“Tree of Knowledge” (laser-cut wood) by Lainie Paris (Photo: Michelle Poirier)

Lainie Paris

“Tree of Knowledge”

Lainie Paris is a mixed-media artist.

“This piece illustrates the expansive growth of knowledge during Shavuot. It combines old symbols—like the tree stretching through limits—executed with new technology: software and a laser cutter. This piece is also inspired by the Jewish people’s strength and resilience in the Pesach (Passover) story. Despite many hardships, they grew to become a strong nation, which I represent with a tree growing out of the confines of its box.”

“Tree of Knowledge” by Lainie Paris (Photo: Michelle Poirier)
Lainie Paris (Courtesy photo)

Lainie Paris graduated from Gann Academy in 2021. She has always loved the arts and has spent her free time on countless projects for as long as she can remember. She loves to explore different media and has created pieces with anything from paint and clay to beads and metal.

In her final semester of high school, Lainie participated in a sculpture and 3D design class, in which she created her piece “Tree of Knowledge.” There, she was able to take on new artistic challenges and discover many new techniques in many new media. She can’t wait to see where her artistic journey takes her and looks forward to continuing to combine her creativity with her Jewish identity.

How does your connection to Jewish community influence your art?

I find that I use my art both for fun and self-expression. While many of my pieces are an entertaining endeavor, many reflect a part of me or my identity. Being part of the Jewish community has greatly impacted who I am today and has given me a unique perspective that influences my art-making. In some instances, such as my “Tree of Knowledge,” I set out to create something that represents Jewish themes and values that I resonate with. In another instance, my Jewish identity has merged with my creativity in my tradition of making place cards for our Rosh Hashanah meals and Passover seders. By assigning a fun and recurring project to family-filled and meaningful holidays, my love for art has enhanced my love for such holidays and Jewish practices.

Finish this thought: In order to create, I need…

A challenge. I love to discover new ways of creating and solving the “puzzle” that is a new project. Overcoming obstacles through artistic innovation is what makes art-making so exciting for me. In a way, I cross over engineering and art so that I not only have a final product, but a meaningful process as well.

What’s your next artistic project or challenge?

I will be spending the 2021–2022 school year at Midreshet Emunah V’Omanut in Jerusalem before going to college. It’s a Jewish seminary that integrates art and music into its Torah learning. The year will be filled with creative challenges and Jewish learning that will inspire my art. My goal for the year is to expand on my Jewish and artistic identities and further explore how they overlap.

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