Twist Bistro & Gallery

Lauri Koo with her painting at Twist Bistro & Gallery.

“It was an irresistible development of modern illustration when borders were abandoned, and the ‘picture’ ended only with the edges of the paper. All the sudden the sketch of the artist could run from page to page in one continuous flow of image.”-J.R.R. Tolkien

Artist Lauri Koo grew up in Washington, Illinois, with an older sister who was a talented artist and a mother who was a huge paint-by-numbers fan. 

Koo was fascinated with painting color combinations and worked to duplicate the hues in her early coloring books. By middle school, her family relocated to Beaumont, Texas, where she took an art class. 

Koo realized she was quite adept at creating her own scenes and developing original color matches. One of her pieces, a marker drawing of a nature scene, caught the eye of her art instructor who encouraged her to enter it into a Texas State Fair contest. The result was a first-place ribbon.

Koo went on to work for a computer graphics company early in her career while living in Miami. She pivoted into telecommunications just as cellphones were emerging. 

Her job required excessive amounts of travel, by car, to maintain her successful sales, the unfortunate downside of her job. After a car crash with a driver who ran a red light, Koo had physical and bodywork therapy. She noticed the positive impact on her recovery and reevaluated her career and life. 

Koo decided to explore the field of natural therapy. She earned an associate degree in natural therapy from the Florida College of Natural Health. In 2000, Koo visited her sister and her family in Arizona and she decided it was time to leave Florida in the rear-view mirror and relocate to the Grand Canyon State. 

Her career as a licensed massage therapist took off as she opened her own business, earned a business management degree, managed a student clinic, and taught at a local healing arts college in Scottsdale. 

She retired from teaching massage after a few years, due to a chronic back injury, and reconnected with her creative side. 

After taking classes with local instructors, the primarily self-taught colorist used her keen observation skills and intuitive abilities to move forward with nature as her inspiration. 

Koo has met remarkable success. She gives credit to her supportive husband, as well as, forming great connections with fellow artists who have created community and mentorship. 

Koo is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and exhibitor in the annual Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour each November. She has also displayed her work in various galleries, as well as in restaurants in the Carefree, Cave Creek, and North Scottsdale area. 

Recently Koo began using her long-time interest in macrophotography — “exploring things larger than life, in detail, and what is usually not seen,” she described. 

“I enjoy creating paths, tunnels and portals in my pieces representing the different directions and paths taken in my own life,” Koo added. “My passion for creating a sense of depth and dimension, light and shadow, with a sense of fantasy or mystery invites the viewer on a journey. I hope to convey in my work a sense of peace, upliftment, beauty and introspection.”

She is deeply appreciative of the gift nature has given us. Koo can be reached, and her artwork can be viewed at