We met Elizabeth in the shop as she is a frequent visitor and lives in the neighborhood; immediately we were obsessed with her beauty and adorable family. She is a talented artist working primarily in oil painting, and she also modeled for our new fall jewelry line!
Elizabeth received her BFA in painting + Anthropology from the University of Colorado in 2006. In 2016, she left her work in fashion design to pursue a career full time in art (the paints were calling). Working primarily in oils, watercolor and pencil, she draws endless inspiration from her three magical children, who along with her husband, inhabit a quirky old row home in Philadelphia.
Her first children's book, Being Edie is Hard Today, with publisher Little, Brown is due out 2019.
Read our interview with her here!
What led you to pursue a full-time art career? What was that process like?
Pursuing art as a career always felt like the inevitable path for me, but I was in no way prepared or capable for all that it actually entails when I finished my BFA back in 2006. Making art has always been super intense and all-consuming for me, so I honestly don't think that 12 years ago I would have been able to make art all the time and also, like, feed myself and maintain relationships. ha. I'm very serious about my art, but I didn't ever want to be "serious artist". It took me some time to untangle those two things. Straight of school, I got a job working as a designer for a small bridal line, married my favorite person and had three kids. I came up for air 10 years later (2016), and was insatiably hungry and sooooo ready to pursue my art in a bigger way- beyond the weekly sketches, occasional commissions and tedious practical restrictions of designing for brides (bleh). I was also ready to be a little less precious about my work in order to really start producing. I wanted to see it sold (something that used to break my heart!), and living in different spaces and loved (or hated). Once a piece is finished and shared and critiqued it takes a life all its own- one completely apart from the life and intent and meaning the artist originally intended for it and that's AMAZING. It will be relentlessly itself, and change with time and cultures and movements. Art can really become a living thing.
Inspiration for children's book?
I illustrated the book, and one of my best friends, author, Ben Brashares wrote it. We met 7 years ago when we were both stay-at-home parents, each with 3 young kids. The book most certainly came out of that shared season of parental exhaustion which is somehow equal parts frustration, hilarity and magic. We always talked about making a book together, so finally in the fall of 2016 I illustrated a character pulling a giant fish filled with ink out of the ice (I promise the book isn't that weird) and sent it to Ben with a note that said, "Her name is Edie. Write" And he did! And we did! Little, Brown is publishing the book, titled, Being Edie is Hard Today. It will be on shelves spring 2019.
What was your favorite aspect of working on this book -and what proved to be the most challenging?
My favorite aspect of working on this book was actually also probably the most challenging, which was: to tell the same story with many pictures, while also creating each illustration to be able to truly stand on its own, apart from the others. Like they all really had to go together. Not just sort of be in the same (ish) category as though you were building a body of work for a show. They needed to be the same, but separate. Ben and I also loved the challenge of allowing the illustrations to say the things we chose to leave out of the text and visa versa. Saying more by saying less is always harder.
You make many different types of artwork. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite will forever be (ok never say forever, but...) oil painting. Oil painting is the hardest thing I've ever done. Risks and rewards are high with something like that! My lowest lows and highest highs happen when I'm painting.
And finally, what's your favorite thing about living in Philly?
Oh I love this city so much! ugh. I'd have to say that my favorite thing about living in Philly is that this place is completely drenched in artists- like everywhere you go! I mean, just take the entire staff at Moon and Arrow as a small snapshot- you're filled with inspiring designers, musicians, stylists and artists. Philly has created such an amazing belly of artists that share with each other and urge each other on- it all feels very symbiotic. I've felt such huge support by artists like Jess Noel, who's discipline is theater and dance, but she's supporting and employing so many visual artists, and musicians, and sculptures and photographers on top of her dancers and actors. It's really such an incredible community.