By Sara E Teller
LULU CAMERON HAS BEEN A MULTI-TALENTED ARTIST FOR DECADES AND IS A CERTAINLY A FERNDALIAN AT HEART.
Before settling into her current space located at 395 W. Marshall St., she owned a studio in Hamtramck, as well as a storefront off of Main St. in downtown Royal Oak for 25 years. Then, after relocating out of state for a short time, she eventually came back to Michigan and settled into Ferndale.
“I was driving by my current space on Marshall one day and spotted the studio for rent,” she said, adding that she just knew it would be a perfect fit. She had been looking at a location in Oak Park, too, but Marshall instantly drew her in.
Cameron considers herself to be a serious artist, but she’s scaled back quite a bit in recent years. At one time she was doing many large, socially driven installations. These days, she prefers to work on smaller, more modest pieces. The last installation Cameron created was for the Flint water crisis.
Before shifting her artistic direction more towards “happy, carefree” pieces, Cameron also spent many years focusing on what she calls “not somber art, but art focused on the state of the world, current times and head space.” She coined this era, “Paradise Lost.” It became difficult, however, to continually be immersed in societal issues, especially after the onset of the pandemic, so she decided to put out positive pieces instead. “It’s still there, of course,” Cameron explained. “I’m just not going there myself all the time.”
WORKING NOW ON COLLAGE, ASSEMBLAGE, AND PAINTINGS, Cameron enjoys being in the heart of Ferndale, where she lives nearby and is able to make friends with store patrons.
“The young people of Ferndale have been totally amazing,” she said, warmly. “They come into the store often and have bought quite a few of my paintings. There are many apartments close by, and I get a lot of walk-ins as a result.” Pausing briefly, Cameron added, “I also put out biscuits on the windowsills and have made many dog friends along the way. And, right now, I’m giving away Cracker Jack boxes with purchases.”
During the past year and a half that she’s been at Marshall, Cameron has done little in the way of advertising due largely to Ferndale’s tight-knit, welcoming community. “It’s been absolutely delicious,” she said of the traction she’s gotten, adding, “It’s about two miles from my home, which is perfect.”
Another important shift in focus for Cameron and her work has been on connection. “COVID created a sense of isolation,” she said. “Life was forever changed. But the decision to open this space has been wonderful – it’s worked out tremendously.” She often enjoys the company of visiting artist friends in addition to her customers.
WHEN ASKED FROM WHERE SHE DRAWS HER CREATIVE INSPIRATION, CAMERON EXPLAINED, “I’ve been a painter, and an artist in general, for so long, but I still search for inspiration everywhere. I have about 35 illustrated journals, and sometimes I’ll take a look at past entries and be inspired by ideas that never came to fruition.”
She has also long been collecting various odds and ends for her collage work and will sort through these periodically, seeing what she can create from her finds. Cameron said, “I like to pick up unusual, handmade stuff, and I search all over. I don’t order anything from catalogues.”
Cameron paints the most during the winter months and has recently sold some of her latest creations. She said, “My price point reflects my age. I don’t want to hold onto pieces; I want to share them.”
When she isn’t in the studio or greeting guests at her store, Cameron’s creativity comes out in her other passions and pastimes. She especially enjoys gardening and has a canvas of perennials lining her front yard. She also likes to travel, and recently took her first trip since the pandemic with a friend. “Just yesterday, I also looked up the film theater schedule in Detroit,” she shared, and is hoping to delve back into her love of movies.
For more information on Lulu Cameron and her art, call 573-535-9370 or stop by 395 W. Marshall St.
Store hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M.