Monday, 4 March 2013

Artist of the Week - Lisa Traxler

Lisa Traxler produces large abstract paintings and will be showing her work at the Palace Art and Craft Fair.
At what age did you know you wanted to become an artist?  
For always I think! I remember at primary school we were asked to write about and draw a picture of ourselves as ‘grown-ups’ doing the job we really wanted – my coloured pencil picture was of me drawing at an easel with a large window in the room onto a wonderful view!

I think I always envisaged being an artist….

During secondary school art was not seen a as strong subject and tended to be full of kids messing around and wasting a lesson. I don’t think the art teacher at my secondary school had ever had a student who wanted to study and learn art – it was frustrating but I got the grades and went on to study for an art & design diploma. Having a keen interest in English and History helped me along too. After my diploma I studied for a BA at Birmingham in Fashion and Textiles. I have always been interested in texture, shape and colour.
Is being an artist your only job, or do you have other employment?
Being an artist is a way of life – I don’t think about it as a job as it fills every part of my life.
I live on the Isle of Wight now but previously I lived in London and was a Fashion Editor and Costume designer for 19 Magazine, IPC Publications in Stamford Street, London. A fantastic job travelling around the world and getting paid! I spent many years in the fashion industry but I can see how my creative years then have filtered into my art now – texture, shape and colour!

If you could be anything else what would you be?
A time traveller – but to go back in time – to see and feel all those costumes and styles. I love spending time with my daughter at the V&A especially now they have the new costume department up and running. All the stories that fill those costumes, the lives led, wonderful stuff.  

One favourite living artist / designer?
Thomas Hetherwick (English designer, born 1970) is a pretty cool designer – the East Beach Café in Littlehampton is so organic and interesting and sculptural sitting right on the beach. He has a creative take on life that is just right, another way of looking at things around him, out of the box I guess, inspiring and curious.

One favourite historical artist / designer?
Sorry – had to be two!

Lucienne Day (English textile designer, 1017 to 2010)  – the ingenious textile designer whose fabrics inspired modern art. Her fresh, clever, new fusing of abstract and natural motifs inspired so many and have become part of everyday life – imagine seeing those designs for the first time. I have a real passion for the fabrics and furnishings of the fifties and sixties and find Day’s textiles (pattern and use of colour) an inspiration. The recent exhibition in 2011 at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester (Day’s home town) was a fantastic chance to see her work up close and real!

Peter Lanyon – (Cornish painter, 1918 – 1964) Abstract landscapes. Lyrical, powerful paintings and assemblages by this English artist. I am drawn to his work like no other and find it has a depth and soul to it that resonates. His retrospective at Tate St. Ives in 2010/11 was a pilgrimage for me and made even more special as I had a series of paintings being exhibited at the same time in the Crypt Gallery, St. Ives – the exhibition space Lanyon himself first exhibited in.

Who / what has had most influence on your work?
At this point in time I think I can honestly say that our house build had a monumental influence on my work and the wave of creativity that has come from that experience (finished Summer 2010). My partner designed the house (Architectural Designer Lincoln Miles) and the powerful combination of working alongside him and decision-making made this an epic project that has resonated through my work.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?
I have to say it was during my time as a fashion Editor – the travel was amazing. Visiting countries I could only ever dream of – Africa, India, Mexico, Cuba, Europe, States….

What is your most prized item of art / design / craft?
Has to be the wonderful sculptural ceramic sphere by talented artist Mathew Chambers ( I never tire of looking at this piece of art and I find the technical skill and artistry fantastic. We have also exhibited together and I enjoy collaborating with him.

What item of design / craft do you covet most?
Try not to covet anything

Last book / film that blew your mind?
'Convoluted Universe: Book One'. Dolores Cannon. The book that blew my mind…

What are you listening to? 
The spare sound of Arvo Part – ‘Alina’

How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?
Too many! Although it is also an information and social link, so necessary.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I change my perception of the ideal place from one day to another – it could be up a mountain with breathtaking views, on the edge of a cliff with the sea crashing below, in a frenzied city full of information. I think it has to have amazing light wherever it is.

Where and what is your studio?
I have a fantastic studio where my home is on the Isle of Wight. It is in ancient woodlands along a dirt track, quiet except for the sound of the birds and the bells from the local abbey. I am happy to be in my studio 24 hours a day – it is my sanctuary and my inspirational zone. I am very lucky.

Three words that describe your feeling of doing your work? 
Connected, questioning, freedom

Chips or mash?