“No one ever leaves here how they came,” Lauren replied when I asked her about the theme of snakes throughout her collection.

“We all shed a layer or two.”

I had only just met her but I already knew I liked her.


That seems to be a very common theme here, instantly connecting with incredibly talented and spirited individuals at Residencia Gorila. It happens a lot in Tulum, but like a carefully curated collection of art, Gorila is always full of instant friends

I was excited to be back at my favorite creative’s haven and happy to help with Lauren’s art exhibition, MOONRISE, on my last Friday night in town. Lauren had rushed feverishly to complete the collection, only getting the photography prints on Monday. She showed not only her talent, precision and commitment, but a focus I admire.

Ananda had done an incredible job all week setting up the exhibition on top of coordinating a residence full of new artists, the vegan kitchen and juice bar, as well as managing hotel guests and staff. Her skills blow me away, as well as Lauren’s, so it was a pleasure to lend whatever support I could to these powerful women.


When I asked Lauren what her favorite part of the experience has been, she told me it was the collaboration. She collaborated with Gorila residents with the photography, getting the prints, arranging a good work space, the event and even with me, on this article.

From the collaboration she learned a lot about acceptance. She described herself as an “alpha creative” but in the last few months she has learned the art of surrender. The art of accepting things the way they are and appreciating an object the way it is. She also spoke about accepting and appreciating other people’s styles, something I could really relate to recently

Being an artist isn’t always easy and things don’t always happen in the creative flow, especially on a deadline in the frequently distracting environment.  Lauren seemed to handle it all with the grace and diligence of a true Virgo.

Lauren, Ananda and I spent the day setting up the event space, Batey’s Mojito Bar, paying attention to every detail, like the details of Lauren’s artwork. We scraped old tape off the wood and re-painted walls. After several trips to the hardware store we had everything mounted with precision and Lauren added the final touches of gold moons and stars to the wall.