If you didn’t already know, my name is Lauren Washington but I go by the alias of LOMEDIA. I like to think of myself as a multifaceted storyteller because everything I do is intertwined with the stories I want to tell. Coupled with that, I love building new pathways because I am never satisfied with the way things are just because that is the way it has always been. In 2017, I co-founded Project FILO alongside my brother to develop a creative ecosystem by artists & for artists. Screenwriting and writing, in general, is my cathartic release, it is my driving principle behind why I love art. I’m driven by how stories connect people, my experiences, and all the thoughts that race my mind. Through my words, I can craft worlds and I love doing so with photography, directing, videography, and anything my heart desires because all art is interconnected for me. I never planned on having an artist name, so to speak, but when I was contemplating starting Youtube years ago I thought of this name. I even made this intro that I never used. I never realized I’d be embracing it in this way and realizing how everything begins with my words. It helps free me from this limiting idea that an artist has to choose one lane and stick to it because all art forms fuel my creativity, and LOMEDIA encompasses my budding universe.
To take it back even further, my storytelling journey really began in 2017 once I realized I wanted to pursue telling stories, but still not really knowing what that meant. I’ve always loved to write and took film photography courses in high school but had no idea it’d turn into something I’m so passionate about because prior to that, my main focus was sports aka gymnastics and soccer. Fast forward to college, I was engrossed in the world of film studying both film and entrepreneurship during my time at Northwestern. Everything took a while to fully connect until truly the end of 2021 with all of my interests and experiences that I’ve embarked on the past four years with concert photography, music videos, cover shoots, short films, connecting with artists, learning how to throw events with A&O Productions, and so much more.
A conversation the summer of freshman year with Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and traveling to LA for the first time gave me clarity on how to move forward intentionally and cancel out all of the noise. Come sophomore year, everything started coming to fruition with incredible opportunities that helped me feel less scrambled. I made my first short documentary film as a 1 woman crew, connected with incredible artists, started developing my artistic voice as a screenwriter, and I was accepted as an intern to go to the Cannes Film Festival Summer 2020. I spent the year finding incredible networks and communities to rally around in the film industry because quite frankly, I felt isolated as a Black woman studying film and didn’t want to wait for opportunities. I had committed myself so intensely to a path balancing my dreams of breaking into the film industry along with being a creative entrepreneur + freelance artist as an additional plus. I did not at the time see how all three intertwined but when the pandemic hit, I felt a bit lost because I had so many things lined up and had been on auto-pilot working so hard.
Quarantine made me slow down, and getting so introspective made me re-evaluate a lot about my path onwards.
The redirection honestly changed my life because navigating both the demands of academia, the year of 2020, and my own personal drive had me circling in and out of being high functioning + depressed to the point where I didn’t know how to really feel or express things. The unprecedented nature of this time we are living in and the depths of the unknown somehow led me to a crucial piece of the puzzle that I didn’t know was possible.
I stumbled upon Web3 in 2020 due to a number of Clubhouse talks and advice from friends. Therefore, I decided to experiment with NFT’s finally after receiving an invite to Foundation from @iArtSometimes. I released my first collection all shot on my iPhone in my room during quarantine entitled ‘Cut Me,’ inspired by Moses Sumney.
This collection changed my life and I’m super thankful to all who collected those pieces. I have to give a special shoutout to @blackksneakers who would make these lists calling for Black NFT artists to share their work, and because of that thread she bid on my piece which @coryvanlew ended up collecting. That moment helped me feel seen and more passionate about continuing in this space not just because of the bids, but the fact that two Black artists that I admire wanted to buy my work, it hit so different. I’ve never felt so connected directly to the artist community and especially Black artists until web3. I had no idea what I was really doing, the past year has been experimentation on the blockchain on different marketplaces, connecting with incredible people who have turned into family, interviews from the press, and a series of awakenings. Without it, 2021 would’ve been immensely more difficult than it already was for me. One of the most impactful moments for me was partaking in the Digital Diaspora curated by the incredibly talented Diana Sinclair who I met through Twitter and ended up changing my life. That was my first gallery show, ‘Cut Me 002’ was displayed in Times Square, and I photographed a whole collection around the piece I submitted that is tied back to my short film, Restoration.
This was a pivotal turning point for me because I finally saw the connection of my photography and any art I want to do to my scripts and films. I simply love creating worlds around my words and with that, the whole playing field changed for me. The next turning point for me was stumbling across the world of DAOs aka decentralized autonomous orgs (much thanks to DAO OG @stefdelev for the guidance). I joined HerStoryDAO shortly before the Digital Diaspora and have since joined others like Protein, became a fellow for FWB, and am building + working on others currently (article on DAOs coming soon).
