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In Touch with Fantasy, by Elizabeth

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Elizabeth's instagram: @inkkomi

A Conversation with the Artist 

We interviewed Elizabeth about her views and artistic journey.




So to start off, what inspired you to join the zine?


Elizabeth: The prompt seemed really interesting to me so I thought I'd give it a try!! Also this year I started to get more serious about art so I wanted to get more projects and this one caught my attention.


Interviewer: Gotcha. Yeah, a lot of people I talked to said a similar thing about getting serious with art. I relate to that too, and I feel that maybe the pandemic had something to do with it.


Maybe!! But for me it's also because it’s my last year before I go to college, so I’m trying to improve as fast as I can haha.


Oh — that makes sense. Congrats on the grad by the way!


Thank you!


So with your zine entry, what was the creative process like making it? Was there a specific approach you took or obstacles you faced in the process? 


I think the hardest part was to come up with the concept. At first I didn’t know what to do. I’ve been having a rough time recently, so it’s been hard to think of what makes me feel at peace and what makes me feel alive. But, when I realized that playing D&D is one thing that makes me happy, I went from there and it was pretty easy.


Ahh ok, I’m happy D&D was a little nugget of happiness you found then :)


So, this next question is something I think about a lot. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always associated specific music or songs with pieces of artwork. I was wondering if you ever connect music with art, and if so how?


Ooooh that’s an interesting question, but I don’t know if I have such a great answer haha. While I do listen to music when drawing, I don’t pay too much attention to it. Maybe it’s that I just need some background noise to work. So, sometimes I ditch the music and just listen to video essays. 


Ah I get that. I’ve been listening to a lot of video essays while I work too. I’ve recently been into a lot of fashion ones.


Yup!! And also sometimes I like to listen to video game theories. (even though I don’t know anything about them haha)


Speaking more broadly about your art, are there particular artists, concepts, or colour palettes that inspire your work?

Probably Hirohiko Araki! He’s the author of my favourite manga (jojo) and I really admire his use of colour and ability to break the rules. I’m really drawn to his style, and seeing him progress and evolve inspires me so much. It’s probably because of him that I’m taking more risks in my art. 


In terms of your art, do you ever explore mediums other than visual art? (Music, writing, etc)


 I’m also a writer! It’s a hobby, one that I actually picked up so that I had something that I didn’t take too seriously now that I’m being more serious about my digital art. Writing stories helps me relax.


I love that. And yeah, I get you — when you start taking something more seriously, it can feel more like work than the relaxing hobby you started with. Do you like to write longer form stories? Or more one-shot kind of stories?


Recently I’ve just been doing one-shots because I can finish those quicker; committing to longer pieces is hard right now. But, maybe one day I’ll be able to write multi-chaptered stories. I’ve had my characters for years, so I already know them. I just have to, you know, write them haha. 


What are your earliest memories involving creative expression? 


Hmm. I’m not too sure! Everyone has told me I’ve been drawing all my life — at almost all times! At school, for example, I usually drew while listening to classes because that helped me concentrate. Teachers weren’t really happy with it, but no one stopped me (thankfully). 


Have your early memories (or general childhood) influenced your artwork?


I don’t remember too much of my childhood to be honest, but I guess it influenced what I like to draw. When I was younger, I read a lot of fantasy like Percy Jackson, so now I’m drawn to those kinds of concepts. But, I was also into warrior cats and I still can’t make cats look decent, so that didn’t work out hahahah. Everyone also expected me to get a career in sciences or something like that, so doing art was kind of an escape from the expectations? But I guess the joke’s on them because I’m going to study animation now hahaha. 


Hahahahah I love that last part. That’s awesome!

Dovetailing into more of, I guess, expectations? Or you even mentioned your teachers. How have people in your personal life influenced your art journey?


There are no other artists in my family, but my parents and grandparents have still always been very supportive of me. And I’m super thankful. Even though they didn’t expect to follow this path, I’m also the first artist in the family. They accepted it — that’s a privilege not everyone gets. The rest of the people in my life were not as great, but it’s fine!! I have my family and I've made new friends that encourage me. 


It's lovely that you found support regardless of expectations.


Yeah! I was kinda scared of telling them that I wanted to become a professional, but it went quite well!


In general, are there any specific themes or topics you like to address in your artwork? 


Well, I just like to draw things that make you feel good. Happy!! I hope to make everything I do transmit a calm feeling.


I love that.


Do you ever feel obligated for your work to have a “deeper,” or more profound, meaning? Do you think that “deeper” meaning makes artwork more valuable?


I used to have that problem before, actually. But if you try to force yourself, it won’t be as authentic. I know that most people think that art has to be super deep. But I think that as long as you enjoy making it, that’s great and valid! But if someone wants to interpret a piece to have a deeper meaning, even if that wasn’t the artist’s original intention, then that’s also great. 


I love that — reminds me of the debate between an artist’s intent versus audience interpretation. 


Yeah, yeah. I get that not every artist would agree, but I like to hear other people’s interpretations of what I do. They may point out things I wasn’t aware of because I did them unconsciously. 


In a similar vein to this debate — between artists' innate intentions versus external interpretation — how much do you think creative ability is an innate talent? Versus a skill you can work at over time?


I have strong opinions here. It’s not a talent; it’s just a skill that you develop and work on. If I hadn’t practiced for years I wouldn’t be as good as I am, and I know that to get better I have to keep practicing. Sometimes it feels slightly insulting when people reduce all that hard work to just talent, but most of them don’t do it with bad intentions, so I can’t really get mad at them. Overall, doing art is a skill that everyone can develop if they try hard enough! So to anyone — stop saying you can’t!! You can!! I know it!! 


I agree! I love that because it’s both encouraging and rewarding. Like, when you’ve done something you're super proud of, it’s because you put the work in rather than it simply coming to you. And if you aren’t where you want to be, it’s totally possible for you to get there if you put the practise in. If you don’t mind me asking, is there anything that’s happened in your life which has shaped these opinions to be so strong? 


I can’t think of an exact moment of anything but just hearing so many people saying that it’s talent and making it seem like something unattainable got kind of annoying, and a bit discouraging? Because then that meant that no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t get better — which is false, I did!! And I’ve seen many people complain and say that they will never be good artists, so they stop trying. It genuinely pains me because they could if only they put in an effort. 


Going back to your creative process, what role do you think emotions play in it? 


Emotion probably affects my creative process, or outcome, but not in ways that are super noticeable. If I’m not feeling that well, I may not make a piece as elaborate as if I were super into it and motivated! I’m also really bad at identifying my emotions, so sometimes I draw just to distract myself from them rather than to do something with them. I know some artists don’t have the energy to do art when they’re in a bad place mentally, but for me, it has been the opposite. I’m just pumping out art lol. Pow pow pow. It’s a coping mechanism, but a healthy one. 


That’s awesome:) I’m similar in a way that I use art to recharge.


My final question for you — what’s something that’s made you smile this week?


Hmm. I watched a concert (online) with one of my best friends, and we stayed up until 5 AM because of it. It made me smile the whole time. He’s one of the most important people in my life, and I adore spending time with him.


I love that!! That sounds like so much fun!


Also, he sent me cat pics yesterday, and I love cat photos lol.

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