Interview: Elizabeth Dillman
Luca Curci talks with Elizabeth Dillman during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
In the complexity of the modern world, we can miss the most interesting aspects. Since images in today’s digital world are smooth and idealized, a picture that has imperfections and a story behind it can be more fascinating. I search for unique visual imagery in ordinary environments. I strive for authenticity in my drawings and hope to create something even more beautiful than the original concept. I choose subjects, often simple in composition: looking for a pattern, shape, line, and contrast. What fascinates me about pencils is that with single shades of lead, I can create dimension, texture and tone. I love the interplay of the material, the application of graphite on paper to give the flat surface image and life. I aspire to produce drawings that will engage the audience and hope that viewers will experience the same passion and awe I have for the world around me when they look at my work. Elizabeth Dillman grew up in Colorado and has lived in Wyoming, Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana and now resides in Harrison, Ohio. Liz’s passion for art began at a young age and she was always involved in art classes throughout her school years. Following her childhood, she majored in Education and Physical Therapy. After raising her child, she again felt the pull of art and began drawing on nights, weekends, and any time she had a free moment. Elizabeth has started exhibiting her works in juried gallery shows.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Elizabeth Dillman – I have a few ongoing series of drawing in my repertoire that I work between. What I am working on depends on my mood, new ideas for work, or a new image for a piece in an ongoing series. I will find something that motivates me and add a new piece into a series intermittently. I love old things, industrial mechanical items, such as trains, planes, and automobiles. I love the weathering of the metal, all the details of the parts, the bolts and gears that make the machine work. I have completed several pieces in this series. I find the early automobiles, especially from 1920-1950 so interesting. They are moving pieces of art and architecture as well as being a form of transportation. I have done a series of drawings based on the hood ornaments of these automobiles. I love the natural world and especially the animals whose forms have depth and interest. I have mainly focused on elephants and rhinos. The wrinkly texture of their skin is fascinating to render on paper. In my most recent work, I have tackled the tricky subject of water and its movement in a drawing. I am interested in doing a series depicting rocky areas, mountains, shorelines, perhaps even something interstellar such as meteors, planets.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
ED – My passion for art began at a young age and I was always involved in art classes throughout my school years. While raising my child, I again felt the pull of art. I started in art again, taking local art classes, mainly working in oil. I also dabbled with other mediums and liked graphite. Currently, I am working exclusively in graphite. I found this medium easier for a working mother, with no paintbrushes to clean, no drying paint left on the palette. I could stop and start work as I am able. This allows me to work for a few moments or a few hours, depending on what time I have. I fell in love with the process of creating Images only through the application of graphite on paper.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
ED – In my work in graphite, the selection of subjects has been a reasoned process. Sometimes I started work with a particular subject in mind, whether it is a topic or image I am interested in portraying. Sometimes I create a work specifically for an exhibition. After I decide on the idea or theme for a project, I then use many reference images comparing pictures, angles of the topic. Typically, I narrow the view down to the part of the image I find most compelling.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
ED – In my process, the most difficult thing is getting the initial layout, and “blocking in”, the foundation of each piece. During this part of the process that I find I may have a crisis of confidence. By continuing to work on the piece, I find that it slowly comes together. The fun begins after this foundation is set and I put in details and refine the piece.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
ED – A piece is really done for me when it is framed and ready to be hung. After I have completed work and looked at it in its finished state, I am excited to see than change I have made from a blank paper to a finished drawing. I enjoy looking at the details I have put into each piece to give the work its own personality.
LC – Can you explain something about the artwork you have in our exhibition?
ED – My submission for CONTEMPORARY VENICE is Automobile Reflecting City. Throughout the history of the automobile, cars have reflected the society of the time. Automobiles are a mirror of ourselves, and our interactions with our cities. The motivation behind this work was to capture the essence of the machine by showing a portion. From the part, asking the viewer to see the whole scene. Look closely, this automobile reflects the city back to us. This work was started in the fall of 2019 and finished in early 2020. I enjoy old mechanical things. This particular vehicle appealed to me. The age and imperfections of the vehicle give it personality. I also enjoyed how, if you look close enough, you can see the new buildings modern reflected in the old vehicle.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
ED – The themes of the art exhibitions sponsored by the ITSLIQUID groups represent some ideas and challenges of our times. The theme for CONTEMPORARY VENICE is IDENTITIES and on the relationship between man, society and contemporary cities. The urban population in cities across the world continues to grow as more people look to better their situation and move away from the rural environment. Living in a city with all its different people, food, activities, transportation, can affect the resident’s identities and outlooks. This art exhibition asked the artist to reflect on these ideas in their works.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
ED – I have nothing but nice things to say about I ITSLIQUID. I had quick correspondence from all the employees with whom I worked. They were all extremely helpful in walking me through the process of getting my artwork to Venice in these challenging times. Everyone I worked with was so warm and supportive, and the event was well-received. With COVID-19 negatively impacting everything, I think that I did not get everything out of the experience that I would have had I been able to attend. I feel missed out on the networking that would have happened had I been able to be there in person. I am excited that my work is being seen by a wider audience. I welcome the opportunity to present my work internationally. ITSLIQUID offers several ways for artists to show their work; from live gallery events to online monthly and yearly shows. So far, I have only submitted work for a galleried exhibition. It would be great to utilize some of the other ITSLIQUID services to show my work in the future.