MEET THE ARTIST: Laura H Elliott Energetic Art featuring Emotional Content

1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
The key influence in my work is from abstract expressionism, drawing inspiration from their energetic art featuring emotional content, spontaneous gestures, and often in monumental sizes. The way each artist practised, channelled their emotions into each artwork has given me the conviction and has driven my work forward:

Willem de Kooning
Clyfford Still
Helen Frankenthaler
Mark Rothko

The quote below epitomises why this movement drives my work, inspiring me to constantly channel my life and emotions into each artwork:

"I'm not interested in 'abstracting' or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and colour. I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it - drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, and my ideas about space. Through your eyes, it again becomes an emotion or idea." - Willem de Kooning

2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
My love of the outdoors, especially during the summer, always spurs my creativity. I now have a wonderful, compact or small, home studio where I can create and explore my art freely.

3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
My creative process is different in the two mediums I specialise in, which are: mixed media painting and metal clay. Due to my disability, my mediums require assistance during the creative processes, but this adds love into every piece I create. Once I pick up my brush or my piece of clay, all my worries are put aside. Art is truly my therapy.

Painting:

This medium is truly an unplanned process. The only aspect that I plan is my colour scheme, I lay out my paints and other mediums, to create in a sub-conscious manner, using colour and mood to drive my work. Each painting is created in layers, building up colour and tones step-by-step, until I feel I have achieved the background. Then I add details and my signature.

It was 2016 when my paintings moved back into a free-flowing, abstract expressionist style featuring a bright colour palette. This highly enjoyable, free, relaxed painting style reflecting how my life has settled and how my emotions ebb and flow at this point in my life.

Metal Clay Designs:

This medium is the complete opposite, due to the nature of clay and a number of tools required. I plan the basics of my designs in rough sketches and use these ideas as a starting point for each design. It is once I have started to create each piece that I refine the overall design and I can then create instinctively, as I do when I paint. Each design is a strict step-by-step process as below with a minimum of 12 steps for even the smallest metal clay design:

Prepare the clay ready to work with
Apply textures to the clay
Roll the clay (thickness is dependent on type of clay being used) and cut for each element of the design
Build the design
Leave to air dry
Kiln fire the design
Soak in Picklean to remove fire scale
Rinse with bicarb to neutralise Picklean
Start to shine the fired clay with a wire brush
Use an agate burnisher or polisher for bright shine
Mount stones
Ready to be worn

More about my work and my working process on my blog.

4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
My first and most enduring loves are the work of master artist Picasso and his cubist artworks, exploring colour, perspective and the transition of three-dimensional objects into a two-dimensional framework.

In addition, I have visited countless exhibitions and have explored a large range of mediums both practically and through academic reading. The artist that I deeply admire is David Hockney, who I think of almost like a kindred spirit to me. His exploration of perspective in both photography and painting are fascinating and reminds me of the cubist movement in many ways. The way Hockney flips perspective strikes a cord with me as that is something I like to play with in my paintings, alongside the inspiration of the abstract expressionist movement.

5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
I worked professionally in the nursing field from the age of 18 until I was 23. I adored the interaction with people, the challenges it brought and helping other people. Saying this, I was artistic as a young child, so the love and imagination have been there my whole life.

6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
It was when I moved into my late teens and early 20s, I found my paintings were inspired by music. I am a lover of heavy metal, filled with energy and feeling; however, I enjoy listening to all types of music now I am older.

7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
Picasso - Sculptures
Clyfford Still
Jenny Saville

8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
Louvre Museum, Paris, France

9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
Use the summer breaks to create more artworks and read, especially the summer break between the 2nd and 3rd year.

10) What is your favourite book of all time (fiction or non-fiction)?
I do not have an all time favourite book; however, I am a lover of reading and learning about life stories of people from all backgrounds, around the world.

11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non-traditional art setting, where would that be?
The non-traditional setting would be a Gothic church architecture, because of the contradiction having modern with Gothic.

12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
I was diagnosed in 2003 with Dyspraxia and Dyslexia, which was life changing. These learning difficulties of Dyspraxia and Dyslexia had profoundly impacted on my academic standard and life. I started university with low grades, but as time passed I worked really hard by always attending learning support tuition and reading as much as I could get my hands on.

I truly believe that academic study is as important as the practical practice of art.

The academic perspective on your course allows you to take a quality skill set into the art world, especially regarding working with spoken language, galleries and paperwork linked to this. I know that through my academic studies my quality of spoken language and organisational skills has significantly improved.

I always say that everyone should use the library as it is full of inspiration, knowledge and facilities to develop your education. Use the library staff and tap into journals as a quick way to understand a subject, especially as they are a few pages maximum. In addition, make the most of the resources such as learning support to improve your written work and your support work during modules you study.

Mainly....enjoy your course!
With my best wishes.

13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
I would still be working with Degree Art Gallery and continue to exhibit in new UK galleries and locations. I am working on a new body of work and high quality limited edition prints. I would like to have achieved membership to ‘The Society of Women Artists’.

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