Lauren Voiers is tired. Her flight from the US was circling above New York for an hour because Air Force One was dropping President Obama off to give a speech to Democrats in New Jersey.
“We only got here at 12, so I’ve had an hour's sleep,” said Lauren, as a dozen pairs of eyes follow the striking American artist through the lobby at the Liverpool Hilton. Her tiredness can't hide the excitement of being in Liverpool for the unveiling of her Lennon Peace & Harmony memorial sculpture. Sleep can wait.
The 19 year-old, in town for the ceremony at Chavasse Park by Liverpool One on Saturday, is the talk of art galleries around the world. The buzz is this self-taught artist is a prodigy.
“I don’t really think of myself like that, but it’s pretty awesome that people do. I’ve probably put about four years of my life into painting. That’s a lot of hours,” she laughs.
The Lennon Peace & Harmony artwork was originally a painting in July 2009. “I was trying to think what my idea of peace is. I was listening to John Lennon and it kinda came to me: music is a common denominator among everybody. So it was crucial to have that element in a peace painting.
“I decided to make it into a sculpture. Kinda through word
of mouth, his son Julian Lennon found out and asked me
to incorporate a white feather and dedicate it in honour
of John Lennon,” she told JMU Journalism.
Julian Lennon, attending the unveiling with his mother,
John's first wife, Cynthia, has said that the white
feather has always symbolised peace. Before he died,
Julian's dad told him that if anything should ever happen,
the white feather would mean he was at peace and Julian
would be fine.
In the last decade of the former Beatle’s life, he had
become a vocal symbol of peace, freedom and love. It's a
message Lauren thinks is just as important now as it was
in the 60s and 70s.
She said: “We still have the same problems today. It’s not
like there has been that big of a change. The message is still there and it is timeless.”
Jerry Goldman, managing director of The Beatles Story in Liverpool, said: "We hope that this imposing monument dedicated to John will become a place that people from all over the world will visit to contemplate peace and John Lennon's contribution to it through his music."
Music is a big part of Lauren’s life and she is a huge Beatles fan. “About a year ago I got on this kick again and it was funny because I was appreciating the Beatles in a completely different way than I did when I was a little girl. It’s kinda fate with all this happening,” she said.
Her studio apartment is in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, where she works too. “It’s great, I get up in the morning, have my coffee, watch the news and then paint for like six or seven hours,” she said.
Lauren hopes to see more of Liverpool while she is here, but this trip is dominated by her Lennon memorial. “I’ll definitely be coming back to Liverpool. It’s Paris next... I can’t wait!” she said.
EXCLUSIVE by Chris Bradley, Chief Reporter
John Lennon birthday special
Voiers at the 'Peace & Harmony' unveiling Pictures: Vegard Grott; YouTube: Lennon memorial explained
Are The Beatles still relevant?
YouTube: Lauren on her trip to Liverpool
Peace & Harmony pic gallery