How do the images we see everyday affect the way we view our craft? Do these images begin to seep to our work, regardless of thought or intent? When the act war is involved the images tend to be more penetrating, and the result more explosive. It's may be cliche to say that art imitates life, but in so many ways that is true. It does not seem intentional, but this ongoing war is creating a creative outcry, a revolution of word and brush and melody that must be understood.
Chicagoan Elizabeth Ann Lopez has created a colorful world full of images of graffiti, abstraction, and many common images. Her style is both playful and complex, as she explores the very nature of the paint she allows to roam the canvas. As the layers of paint slowly wrap around each other, and single drops roll into their proper place, beauty is born.
Recently, Elizabeth was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert(OA): How work you describe your work?
Elizabeth Lopez (EL): When someone pays attention to what lies in the margins of everything (not excluding everyday life, thoughts, fears, emotions) it is very
interesting when brought to the fore-front and investigated. Silly thoughts, nightmares, fear or sleep provide a great arena to place under a microscope and take an interest in what usually may exist only for a second. I like making work about that.
OA: In your artist's statement you basically define the raw nature of abstract painting in one sentences, "stripping away the surface sentiment and abstracting what is left underneath". How did you get involved in abstract painting and what does the abstract nature of your paintings mean to you?
EL: I "got into" abstract painting when I realized I wasn't only interested in the way the paint moves or acts on its own. I enjoyed the interaction between the viewer and my work engaging in almost a conversation where I could stay away and watch. I like when paint and ideas interact with each other on the tableaux and make something "other" than just a painting. And,
simply, abstracting the paint when concerning an idea as abstract as human emotion, they seemed to evolve together without me making a deliberate choice.
OA: Your recent work seems to be influenced heavily by the ongoing war. Why have you allowed the constant images of war to inform your work? Is it just another current event or is there a more profound connection between art and war?
EL: It's interesting that you ask this question because war isn't necessarily the loudest thought running through my mind when I make these. If subject matter such as anxiety, fear, frustration and chaos equal up to work about war then, yeah, these are about the ongoing war. And no, it's not just a current event, but more like a slow deterioration of who and what we are collectively. I feel there is sometimes a direct connection between art and war, and that probably filters through everyone differently. And most definitely "how" they deal with it.
OA: I really enjoy the titles you have chosen for your pieces. How do you choose a title, and do your titles speak at all to the message of your pieces?
EL: If I said "I don't choose the titles, the titles choose me" I'd give you permission to hit me really hard across the face. But honestly, the titles are the initial idea of what I read in a book or what I heard in a conversation, and filtered through my thought process to arrive at what it
looks like. And they usually are the gasoline to fuel the project. I know they may annoy others and I've even been accused of trying to be the pompous clever artist overlooking those "not getting it." I just really want you to know what I was thinking about when I made them. And I just tend to get wordy and thorough with the description. So I guess you can lightly slap me
in the face then.
OA: The work on your website spans the last four or five years. How do you feel you have evolved artistically in that time?
EL: My work has ostensibly changed over the years but I have changed even more so. I know I will continue to change, and I can only assume my work will follow suit. I'm praying to God it will anyway, because I would like it always to change. Completing graduate school, last year was a big metamorphosis, and I'm still licking the wounds on the transformed and beaten up body, I could hardly recognize, that came out on the other end of that experience. And I am excited at what is to come next.
OA: What's next for Elizabeth Ann Lopez?
EL: Next? I leave for Texas next week, and am finishing a group of photographs centered around a man I made out of meat, electrifying his flesh by connecting him to car batteries and having him perform daily tasks with me. This has been an ongoing project I'd like to finish. I want to go on a date with him to local bars and have him ride a mechanical bull. Oh and hold my hair back when I puke from drinking too much.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
EL: I stay away from coffee. I have trouble sleeping and it only makes me jittery and awake. I always wonder when I walk by coffee shops late at night, how come they're not at a bar. How do they fall asleep at night?
OA: Do you listen to music while painting? If so, who are a few of your favorite and does their music ever inform your work?
EL: Music like Trans Am and Do Make Say Think are nice to paint to. I've made videos to some their music. When I have to do a monotonous part on a painting, I like DEVO or Roxy Music to pep me up.
For more information on Elizabeth Ann Lopez please visit her website.