Monday, 5 July 2010

Artist of the Week - Lisa Traxler

Lisa Traxler is an artist based in South East England. Her practise combines painting & photography with collage & stitching documenting & investigating the space around her.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
Many years ago at primary school I remember a project we were set that asked us what we thought we might like to do later in life – I vividly remember writing that I wanted to be an artist & accompanied the piece with a splendid pencil drawing of me as an adult standing in a studio at an easel painting! The drawing has been lost with the passing of time but the vision stayed with me although its fruition has been an eclectic journey.

Where did you train?
My training started at Art College where I went on to pursue a fashion & textile degree at Birmingham in the mid eighties. Through life’s twists & turns I then spent the following decade & more traveling around the globe as a fashion editor & stylist for magazines & TV. I think it has always been a passion of mine to pursue textiles & pattern along with colour & form & this continued when I moved out of London & went to live on a houseboat on the Isle of Wight. This is when I truly let my creativity open up. Within a few months of living aboard I had started painting & creating my collage pieces whilst always pursuing my photography. The rest is history with exhibitions & residencies opening new experiences all the time – life is never dull!

One favourite living artist?
I would say from the many, many artists whose work I respect & admire one I would have to mention would be Rachel Whiteread. She is one of Britain’s leading contemporary sculptors & the gigantic labyrinth-like structure, EMBANKMENT, made from 14,000 casts of the inside of different boxes, stacked in the Turbine hall in Tate Modern was absolutely awe inspiring yet had an intimacy invoked by the mystery of what each box might contain. I like where my mind wonders to when I see her art works.

One favourite historical artist?
I think I will have to say Peter Lanyon – the abstract 50’s/60’s painter from St. Ives. I am greatly drawn to the abstract expressionists of the mid 20th century – internal feelings were expressed by the physical action of producing the art works. With Lanyon’s works the application of the paint on the canvas & mark making, colour & form applied resonate with my own painting side of my practice whereas I am probably drawn to Whiteread’s pure space & shape sculptures which perhaps resonate in my stitched installation pieces.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
I think my practise as an artist and my life are intrinsically bound – one cannot be separated by the other – the practice of an artist does not turn on & off but is simply a combined flow with life. I am passionate about 50’s/60’s textiles & furniture – something about the simplicity of line, function, colour draws me in. On a daily level a walk with my dog, Little Susie, lends me moments of meditation to unravel & process life but equally a passing comment can conjure a colour & shape. Recent works have been gripped by old photographs, faded memories.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had. Any why?
I do think having a job that took me to countries in the world that I would never have had the opportunity to visit was pretty magical when I was a fashion editor but saying that, each day here in my studio brings enchantment that I never visualized – being able to make a living from what I love is the best ‘job’ in the world – is it a job? Seems too good!

Do you work mostly on your own? Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
I do work mainly solo but often collaborations happen when you least expect them – coming to Brighton Art fair this year will be great as I am with another artist, Matt Chambers who works in ceramic sculptures. I had greatly admired his work & through conversation he quite liked my paintings & through an art swap we realized a mutual work ethic & went on to exhibit together at a sell out show last summer – let’s hope Brighton enjoys our collaboration!

At age 18 who most influenced your style?
Cast my mind back to being 18…. I was a jumble sale queen! I still love vintage & retro clothes & objects – can’t say one individual really, although I have always been pretty into Barbara Hulanicki & her Biba empire…. If only I had been around then, wow, the colours & new vision!

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace - if at all?
I’d never thought of bending my vision to suit the marketplace – that in my mind relates to my years in the fashion industry with a ‘new look’ every season – spots & stripes anyone?

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Who would you say buys your work?
Who buys my work? Well, for the very large abstract canvas’s I paint, people with very large walls in their homes! Although saying that if a painting resonates with someone they will make it work in their home no matter what & they are the people I like to hear about as they are responding to the energy of the piece rather than if it colour matches their sofa! I had one client who bought a painting because the title was a message for him & drew him into the painting – it was quite emotional hearing him say this & I truly feel humbled when I hear these stories.

Where and what is your studio?

My studio – the space where I spend so much time thinking & doing. A very energizing space – my sanctuary! I now have a new studio that I am settling in to where I live at home on the Isle of Wight. I am incredibly lucky as it was designed for me by my partner who is an architectural designer, little bit of news here… it will be shown later in September on the Grand Designs TV programme!

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Work/life balance – I would love to say it is a balance but I think it is as much my personality but I think it does get a bit too work related – I find it very hard to switch off or at least move down a gear… can’t help it!

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
If I could be doing anything else? Time travel – except I would like to travel in the past – I love history & the stories behind places & objects. A bit like the H.G. Wells classic, ‘The Time Machine’

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
It would have to be the centre atrium of the Guggenheim in New York. Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of modern architecture – walking along the grand ramp that curves from the ground to the dome!

Please list any exhibitions you have had in the past 12 months.

Selected solo exhibitions:
2010 arc space @ aspex, Portsmouth
2009 gASP Gallery, Art Space Sponsored Studio Award Exhibition, Portsmouth
2009/10 'Letters Home' Solo touring exhibition:
Eldon Gallery, University of Portsmouth, Hampshire
The Link Gallery, University of Winchester, Winchester
Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight

Selected group exhibitions
2010 'HYDE 900' Winchester Cathedral.
City Space at The Discovery Centre, Winchester.
The Link Gallery, Winchester
2010 'Recollection' Chapel Gallery, Lancashire
2009/2010 Seaview Gallery, IW.
Combined show with sculptural ceramics by Matt Chambers
2009 'Wonderland' Boojum&Snark, Sandown, IW
2009 'Art Liberating Lives' Group Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London W1
2009 ReOpen Exhibition, Lighthouse Centre for the Arts, Poole
2009 NAPA National Exhibition, View Two Gallery, Matthew Street, Liverpool
2009 Cork Street Open Exhibition, 28 Cork Street, London W1
2009 HOMEGROWN, The Depozitry, Ryde IW
2009 1000 Lakeside, Portsmouth, Hampshire
2009 Women's Work Exhibition, The Fairground, Andover, Hampshire

Exhibitions to follow:
Two Week Residency & Exhibition in surreal disused basement of a former Wesleyan Chapel, Ryde, IW, Summer 2010
Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, October 2010 with Kendalls Fine Art Gallery
Artworks to be shown in Grand Designs TV Programme, late September 2010
Coast Magazine, late 2010/2011 feature & profile
Major solo exhibition at Michael West Gallery, Quay Arts, Isle of Wight, 2012

Lisa will be sharing a stand at the Brighton Art Fair with Matt Chambers who works in sculptural ceramics 2D & 3D combine to create this exciting collaboration.

1 comment:

Clare Westwood said...

I would like to recommend an artist for you to have a look at. Annemarie Wright who creates handwritten work. She recently did a picture of Tony Blair made from the names of fallen soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. Check out her website or twitter @artmouse79