TRAFFICKED Designs Fine Art, Photography & Jewelry
Dottie Laster has a flair for transforming bondage into freedom – both in an artistic and physical sense. For 12 years Laster has tirelessly worked to free victims of human trafficking in America. Exposing the darkest corners of humanity, Laster has unlocked her passion for converting these dark experiences into artistic expressions of hope, light and freedom.
Laster’s role in victim rescue and advocacy began more than a decade ago, though her career as an artist started in 2013 shortly after she helped a mother and her children escape their trafficker. The rescued children displayed a desire to paint, so Laster bought art supplies from an art school that was closing and sat down with them to create a picture.
Soon she realized she was painting more than the kids. The free-flowing abstract images that flooded her mind found their home in each brush stroke, and when she took one of her pieces in to be framed, many people stopped to inquire of its creator.
With their encouragement, Laster continued to paint and soon began selling her artwork and jewelry. She took several art courses, began inventing her own techniques, and fell in love with mixed media using vintage keys, dried flowers, and other found or keepsake items as a means to tell a story or convey a feeling.
Today, each piece of art leads Laster on an expressive journey to learn something about humanity. For one series Laster collected keys and focused on integrating their symbolism into her artwork, pondering the mental, emotional and physical keys we all possess and what importance we might place on them – the key to our first house, key to a diary, or a key from our departed loved one.
Ultimately, as in her work fighting human trafficking, Laster’s artwork represents the keys that lead to freedom. Her fine art and jewelry company, Trafficked Designs, enables the sale of her art as well as the art of others who wish to use their artistic talent to bring awareness about human trafficking.
Laster’s work to help set free the victims of human trafficking is primarily done on a pro bono basis. Trafficked Designs provides a way for her to summon beauty from ashes and generate an income so she can continue to help victims.
For Laster, art is an adventure and an active journey toward a piece that finds its home with the buyer. She finds joy when a customer finds a piece that “speaks to them” and believes that art heals. Her hope is that each piece adds value and freedom to the person who chooses it.
Laster’s human trafficking work has been featured in Texas Monthly’s THE LOST GIRLS (download PDF), MSNBC, CNN, CBS, Houston Chronicle and other leading news outlets. She sells her artwork direct as well as online at: http://www.redbubble.com/people/trafficked?ref=side-nav-account