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Interview with Eliza Bratton – Painter & Print Maker

Eliza Bratton
Australian based Painter and Print Maker

Instagram: @theelfsmial
Website: www.theelfsmialcorner.com
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheElfsmialCorner

OmArtist: Some artists have had a lifelong affair with creativity, while others find it later in life. What can you tell us about your story and how you came to be in your current creative mindset?

EB: This is a big question, and a very valid one. Creativity for me goes back deep into my childhood. My Dad was an artist and my Mum a spiritual person so the two influences have always naturally been there from the start for me, in quite different ways, and both bringing forth creativity in very different senses. That said, they have not always been around together, sometimes I have had a call for the artist in me and sometimes attending to my spiritual side has been more prevalent. It is only really been in the last few years that I have made conscious decision to marry the two together. It was like one day I just thought ‘why aren’t I giving these two important aspects my full attention at the same time?’ I have no idea why I thought I couldn’t do that before. These things show up at the right times for the right reasons.

OmArtist: When viewing your work, I feel as though I’m visually enjoying an amazing story book, even across multiple pieces, is this something you consciously create?

EB: That’s great you say that, thank you, I haven’t really thought of it like that as a whole, but yes, I guess they are kind of like pages in a book making up chapters, and lately I have worked more with characters and symbolic images that have reoccurred multiple times. For instance, I’m quite partial to ‘little folk’ who wear similar clothes and have a tendency to leave their shoes lying around. Most of them are on a journey of some kind, tending to their spiritual matters, or helping the land, ocean, trees and other beings. My work also involves imagery and symbolism from other worlds and mythology, so yes, I think more recently I’ve been intentionally working with storied art but it wasn’t so much a conscious idea in the beginning. It has definitely evolved and ‘unclothed’ itself as time has gone on and I love how art can do that and reveal itself as it needs to be.

OmArtist: You are a painter and a print maker. Do you prefer one over the other?

EB: Oh that is a question I constantly seem to ask myself. It definitely changes from time to time and currently I’m in a painting mood. You can most probably tell which one I’m preferring at a particular time from my photos on Instagram. I’ll have phases on one or the other, and they both seem to reflect on how I’m feeling at the time. I find lino cutting very precise and more structured but takes a different kind of concentration to that of painting, both I find equally meditative though. I go into a very present state. I find painting a lot more free- flowing but most often a lot more challenging creatively. Specializing in one more than the other, or solely on one, has entered my thoughts many times, but I think if that ever happens, it needs to be a natural, unforced transition so to speak.

OmArtist: Your body of work, as presented on your site, is one that embodies nature and\or people enjoying nature. Why is it important for you to have these elements in your artwork?

EB: Yes, absolutely, so important. This is what inspires me in my life and creatively. My whole well-being relies on it, and it is where my spiritual side connects so deeply. If I can bring this out in what I do visually then my hope is for others to connect also in whatever way inspires them. We all need an outlet to express our emotional being. We absorb so much magnificence in this life and amongst nature, so it is exceptionally radical to show our relationship, gratitude and what we can offer to Mother Nature as reciprocity for what she shares with us.

OmArtist: Eliza, do you see art or creativity (in general) as a tool for healing or therapy? If so, how or in what way do you feel your art contributes to this notion?

EB: I do, most definitely, art and creativity is most often a response to our internal selves, our emotions, thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions. To be able to use these strong feelings and channel them in such a way creatively, can have an enormous impact and effect on our well-being. There is a sense ‘presentness’ in art for therapy, it doesn’t concern itself with any other issues, problems or expectations apart from the ones you’re truly, most often unconsciously, working on at the time. How cool is that? It is a fun, tactile form of meditation and it really doesn’t matter about the finished piece, or if it does, then that’s one of the things you’re working on.
I would really love to think that some of this spontaneity comes across in my work because they are really direct responses to my present time. One of the things I love to do is sketching but my original pieces are all born from my head, heart and soul and not from preliminary sketches. So drawings and observations become original art themselves.

OmArtist: Do you have a favorite artist(s) past or present? And what is it that draws you to them?

EB: There are two current artists work I am particularly fond of, one local here where I live in Australia, Maki Horanai, and one Devon (UK) artist, Rima Staines. They are quite different but both offer me a sense of visiting another world with their people and folk/beings who reside there. Maki’s paintings are mostly on a large scale and she exhibits nationally. Rima is an artist/illustrator and paints/makes the most beautiful clocks amongst other illustrations on paper and wood. I also dearly love the work of Arthur Rackham, an English book illustrator in the late 19th and early 20th century. They bring the most magical of worlds to my home and family. Lastly, a recently found favourite, is an American woodblock print artist, William S Rice, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement in California.

OmArtist: What kind of impact do you hope your artwork will have on viewers?

EB: I guess a little glimpse into an imaginary world that I can give an interpretation to; a glimpse into the margins of this world and another. That’s a hard question, but I hope it can feel calm and offer a sense of closeness with nature or a feeling of connectedness with a spirit realm that might not be too far from reach.

OmArtist: Is there anything that you would like others to know about the intentions of your creative works?

EB: Well it comes with integrity that is really quite difficult sometimes in this time, especially with so much influence out there on social media. Authenticity, I think is most artists’ intention, to create unique pieces where others can recognise your style, even if it changes over time. My intention is also to bring intrigue and perhaps a sense of wonderment to each piece I create.

OmArtist: Thank you so very much Eliza for taking the time to speak with me. You are appreciated!