The Heroine’s Journey
What is the best thing that I love about my work?
Firstly, I have never thought of myself as a heroine, but this is a unique interview and the questions allow me to explain more about who I am. It might add more depth of understanding of my art.
So, to answer the question:
I love the way art enables me a precious avenue of self expression, a true therapy and a way to relax. I adore the fact that when I hold a brush or design with clay, because my mind drifts and it turns into a short type of ‘holiday’ from my disability.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
I was proud to have not only gained my Art and Media Bachelor of Arts with Honors, but to have achieved a 1st for my dissertation. As I am both dyspraxic and dyslexic, it was a huge uphill battle to succeed.
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
I just want my husband, family and friends to be healthy and happy. The fact is that I am an emerging artist, disabled and I hope that I will be able to keep creating work with the hope to be able to make a living.
Above: ‘Setting Sun’ Sold by © Laura H Elliott
What is my greatest fear?
This is two fold:
- Loosing my husband, family and friends, as they complete my life.
- That I will loose my eye sight and the Rheumatoid Arthritis damages my hands and I cannot paint.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
I find it endlessly infuriating that I cannot express myself clearly and talk too much in order to compensate. I also find that both my disability and anxiety affect interacting with others.
Above: ‘Those Who Watch Over Us’ by © Laura H Elliott
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
My artist peers who I exhibit with and work along side.
Above: Exhibited at the Royal College of Art with Flux exhibition – ‘Strength’ by © Laura H Elliott
What is my greatest extravagance?
Like a typical artist, I adore searching for the mediums I use: copper/ fine silver metal clay and I adore different types of paint.
On what occasion would I lie?
Only to protect my loved ones.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
I think the art world can be a mine field and highly competitive or judgemental. No matter: who we are, where we are from, what level our art career is at, what is our medium of choice and if we are ‘art school’ (for lack of a better word) educated or not.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
It was during the 1st and 2nd year of my Art and Media Bachelor of Honors at the University of the Creative Arts at Farnham, Surrey, UK.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
Simply put, I would be healthy and able to work as an artist to the best of my ability.
Where would I most like to live?
If I was not disabled, my husband and I would own a gallery in Cornwall, UK and organising art exhibitions and fairs. We both adore Cornwall and the sea. Bliss.
Above: My Mum and Dad
What is my most treasured possession?
My family, always.
It was in 2009, we moved into our bungalow. It may seem odd that it is treasured; however, it has given us a quality of life, peace and a lovely little garden for me to paint in. We have lovely neighbors and peace of mind is priceless.
What is my most marked characteristic?
I am extremely talkative, but that is just who I am!
My mother worked as a hairdresser and would often take me with her to meet the elderly residents in the nursing home where she worked, where I would sit with and talk to for hours. People fascinated me and it was then that I began my lifelong fascination with learning from others by hearing about their lives, learning about whom they were and how they felt. I know that I was never short of something to talk about, which is something I have carried into adulthood.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
We are very lucky to still have beautiful countryside where we live in and around Berkshire.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I adore Japanese food and the seafood we have access to in Great Britain.
What books influenced my life and how?
It is an honor to read other peoples life stories. They educate and inform me about lives of those I may never meet in person. I truly believe it gives you a new perspective and understanding of others.
Who are my favourite writers?
I enjoy the writer Jean Sasson’s insights into others worlds, life experiences and cultures.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Easy…my life-long love of heavy metal, including Metallica, Pearl Jam and an array of rock music.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
I also enjoy the films that address complicated life stories of people through history. These people are truly my heroes and heroines.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
My parents are my rocks in life and I dearly love them, as has my siblings. I look up to them and I feel it so much more since my Dad passed in 2011. I always treasure my family and all the love and memories they have unconditionally given me.
I truly feel immensely proud of great-grand fathers on both my maternal and paternal sides.
Firstly, my maternal great-grandfather or ‘Grandpa’ was a man who I remember and deeply respect and love. He was from Glasgow, worked into his late 70s and a very a selfless man. Born in Glasgow, lived a very hard and poor life, but took care of his whole family and was an example to me in how you should treat your loved ones, as precious. He cared for every member of his family and helped them without question.
Above: My father’s Grandfather in his uniform before he was promoted to Captain
Secondly, my paternal great-grandfather was a true example to me, as he was mounted cavalry in WW1 and beyond. He was a Roma Gypsy who immigrated into the UK before the upheaval WW1. He worked his way up the ranks from a Private to a Captain, especially as he was a highly skilled horse handler which was crucial during WW1. He served his country, Great Britain, diligently during and after the war. A true example of courage, honour and how an immigrant can serve a country with valour.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
I cannot say one film as there are such a huge number of films that are stunning.
What role does art play in my life and work?
It is my identity and who I have always been since I was a young child. I have created artwork from my heart from the age of 17, which has presented my life in my art, in all mediums I have explored and studied. Every piece is simply an expression of self. This expression of self does always not fit into the specific subject of self-portraiture.
Above: ‘Purple Punk’d Velvet’ by © Laura H Elliott
My ‘Landscape Moods Collection’ is a relaxing and deeply enjoyable body of work, a new freedom. I felt that when I painted my earlier, more realistic artworks, I felt tense and frustrated. I also create work in metal clay with genuine gemstones called the ‘Landscape Gems Collection’.
Above: ‘Ruby With Love’ (left) and ‘Sapphire With Love’ (right) by © Laura H Elliott
I have recently been exploring ways to add dimension to my paintings: surface textures and patterns, outline shapes, natural form and softer lines by using other mediums such as conte pastels to add softer lines, with a stark colour difference within the paint palette to add drama mood. My recent work has included a new set of fluorescent colours which adds a glow to each piece, transforming into a soft glow under low lights. These ideas cross into my metal clay work as well.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
My parents and my husband are my lynch-pins. I also treasure my close friends who have offered me encouragement, joy and love for decades, as they are my adopted families.
Whom would I like to work with 2017?
I always think at least 2-3 years ahead in the arts, just like galleries.
I am hoping for two wishes to come to fruition in the future: a second UK solo exhibition and to begin to produces a high quality limited edition print of my work.
What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on?
I am exploring new avenues and, as I mentioned before, I hope for a second UK solo exhibition and to begin to produces a high quality limited edition prints of my work.
Above: ‘Interstella’ by © Laura H Elliott
Where can you see me or my work in 2017?
I want to exhibit in new galleries, yet keep working with: Degree Art Gallery, Flux Gallery exhibitions and Fenster Art. Who knows what is round the corner.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
Art is my passion, always has been and always will.
How can you contact me?
Laura H Elliott BA (Hons), Dip
Buy my work online with Degree Art Gallery, London: https://degreeart.com/artists/laura-elliott
Laura H Elliott Art and Blog: https://laurahelliott.wordpress.com/