Say hi to Lizzie Lines, south east London Illustrator, Designer and Poet who I’ve yet to meet in person, but who inspired me to follow her online with her stand out illustrations, shock colours and prose. Find out what makes her tick, her love of visual metaphors and how she allows her subconscious mind to dictate the freedom to create. Rosanna Head
Tell us a bit about what you do and your work?
I am an Illustrator, Designer and Poet working full-time freelance across all three mediums. I love using acrylic paint, paint markers and fineliner pens to express and acknowledge my present self through line, shape, colour and space into one-off visual metaphors. To achieve this I give my subconscious and limbic mind the freedom to instinctively respond on the surface through expressive and organic mark-making.
Tell us about your artistic journey and foray in to the art world…
My artistic journey went through being super creative, to feeling completely lost, to embarking onto my current path. Creative subjects were always my best in school from design technology, to photography, to fine art. Studying psychology and experiencing displacement as a child in terms of family and home informed my interest in the mind and human behaviour which I was able to creatively explore for the first time in my foundation year, (the best year ever). Two years into my degree in Illustration and Visual Media at London College of Communication, UAL, I realised I’d succumbed to the pressure of making work for the grade rather than from genuine interest, so I took a placement year out and worked my way around the arts industry.
Working with creative companies, charities and individuals, as well as co-founding my own exhibition platform, Prgrm2ed Perception, with good friend Ella Barnard, forced me to recognise my strengths and grow back some confidence. I decided to dedicate my final year to getting to know myself better by paying more attention to my psychological health and learning how to communicate with myself. When I needed to process the passing of a close family member I started writing poetry and created an illustrated children’s book about it.
What is your most memorable piece of work either by yourself or another artist?
My latest canvas painting ‘Yellow Diving Board’. The third from my Diving Board series because represents who and where I feel I am psychologically within the world right now. The painting features a mini character sitting on the edge of a diving board, looking into the space below, embracing the time in which they are existing, contemplating whether to jump or dive into their future and anticipating when the right time will come.
Who or what inspires you?
I am greatly encouraged by the Concrete Art movement who emphasised the importance of art being an extension of the mind with no need for literal representation. Josef Albers and Jean Arp taught me about the relationships that can be had between colour, shape and line playing within a space. Artists Joy Miessi and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and photographers William Klein, Richard Billingham and Martin Parr showed me the beauty of capturing the truth behind an experience.
I’m particularly inspired by architecture and interior design at the moment and the ability to encompass all that a person is and represents throughout a space; Barcelona’s Joan Miro gallery and Gaudi’s architecture, Camille Walala’s ‘This and That’ exhibition and Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Italy all enable the viewers to be physically present and explore within the artists’ mind.
Event producers, musicians and personalities also influence my work because of their incredible attitudes toward making the world a more welcoming place, whilst encouraging people to be unapologetically and authentically themselves; Nicole Crentsil and Paula Akpan founders of Black Girl Fest, Stormzy a musician and founder of #Merky Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House for new voices, Liv Little founder of Gal-dem magazine, and The Receipts Podcast.
Is there a seminal moment in your life that made a profound impact?
I can’t give you just one, but I can give you the most recent. I made a move to save some money and enjoy the familiarity of living with family three months ago which enabled me to leave my waitressing job! Serving for over five years with the same company in the middle of London took a toll on me, to say the least. Pretty much as soon as I left, the time and the mental capacity I got back pushed my creativity back into super-mode. I was painting almost every day, coming up with new ideas without struggle and began riding this new exhilarating wave of confidence in myself, my talent and my purpose.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan is drawn across a map of various paths. In the very near future, I’d love to be working with design teams worldwide on campaigns concerning self-perception, (particularly with Adidas). I want to be part of the significant group of people changing our educational curriculums to recognise the importance of self-perception, particularly within the arts, and the impact it has on creative success. I would love to work remotely for a portion of the year as I travelled the world pursuing new projects, experiencing the cultures and gathering inspiration for month-long tenancies at a time, whilst responding to such experiences through group exhibitions, solo shows and teaching. But always looking forward to my return home to South London.
What are your favourite SE London spots?
Who would be your ideal fantasy dinner guest?
Do you have any current exhibitions on?
Yes! My first mini-solo show is currently open at Estate Office Coffee on Drewstead road (round the corner from Streatham Hill station). All exhibited paintings are originals and are for sale along with their limited edition Giclee print runs which you can order directly with me or via my website. They’re open 7 days a week and will be up for the foreseeable future so please do drop in, grab a leaflet and tag me in a photo so I can thank you for visiting! Or even better let me know beforehand so we can grab a coffee!
I am also working towards my first solo exhibition which I aim to take place next summer in order for it to be all I envision and more. Until then I am working on building my name, meeting new people, working on new collections and applying for opportunities which compliment and challenge my creative thinking. There will definitely be group shows coming up which I will update everyone on via my Instagram @Lizzies_Lines and my monthly newsletter.