity-fanatic I have always been an artistically driven person— painting, writing, acting, producing, you name it. I studied political science and anthropology at McGill University but dropped out after three years when I could no longer resist the urge to pursue a career in the arts. I eventually made the terrifying decision to go for it and it was then that I began my foray into the colourful world of creative work. I organized art shows, worked as a professional art writer, acted, did some music and film producing, all the while continuing to paint in secret. Despite being a painter my whole life, I didn’t gather the gusto to show or even mention my work to people until about a year ago.
It was last July 2017 when my whole life changed radically. I was hard at work on the final stages of a film I was producing about empowering Muslim female artists, and a best friend of mine turned to me and with shiver-inducing conviction said: “Lindsay, you can’t keep painting in the shadows, it’s time to do something with your art. I have a gut feeling you are going to go places with it and I’m going to help you.” I can say without a shred of doubt that this friend was the reason any of this even started. Without her unwavering faith in me and steadfast drive to get things off the ground I wouldn’t have exhibited my work at art shows, I wouldn’t have moved into the fashion space and I certainly wouldn’t have started my business.
When did you start painting?
I started painting and drawing when I was a young kid almost out of necessity. I was an obese child, my parents were divorced leaving my sister and I in the middle of a brutal battle, living cooped up with her and my mom in a tiny apartment. My grandparents were adamant that I went to a good school where I could meet other “Jews like myself”, and in grade 3 I was plucked and plunged into the world of Forest Hill (Drake’s infamous stomping ground—fun fact!). There I was amongst rich, well-bred nuclear families where the UGG and Juicy Couture-clad kids resided and I just knew that I couldn’t compete. Inevitably, the bullying ensured and quite frankly didn’t end until the day I graduated high school from Forest Hill Collegiate. Throughout that entire time, my art was one of the few things that kept me sane in times of deep loneliness. Art became like this protective bubble that allowed me to imagine and manifest new, magical worlds that I felt I belonged to— abstract and colourful worlds that spoke to my soul.
Q. Tell me about your process? What materials do you like to use? Is there symbolism in the designs you create?
A. I almost always use wood panel as my working surface. It’s natural and unlike canvas, the smooth surface of the wood allows me to achieve the type of intricacy you see in my work. I paint generally with acrylics and in some of my pieces use iridescent paints to create a shimmery, whimsical effect.
My paintings are very symbolic but it took me some time before I realized this. As I’ve said, for most of my life, I couldn’t find a place where I fit. Very early on I began the practice of painting the worlds I wanted to belong to. This meant looking beyond the physical world to my imagination. Soon enough I learned how to use painting as a portal into the spiritual, abstract realm of feelings, thoughts, and guidance. Every morning, I get behind the easel and I enter this world. In the silence, I put my brush to the panel and let the designs move through me as I intuitively guide my hand to create the forms you see. Slowly I’ll watch as my meditative state manifests into a visual work of art. Eventually, I started noticing similarities between my artwork and patterns in nature, the subatomic realm of molecules and biological forms, and the sacred geometry of mandalas. It occurred to me that this was something I was tapping into, that I was trying to recreate the most basic and fundamental patterns of life.
Q. Tell me more about Art by Ogus? What sets you apart?
A. Art By Ogus has two distinct branches. There is the clothing company which consists of my original line of hand-painted embossed textiles (leggings, shoes, socks, tees). And then there is my work as a painter, which allows me to create the physical pieces of artwork that you see on my products. I personally feel very strongly about increasing the number of thriving female-led businesses. I think it’s essential for us as a society to appreciate this exciting moment in history. We are in the midst of a renaissance of female empowerment, spearheaded by scores of women who are speaking up, being bold with their ideas and asserting their power. Art By Ogus is my small way of contributing this magnificent wave of enterprising females who create successful, meaningful ventures that add value to the communities they serve.
In terms of future projects—I have two on the go. I am currently in talks with a few companies in the mental health and wellness space to increase the social impact of my work. Additionally, I am planning to launch a blog geared toward female entrepreneurs supporting and promoting one another as opposed to competing. Meanwhile, I remain open to anyone with a cool idea who wants to get in touch!
Q. Have you ever been to Burning Man? These designs exude that vibe of cosmic vibes and particles.
A. I have not yet been! Which is still a shock to me and most of my friends. I’ve always been so entranced by the visionary aesthetic of the festival scene and have for a long time wanted to introduce my work into it and as I feel a definite resonance. My plan is to attend in the near future!
As for particles and cosmic vibes— I was a huge science geek back in high school and was and still am especially passionate about chemistry, particle physics, and astronomy. Much of what you see in my work is reflective of my years steeped in the mysticism of scientific literature.