On the Cover

Alumna takes artistic and altruistic journey

By Brett McPherson

Publish Date: October 22, 2014

"Lament," an exhibition by Lauri Lynnxe Murphy, runs through Nov. 9
at Leon
Art Gallery, 1112 E. 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218. Pictured:
"The Physical
Impossibility of Extinction in the Mind of Someone Living,"
2014. Foam, wood, 
resin, acrylic, fiberglass, plastic, glass, wiring.
Photo: Amanda Tipton

Having bartended in a punk rock club and figured out how to make a living as an artist, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy (B.F.A. fine art ’96) has set her sights on new creative directions.

For her latest journey, Murphy will travel across the country with self-sustaining living quarters — called a “tiny house” — in tow to raise awareness about environmental issues. She’s also packing plenty of her adventurous spirit on the trip, something that brought her to MSU Denver years ago.

“My family encouraged me to go to school but nobody showed me how,” said Murphy, who is the first in her family to graduate from college. “So I walked into MSU Denver and said ‘how do I go to school?’”

This resourcefulness inspired other members of the Murphy clan to obtain MSU Denver degrees of their own, including Lauri’s mother, brother and nephew.

Murphy credited her success and expanding aspirations to a well-rounded education at MSU Denver. “Academia exposes you to a lot of different things. A lot of what affected my art were classes in mythology and philosophy,” she said.

She described an extraordinary group of professors and colleagues in the Art Department at the time she attended the University, many of whom have successful careers in art now as she does. “It was a sort of a wonder-class,” she said.

Murphy’s artistic accomplishments include establishing Denver’s Ilk Gallery, having numerous exhibits of her work, and being asked to return to MSU Denver to speak to a senior thesis art class each year.  

This experience speaking to people will come in handy as she travels from state to state on her latest project, tentatively called “The May Day Experiment.”

“No one is talking about what sustainability really looks like,” she said. To her, it looks like a miniature domicile that is mobile and runs entirely off the grid.

One final project before leaving on her “tilting-at-windmills, save-the-world campaign,” was illustrating the fall 2014 issue of Metropolitan Denver Magazine. She said the process was like her other art projects: starting from disarray — papers in piles that would look like a mess to an outside observer. But over time the work takes shape until her vision is fully realized.

Much like her upcoming journey, her artwork is the result of arriving at a new creative destination — something for which Murphy constantly strives.

“It’s a part of my art process,” she says, “a part of who I am.”

EXPLORE the world of Laurie Lynnxe Murphy.