If the sun is rising, odds are that Lori Royce is wide-awake, taking in all the details of the colors, textures and shades as the sky transitions from dark to bright.
“I love seeing the colors change,” she says of her favorite time of day. “I love the darks turning to light, I love the lights turning to dark, I love movement. … I love the sunlight, how it sparkles like diamonds on the water. So I try and capture that.”
Working with pastels, oil and acrylic paints, Royce recreates scenes of sunrises, the ocean, palm trees and more onto each canvas. Now, she’s also transferring her creations into wearable pieces of art.
“You can literally take one of my canvases, wrap it around you, and you’ll look beautiful,” she says.
Raised in Miami, the Boynton Beach resident discovered her talents at age 3—when she started drawing trees, boats and animals; and she drew them well. By 12, she won honorable mention at an art show at the Dadeland Mall. After high school, she studied at the Ringling College of Art and Design, and Florida International University for her bachelor’s of fine arts. She’s been an artist professionally ever since.
“It is a job, but I love it so much,” she says. “It’s necessary for me to function in this world.”
Royce enjoys working outside, sometimes sitting all day by the water, entranced in her work. She’ll turn around at times and realize a crowd has gathered behind her, watching her paint. Hyper-focused, she only works on one piece at a time, which can take her anywhere from a week to five weeks to seven months to complete.
The hardest pieces for Royce to create are ones that incorporate faces of animals or humans, because she wants them to be perfect. She’ll stand before her canvas and analyze the jawline, the shape of the eyes, or the color of a person’s hair.
“I do get stuck, and I have to walk away a little bit,” she says. “I have to be happy with it before I sign my name to it.”
Her career expanded when earlier this year, the online clothing company VIDA reached out and asked her to join their group of artists who design clothing. From her home studio, she carefully finds the perfect positioning of her canvas pieces in order to work on media with movement. Now, fans of her artwork can purchase her wearable art in the form of blouses, scarves, capes, tote bags and pillows.
“When I first saw my artwork come to life on clothes, I was blown away,” she says. “I didn’t know if my artwork would be on clothes one day, but I knew it would transfer well in material.”
With her attention to detail, Royce ensures that lines, colors and focal points are at all the right places on her clothing. In fact, she once spent two days finding the perfect way to shift a sunset piece so that a bird flying through the air would be positioned on the shoulder of a cape.
“It needs to complement the color of the T-shirt, the cut of the T-shirt. Everything needs to fit together,” she says.
In time for the holidays, Royce will display her art at the Town Center at Boca Raton from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8. There, art lovers can also learn more about her wearable pieces through VIDA.
“I think the world would be a very boring place without the arts,” Royce says. “I think it’s necessary for the world.”