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AS IS | Liz West


From Barnsley, UK

Based near Manchester, UK

We interviewed the striking Liz West about her art journey, nature of inspiration, the flow of creative process, and much more

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?

L: Most of my earliest memories as a child were of discovering the world in a sensory capacity. I was attracted to objects, land and cityscapes, spaces, and fashion that were made of vibrant colors, the brightest tones, and hues, and strong saturation. All my memories, first love, and attractions all had one thing in common; the use of color and light together.

I create vivid environments that mix luminous color and radiant light. I aim to provoke a heightened sensory awareness in the viewer through my work. I am interested in exploring how sensory phenomena can invoke psychological and physical responses that tap into our own deeply entrenched relationships to color. My investigations into the relationship between color and light are often realized through an engagement between materiality and a given site. Our understanding of color can only be realized through the presence of light. By playing and adjusting the color, I bring out the intensity and composition of my spatial arrangements.

A: What inspires you the most?

L: As a visual artist, I walk around with my eyes wide open. I look at the architecture, design, art that is all around me. I love people watching, seeing how we navigate, traverse and move through the spaces we inhabit. I appreciate geometry, shapes, color, blends, and patterns. I watch the weather and the seasons endlessly and how the light changes constantly.

The work of artists who use the mediums of color and light in combination have interested, resonated, and influenced me the most, these works have had a direct effect on the scale, ambition, and form of my work.

A: Do you have any specific rituals while working (creating)?

L: Each working day brings something completely different in my world so it’s hard to build in any sort of ritual or routine. I am working on several projects at any one time, which are all at different stages of fruition, ranging from conception to completion. On any given day I might be jumping from making a site visit (in person on virtually), making drawings and sketches, writing about my ideas, promoting new works, photoshoots, conversations with producers, curators, and fabricators, and general administration.

The only slight rituals (if you can call them that) which I have is that I am a morning person and generally function better then, so try to get any mentally challenging work within that block of time. I like to make myself copious pots of green tea, I find it comforting to have something caffeinated and clean to start my day.

A: What would you recommend to someone who's new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

L: I would suggest completely immersing yourself in the area that you are most interested in and inspired by. I was lucky to be taken to museums, galleries, theatre shows, and big cities as a child, which helped give me an insight into the culture and creativity that existed beyond my home. In turn, this exposure gave me ideas and an understanding of what was possible..

A: Your top 3 adjectives related to art?

L: Ethereal. Ephemeral. Phenomenal.

A: The best angle to look at art is from ..?

L: Every angle – get involved!

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ..?

L: Have you seen it "in the flesh" or just in a photograph ...?

A: Must-read books to help us talk about art (or do we even need them)?

L: A tricky one to answer for me as I am dyslexic and find consuming books challenging. I find the most helpful thing to do to help us talk about art is to learn to listen to how those we admire talk about their work. Take heed.

A: If you could change one thing in the art world - what would it be?

L: I would like to see a more inclusive art world, where there are fewer tiers and prejudice and more support and cross conversation. Gallery directors and curators shouldn’t be seen as the golden gatekeepers. We need to learn to share information more and support each other.

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art)

L: My favorite quote remains poignant and true: "If you feel safe in the area you're working in, you're not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you're capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don't feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you're just about in the right place to do something exciting." - David Bowie

Thank you!

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