We are delighted to introduce the artwork of Laura Elliott. We were first introduced to Laura’s work online and quickly became a follower of her unique style. When Laura applied to exhibit her work at FLUX Exhibition we were instantly taken with her art and were eager to show her distinctive creations. Laura is an artist that works with both paint and metal clay. It was her metal clay work that really grabbed our attention. Laura is an artist who has harvested her creativity from a very young age. After studying and finding her form Laura now works with metal clay and precious and semi-precious gemstones. Her work is intricate and beautiful displaying rawness and luxury, a combination that adds to the beauty of her work.
Laura has gallery representation and takes part in numerous exhibitions within the UK and internationally. One thing we are sure of is the journey Laura is taking is an exciting one, she is an artist with passion and drive, she is an artist that is not afraid to take on new challenges.
Laura we love your work, we love the concept that we could wear a unique, stunning and impactful piece as jewellery – it’s as personal as it can get with contemporary art. Just marvelous – thank you for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us.
Self taught or art school?
I am mainly self taught and self directed, although I have studied professional courses in the arts.
It is often said that many artists have always been creative. I do know this applies to me; from my parent’s recalling vivid memories of my early creations, aged 2 years, of tiny home-made pizzas with each topping distinguishable, in proportion and clear. I always gravitated to creative and imaginative projects and this included play at home and lessons at school. When I reached the age of 13, I found two mediums which I still practice to this day: clay and paint. As I grew older, it was when I was a teenager that I gained my first taste of exhibiting my art in 1994/95 with ceramics, sculpture, drawing and painting. However, at the age of 18 I began to work in the nursing field and stepped away from the arts. I always held in the back of my mind the desire to pursue my passion in the arts and felt it was a ‘pipe dream’, never to be achieved, but I was wrong!
It was in 2002 that I decided to follow my heart and pursue my artistic passions; taking the steps to start my life-long ‘pipe dream’ of working in the arts. My professional art training has been gained through four educational achievements. Primarily, I created my work in a self directed manner whilst attending school within GCSE and A Level. I decided to study an Art and Design Access Diploma to then study for an Art and Media Bachelor of Arts with honours, during which I specialized, both practically and academically, in Fine Art and Photography. I found that becoming a professional artist, gaining representation and, more importantly, gaining my Art and Media BA (Hons) degree a self validating and confidence building experience. All the experience I gleaned from my studies including: viewing artist’s exhibitions, speaking in depth with my tutors and peers, spending hours reading about the arts, exhibiting my work, gaining gallery representation, has given me invaluable experience to work as a professional artist. Since then, I have exhibited and sold my work in group and solo exhibitions around the world and I have not looked back since then.
What is metal clay and what work do you create from that medium?
Metal clay is an exciting art medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver, gold, bronze or copper which is mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewelry, beads and small sculptures. Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal within it. The binder burns away, leaving a pure sintered or solid piece of metal.
Due to my life-long passion of clay and sculpture, I expanded my work in 2012 to use the exciting medium of silver, copper and bronze metal clay, in concert with my ‘Landscape Moods’ series of paintings. Metal clay allows me to sculpt work in a free form and expressive manner, allowing me to create a wide range of sculptural metal jewellery and this has been titled the ‘Landscape Gems’ series.
My metal clay work has enabled me to indulge my love of sparkle and genuine precious and semi-precious gemstones in both facetted and bead form. I personally source all the gemstones I use, which include: Diamonds sourced via the ‘Kimberley Process’ (facetted and rough), Ruby, Garnet, Emerald (Brazilian and Columbian) and my personal favourite gemstone which is Paraiba Tourmaline (from Mozambique). I have called this series of jewellery the ‘Landscape Gems ‘ series which is sculptural and organic which are designed with a range of media, including: high quality 100% genuine gemstones, gemstone granules, gleams, mica powder, solid silver, enamel and recycled elements such as vintage watch parts. I additionally incorporate media such as metal sheets, gemstone settings, wire, beading thread, metal findings, charms and polymer clay. Each of these mediums provides me the opportunity to further develop and enhance the beauty in each piece of jewellery in this series. By combining all these elements it, therefore, enhances the unique fingerprint of Mother Nature found within all genuine gemstones featured. My artwork and jewellery both explore colour and form and I feel that one informs the other. Metal clay is such an exciting progression and this medium allows me to further explore my distinct signature painting style within a three-dimensional framework.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
This question, I feel, is like asking what my favourite film is. I have to say that my love of pottery lead me to collect various examples of Carn pottery; however, my contemporary inspiration is the artist Maggie Hambling. She encapsulates my multi-discipline, expressive and adaptive approach toward art by using both painting and sculpture. My peers in the arts have said how she is both down to earth and passionate towards all artists, both emerging and professional. The one piece of work I adore is her self expressive piece: ‘Self Portrait’ (1977-78)
How would you describe your style?
I personally would call my style as expressive, free, cathartic and adaptable. My work mixes abstract expressionist styles and whimsical memories within the subject matter of British Landscapes. It was during 2002 that I created two mixed media abstract expressionist paintings ‘Landscape Moods 1: Torn’ and ‘Landscape Moods 2: Joy’. These two paintings started my creative process, which allowed me to focus and from these two paintings I developed my signature style. These mixed media paintings are not just inspired by landscapes I have seen but are additionally driven by my emotions, hence title ‘Landscape Moods’. I have explored bright and subdued colours, abstraction and simple brush strokes to connote form to the viewer. Texture, depth and colour are achieved by using a wide range of media from acrylic paint to Conté pastels to newspaper and genuine gemstone powders and granules.