The past year has been quite intense but with web3, it has been a re-wiring of the body, mind, and spirit. I haven’t felt a beacon of light like this in awhile. Mentally, I’ve been able to dream more, feel more, and embrace all parts of me authentically while not pretending that I have it all figured out or 100% all the time while I’m on this never-ending journey of self and healing.
It’s one of my most frustrating pet peeves with web2 culture to actively not be open or facilitate a place for vulnerability to tell people the truth about these industries, and how much it runs on who you know plus even more so how privileged that hierarchy can be. As I have taken the time to learn to find balance within this rapidly moving space that is actively building the future, I have finally connected my mission with utilizing this tech. To anyone reading this, really take your time to decipher what you want to contribute and how this tech can help you. It’s different for everyone. Luckily, the lightbulb clicked for me nearly a year into when I joined this space in February of 2021 after Art Basel 2021 seeing the success of ZORATOPIA and collective unity + action from so many people I’ve been chatting with every day on Twitter and admire.
I have fully stepped into a new timeline and am ready to fully step into my power and my wildest dreams on the blockchain. I’m grateful for all of the experience I’ve been able to wield, space to experiment, and knowledge accumulated, especially during my time interning for companies like WarnerMedia. 2022 is where I take flight after 3+ years of preparation on this ever-present, infinite journey of self.
Before I end this intro/reminder of who I am, I’d like to open up a portion of my headspace to share with you all. I have watched for a while how people build their communities and what real community even means. I am excited to focus on those around me who want to be a part of the LOMEDIA universe and all that I am as Lauren May Washington. I’ve always wanted to do more intentional things to build a community which I guess I have done somewhat, but now I feel fully free and focused to do so. Currently, I have the 1st part of my photo collection ‘The Restoration’ available for purchase on my Artiva site via The Well. The series reflects stages of healing and grief that coincide with the actual short film (coming soon) “Restoration,” which is an experimental sci-fi drama short in a near-future society following Tisch, as she’s sent to a startup facility focused on eliminating grief permanently.
To see my NFT’s currently available from ‘The Restoration’ and more info behind the collection, head to my site at lomedia.xyz.
Going forward, I am exploring releasing part 2 shortly on my own smart contract while the film is still in post-production. I’ve never really thought of building my community directly or that I’d experience it so soon because I’ve been more heavily focused on pathways towards film while I was in school, but now I have been learning so much about community building. In rethinking my frame of mind from what the industry can help me achieve to instead what I’ve always wanted to achieve, I’ve been dreaming more, imagining more, and building. Just like Kanye isn’t just a musician and has fought to solidify his right to pursue fashion and design, my world revolves around my words and my thoughts.
Storytelling is how I view art in all its forms and it saves lives, it connects people, it’s the place I always feel understood and seen.
For years I’ve balanced my creative pursuits and have heard nothing but pick a lane to secure that focus and while I have done that with storytelling, I did it in my own way and I’m blossoming every day to see just how much I want to contribute. It’s not about being first. I love to build and I love to create. I’m not here for the slow yes’s and to wait for people to understand what I’m doing when they can’t even create themselves. Finding web3 has been the dream I needed to find like-minded people with a similar ethos, finding the tools to build a better world and to become better people. It’s like you can feel so crazy thinking outside the norm that sometimes you feel like you’re crazy and in this space I’ve cultivated in web3, I feel free to dream and to reinvent the ways that things have always been done. Now to recap and if you made it this far, I’m going to list a preview of what’s in store as I go forward on this journey. All of this is evolving, but it’s time to document the journey more for my community of support:
The rest is TBD/all of this is shapeshifting, but I’m excited to be more vocal about my journey like I’ve seen Issa Rae do via Patreon + dream openly like I see so many of my peers do like Latashá or Black Dave. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me early on + given me advice in this space, I have a chosen family now. Love to my collectors so far like @dianaesinclair, @artbyjah, @daimALYad, @Mango_Boy, @coryvanlew, @neokry, @phenmas, @dmitricherniak, and @thisisaito. As an artist, it is an extra plus if people really love your work, your vision, or your story, and to directly build a relationship with those people is surreal. Power back to the artists and their minds. No more of relying on middlemen as the central force of making things happen and at the helm of all creative decisions to build our biggest dreams and worlds. Now it is focused on the artist and the community around the artist. It feels more interpersonal, more intentional, more pure, more room for growth and space to figure it all out. The fun really starts now :)
You can invest in me directly via lomedia.eth + @lomedia on the marketplaces and tap in with me on Twitter, IG, TikTok @laurenmwash.