AURORA | Lane Geurkink’s artistic baptism at Baylor University in Texas was a rapid one.
The Norman, Oklahoma native had never taken an art class before enrolling at Baylor as a freshman, but that lack of experience didn’t deter her from quickly declaring a major: Fine arts.
“It was definitely an experiment and I still feel like it is an evolving experiment,” says Geurkink, who didn’t paint a stroke until her sophomore year in college. “I’m always going to be figuring it out, but for now it just kind of ebbs and flows.”
Now 27 and about five years removed from her tenure at Baylor, Geurkink is proving that a childhood of art school and classes isn’t imperative to a successful creative career. She’s now a bona fide, paid artist, splitting her efforts between a full-time job as a graphic designer for a church in Littleton and her painting pursuits. Her creative home base is housed in a diffident studio space tucked in a back cranny of Jubilee Roasting Co. on Kenton Street.
A longtime family friend of Jubilee owner and founder Peter Wanberg, Geurkink helped the entrepreneur refurbish the chameleonic space about a year ago and provided input as to what future artist residents would need.
“Peter asked me to move in, kind of as his guinea pig for the artist space,” she said.
Fast approaching her one-year anniversary of residing in Jubilee, Geurkink’s modest artistic nook is sprinkled with polychromatic canvases, tubes of paint and a single wooden desk. On a recent Monday afternoon, she lit a weathered oak-scented candle before talking through her various pieces.
Geurkink, a self-described abstract expressionist, said most of her work is the product of her frustrations with global current events.
“When I started painting, I was very personally upset about the state of the world and just how broken it is,” the young artist said while wrapped in a diaphanous purple kimono. “There’s a lot of good, too, but sometimes I think I tend to focus on some of the negative things that happen … I kind of started painting to cope with that.”
She often pens prayers or short poems on her canvases prior to coating them in paint as a way “to feel centered,” she said.
The space at Jubilee has proved to be an ideal home for Geurkink, who said she relishes the many chances to interact with other artists and patrons whenever she gets stuck or frustrated with a piece.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily an introverted artist — probably kind of somewhere in the middle,” she said. “I like being around people. So if paint’s drying or you’re getting frustrated with a piece, I love being able to go out and meet someone for coffee or talk to other artists and kind of have that community, which I think Peter is really good at fostering.”
Going forward, the Denver transplant said she’s content to continue to paint for the love of the medium, not because of any commercial or exterior pressure.
“I think that’s the nice thing about having two jobs: I can make money painting, but I don’t feel this immense pressure to paint things I don’t want to paint to pay my bills, or this pressure to have a certain amount of Instagram followers or anything like that,” she said. “I can just paint and it ebbs and flows.”
For now, Geurkink said she’s content to stretch her artistic horizons with more intentional color pallets, and to try her best to keep her checking account happy — most of the time.
“I just paint because I love it,” she said. “And I’ve been blessed enough to sell things and pay my bills on time — sometimes.”
This is the fourth installment in an ongoing series on the artists of Jubilee Roasting Company.