Can you please introduce yourself to those who do not know you?
A pleasure! I'm Elizabeth Power and I'm a painter working from my studio in St Leonard's on Sea.
Can you describe the trajectory of your artistic journey, including key moments and experiences that inspired you to pursue art as a profession? How have your creative pursuits influenced and shaped your life, and what drove you to choose a career as an artist?
I did my degree at the University of The Arts London and then worked as an illustrator for a bit. For the subsequent decade I worked for various London galleries where I learnt the ins and outs of the business. I spent a lot of time working and cataloguing some incredible art collections which was the best history of art lesson I could have asked for. I used what I learnt from my time in the industry to pursue my own art career.
Being an artist and also a musician has completely shaped my whole existence and without either of these I would feel I was really lacking. I’m constantly inspired by everything that is around me. For example architectures or interiors or places I’ve travelled to.
I was always surrounded by art at home. My mum was an art therapist and it’s been in my blood I guess from a young age. It always felt like what I was naturally best at. But it wasn’t until I moved out of London and we had kids that I had the confidence and the drive to make it happen. I wanted to show the kids that they can achieve anything they want, and the best way to do that is by showing this by example.
Can we delve into your practice and explore the underpinnings of your work, especially the recently-conceived body of work which takes inspiration from your coastal surroundings and is part of your forthcoming exhibition, Coastal Calm?
I live in St Leonard’s on Sea and I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a place brimming with such exciting creativity. I feel constantly inspired by not just the place but the people who live here. The sea and the light and the architecture, the pace of life, they have all become very influential and integral in my output.
Being a mum of two with a busy work schedule means I don’t have much time for myself, so I cherish those calm moments and have tried to capture those times in my work so that they have some longevity.
Can we speak about your process of creating a piece, from the initial concept to the finished work?
I work from my own photography as a rough starting point. However the initial photography is very much just this, the end image becomes very much more abstract and imaginary. I tend to just start with a colour wash as I find it creates a warmth that glows through the paintings. Then I do a very quick and impulsive pencil sketch to outline what I’m going to paint, I like to keep this quite loose and quick and then I start with applying the paint and colour block each section, one colour at a time. I quite enjoy watching it slowly take form.
For me the biggest decision of any painting is working out my colour palette and plotting what will go where, I like it to always feel quite balanced.
How do you see your art contributing to the broader conversation in contemporary art?
Um thats a big question! I just paint what feels right to me, if I'm being authentic then I'm happy and hopefully that will come out in my work. I don't want to follow trends. I guess by being a female painter and a mother I am contributing to a very marginalised section of the industry and want to use my platform and voice to champion others like me.
As well as an artist,you are co-founder of the Babes In Arms Collective with fellow artist Annie Mackin, which champions artist mothers in the Hastings and St Leonard’s area. Can you tell more about Babes In Arms Collective and the essence behind it?
Yes absolutely, we started the collective to give a platform to other artist mother's and to build a support network. It started when Annie and myself were playing with our kids in the park one day and discussing how hard it is to be a mother artist, constantly missing out on residencies and even art openings. We thought how we are absolutely stronger together and need to make our own opportunities. Now we have this mega strong collective of incredible and talented mother artists, it's so inspiring and I'm extremely proud of us and what we have achieved already, including shows at Hastings contemporary and The De La Warr.
The studio is the sacred temple of creativity.What are three things you can't live without in your studio?
Music, incense and flowers.
What's next for Elizabeth Power?
I have my solo show at 99 Projects opening on 23rd March which I'm super excited about! I love exhibiting in this space its amazing and also such a supportive team. Then I've got some large scale paintings in an upcoming exhibition at Home House London, a collaboration with Cura Art, A Space For Art and Offshoot Arts. I also am about to exhibit in a collaboration with Jigsaw and Art For Charity Collective. I have some paintings that will be in the new part of Brighton's Soho House, and I have various exhibitions planned with my art collective over the next couple of months.
Lastly, what does art mean to you?
Freedom to express yourself, be authentic, fun and playful. It can really be anything you want it to be, life is full of rules so art can be the ultimate rebellion to this.