20 Questions w/ Liz Quan

lizquanart

Describe yourself and your work.
I like complex things that are paired down to a comprehensive form and make work that is simple in form but has complex implications.

How did you get started in your career as an artist? 
After working as an art director in publishing for many years, I missed working with my hands. I explored multiple mediums such as leather, jewelry, and woodturning. They were all so fun and interesting. But clay was the medium that stuck. I continued to take classes and eventually moved to Colorado for a postbaccalaureate at CU Boulder. My career as a ceramic artist has been in tandem with working as a graphic designer.

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What piece of work best represents you and why? 
I really enjoy the porcelain rings featured on my site. They are organic in nature and simple. They invite you to play and interact with the piece. There’s also a sound element that’s reminiscent of shells. The piece always changes and can be interpreted different ways.

How do your materials influence your work?
Clay has flexible sculptural qualities. It can be formed into anything and is more forgiving than say wood or metal. The ability to readily add or take away material during the creation process offers tremendous freedom.

Where do you go to get inspired? 
Being in the studio is where I get a lot of inspiration. Working with clay has endless possibilities and ideas come  through the process of working. Outside the studio I get inspiration from museums, galleries, and Instagram.

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What have you learned through creating that has surprised you?
It’s so healing. You get in the zone. Thoughts expand and time passes.

Describe your work routine for your artistic practice?

I don’t have a strict routine, but I’ll go to the studio after work and on weekends. Sometimes it’s hard to get in the ‘zone’ after a day’s work or being distracted with life. So I transition by starting with ‘busy’ work. That might be organizing the studio, recycling clay, or unloading a kiln.

What is it like when you collaborate with other artists?
The collaborations I’ve had are to create parts for my work. I designed metal armatures for the lights, and some woodwork for the porcelain pieces. As an artist you really appreciate the nuances of another person’s craft and the time it takes. 

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How do you balance being an artist and making a living? 
Currently, I’m working full-time as a book designer at Shambhala Publications. This relieves some financial pressure.

What is your process for coming up with new work?
Just keep playing in the studio. Play and exploration come easily in the studio!

Why do you believe art has value?
The freedom to express ourselves without constraints is truly a gift. Art allows us to be present, it inspires us, it can bring comfort and fosters unique connections. It’s a free form of expression that is essential to our existence.

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What is playing on your stereo these days?
NPR

What are you reading right now? 
Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Where is your favorite place to visit (here or abroad, visited or wanting to visit)?
Paris is a favorite. I lived there when I was 7 for 3 years, so it has sentimental value. I recently visited Japan. Naoshima is a small island that has wonderful contemporary art set among traditional Japanese architecture all wonderfully conceived by architect, Tadeo Ando.

Which artist is currently inspiring you the most? 
There isn’t one single artist that is inspiring me right now. But there are a few that are always influential: Maya Lin, Brancusi, Isamu Noguchi, Martin Puryear, Tara Donovan, and Alexander Calder.

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What’s the best thing about your studio?
The daylight. Natural light is the best. It’s so healing and calming.

What do you do to stay motivated to create? 
Keep making. One thing leads to another.

What’s the best part about being an artist?
Being able to create something original and following that thought process is pretty rewarding. You have complete control over the decisions on how and what you want to make.  It’s paralyzing and liberating at the same time.

Thank You, Liz!


To stay up to date with Liz’s latest works, visit LizQuan.com 
Follow Liz on Instagram, @lizquan1

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