Since 2009, I begun to broaden my ‘Moods Series’ of painting techniques in concert with my secondary passion of metal clay jewellery in silver, copper and bronze. “The metal clay jewellery I create is sculptural and organic in nature and I will be moving forward with this series to create exciting new ‘Landscape Gems’ work which is designed exclusively for Flux Exhibition at The Royal College of Art, London.
Where are your favourite places to view art?
I am passionate about visiting emerging artists work. The galleries around the UK are a competitive market and representation is often expensive and saturated. However, I believe that the art market is diverse, with the internet as a tool to gain new exposure and opportunities. My online gallery of my work featured with Degree Art Gallery is a crucial aspect to my sales and is something I am proud of. I would like to encourage everyone to also visit local exhibitions in galleries and locations; you will find treasures you may not have seen at other locations. I exhibit locally in the county of Berkshire, UK and across London, so keep your eye out for my work.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
My first and most enduring love is Picasso and his cubist artworks, exploring colour, perspective and the transition of three-dimensional objects into a two-dimensional framework. I believe art that resonates and moves me on a personal level has the most long lasting influence on my work. The deepest reaction I experienced was around 1996, when I visited the Tate Modern. I walked into this high ceiling room and was faced with an enormous series of paintings by Mark Rothko. The works and atmosphere had a profound impact, causing me to cry and need to sit down. After a short time, I read the information on the artworks and the pieces were painted during a dark emotional period in Rothko’s life. Certainly, this was what caused me to cry, feeling like the artworks and colours swallowed me into his life. I can understand his need to express himself in this manner, something I have in common with artists such as Rothko.
I have visited countless exhibitions and have explored a large range of mediums both practically and from academic reading. I have enjoyed viewing Cypriot English artist Tracey Emin’s work, feeling that her freedom of her self and her personal experiences in life move me, as she is such an open book.
In addition, contemporary British painter Jenny Saville and American photographer Nan Goldin, but the artist I feel I relate to and am directly inspired by is the British contemporary artist Maggie Hambling due to her passion for expression of her life and visual diary. Maggie’s work is expressive, fascinating and her passion for the arts and other artists work is something I admire and hope to emulate.
What or who inspires your art?
I can encompass what my inspiration in three words: my memories of landscapes, emotions and learning about other people. The focus of my paintings are what has come to be known as the ‘Landscape Moods’ series. My work is additionally influenced by my experiences from countries I have visited around the world, my mental images and natural forms.
As a child, 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 who they were and how they felt. All the emotions and feelings from each person I meet in life always ignite feelings and ideas in my mind and this is then transferred into my artwork. I always say that my work is a direct reflection of me and the time it is created. I would say there was two things as a child that I loved to do, be creative and speak with other people. As I moved into my teen years I was inspired by music and found painting a solace, something I still draw on to this day.
Freedom of my self expression is of paramount importance to me and I have significantly created art to express my inner self since being a teenager. I find it very cathartic and this is why I adore every aspect of creativity. The moment of my first painting sale and a commission inspired by sold paintings was an immense buzz, as it showed to me how others enjoyed my work and that has propelled me forward.”
Where is your studio and what’s it like?
Simply put, my studio is my home or specifically my lounge. I also enjoy the feeling of painting ‘en plein air’ or outside in our garden.
Do you have any studio rituals?
Not really. It is all about my feelings and what that moment in my life is, which relates back to my inspirations.
What are you working on currently?
My work is constantly evolving and progressing. Within mixed media painting I have been exploring and gaining inspiration from effects within other mediums, such as sepia colour photography and how old photographs look after years of loving attention. The addition of a new twist of colours and techniques coupled with ink texturing, stamping and embossing and the resist effect when I use my parent’s old candles which act as a resist against the acrylic paints I use.
Within my metal clay ‘Landscape Gems’ series, it has been propelled forward since the end of 2015, to include earthenware clay along side metal clay. This exciting new boost of energy came from the new ‘Landscape Gems’ work created exclusively to be exhibited at The Royal College of Art with Flux exhibition in December 2015.
Where can we buy your art?
My work is primarily sold with DegreeArt.com Ltd, based in 12a Vyner Street, Bethnal Green, London, UK. It was from July 2013 that I was represented by Degree Art Gallery which was a new chapter in my career by achieving gallery representation, which is an enriching step for my career, enabling my work to be viewed by a new audience and group of collectors.
I really want to express to collectors, not be afraid to buy online. You can commission my work in paintings and metal clay, which is a process I love and find exhilarating to work with collectors, something I am experienced in. All my ‘Landscape Moods’ and ‘Landscape Gems’ series can be tailored to your choice of sizes or colour scheme to fit your home or office. My representative gallery, Degree Art.com, is an experienced and professional gallery who will support you though the commission or purchase process.
What are your ambitions?
As an artist, I simply wish to continue to exhibit and sell my work. I adore the freedom to explore new ideas and links between my paintings and the metal clay designs. I have been exploring the new method of mixing and layering the three metal clays: copper, bronze and white bronze with the aim to utilise this effect in larger, more sculptural work. I view them as a mini ‘Landscape Moods’ painting in a piece of jewellery that can be worn everyday. In addition, this series now is going to be on a larger scale, moving into the category of sculpture, yet still holding the essence of my style of work. This series has been propelled since the end of 2015, to include earthenware clay along side metal clay. This exciting new boost of energy came from the new ‘Landscape Gems’ work exclusively created to be exhibited at The Royal College of Art with Flux exhibition in December 2015.
My aim is simple: I want to have others gain as much enjoyment viewing and owning my artwork as I do when I create them. It might sound clichéd saying this, but it is how I honestly feel. Art contains such a rich mixture of concepts, emotions and ideas; I feel it is an essential part of our journey in life, even if we don’t consciously know it. I always take heart that my work has had and will have an impact on those who buy my work and those who view my work in exhibitions, thus sharing with them my life in a visual diary. In essence share myself and who I am as a person.