Artist returns to hometown to showcase work

Don't try to pigeonhole Hinsdale native Stephanie Lenchard-Warren into one creative category. She believes an interdisciplinary portfolio that incorporates visuals, words and sound elevates her art.

"I think there's value in all mediums because they cause your brain to work in different ways," she said. "For me it's interesting to kind of jump between these genres and sometimes let them mingle."

Lenchard-Warren's exhibit, "Your Dreams Remember You," is currently on display on The Community House's second floor. The compilation of digitally rendered drawings takes the viewer into a kind of fantastical landscape (see Page 18 for details).

"This work is a collection of illustrations that I've made over the past few years," she said. "Really they're about the bridge between dreams and reality and how, in our dream-world mind, you create things that relate to your waking mind."

One captivating piece depicts a hooded female figure extending her hand to an approaching bat, accompanied by the text, "I made friends with my demons when I realized they were just trying to teach me something."

Lenchard-Warren said she likes to explore the relationship between light and darkness, life and death.

"I've come to find that dichotomies aren't really opposite, they're just part of a spectrum on a circle that can overlap," she said.

International folklore and anatomy are two elements that feature prominently in her work. Lenchard-Warren said studying at the University of Illinois rather than an art-focused school afforded her exposure to different disciplines.

"I worked with botanists for my thesis, and I got to study some anatomy and study different folklore and cultural things," she related.

How societies use narratives to deal with life's adversity fascinates her.

"Falling on hard times, I find that people tend to fall into stories," Lenchard-Warren said. "I think that stories have this amazing duality where they can offer us an escape and a way to face our problems simultaneously. That's something I definitely carry with me in my work."

Lenchard-Warren praised the fertile landscape that Hinsdale offers the creative-minded, from classes at The Lane and Hinsdale Central to arts programs at The Community House, where she is serving as an instructor.

"I'm very grateful to have had these opportunities growing up here," she said.

She regards the interplay of various expressions as core to her art and has been leaning into graphic storytelling as well as songwriting to expand her vision.

"I think of it as the atmosphere of my mind and curating my own little universe to foster meaning in. And that's something I want to share."

Lenchard-Warren was heartened by the turnout for last month's gallery opening event and enjoys hearing people's reactions to the exhibit, whatever they may be.

She likes the saying, "Art is meant to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable."

"I love being able to put on shows and interact with people," she said. "We're all sharing this human experience, and really that's what art is about."

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean