In conversation: Elizabeth Hynes
Elizabeth Hynes is a visual artist interested in metaphysics, technology, social justice and abstract and economy/ecology mathematics.
Insights of an Eco Artist Team
Overall I am interested in metaphysics, technology, social justice and abstract and economy/ecology mathematics.I am interested in comical existential absurdity metaphysics, and science for augmented living and systems.Scientific models and theories or discoveries and phenomena provide a living metaphysics. Mathematics as a meditation or tool for reductive logic to the point of absurdism is also of interest as a way to build a combat of thought to damaging ideas proliferating in the one or more societies.
Philosophy underpins all of my work and I try to relate to the individual self as a part of a connected world in every aspect.
Ecology, sustainability and the circular economy can be reduced to logic problems on meeting supply and demand with incentives to economies through patent schemes for needed technologies. Other knowledge sharing or ad-hoc and innovative IP licensing schemes are of great interest to find and invent to spark creativity at the meta level in networks of the knowledge economy.
Migrations as a fluid flow problem and reality as a an interaction of fluid objects and operations propogating through spacetime pose interesting solutions and debates. What is the place of Occam’s razor in the standard model and earth economics?
The pursuit of truth is multi faceted, with art I value colour, form and abstraction and that putting an object in a room is an honor and we don't always have that convenience. Digital art must exist in today's shifting world. Sometimes when you are uprooted all you take is your cloud password.
My process is loosely around these steps: identify an opportunity to create, focus on why the opportunity exists, think of materials, context, meaning of these former and the interelations in these meanings. choose a social unmet need and make make make to address this.
In the act of making my process develops in an experimental path with material/media self-expression given bearth to breath.
Let's start talking a little about yourself. How did you first get interested in art?
I have always been creative and loved drawing and sculpting from an early age. My parents then took me to art museums like the Tate Modern very often and I just became addicted. In school, I would spend my free time in the art room. I didn’t decide to go professional as an artist for some years after I left school but would often get the urge to be creative, mainly making gifts for friends and family. In recent years, I started to develop very well and decided to go for it. I’m still in the “emerging” category but the response to my art has been overwhelmingly positive. After school, I studied theoretical physics and did a PhD in nanotechnology and worked in patent law. These subjects give me a very unique perspective and I love making conceptual works. Science fiction and dystopias also intrigue me.
You mentioned in your artist's statement that your “main philosophical slant is bizarre absurdity and cheerful grimness.” When did you first delve into these concepts and why?
Unfortunately, I have a chronic illness. This brings setbacks into my life which humble me and give me a bleak sense of humour. I read philosophy like Sartre and Camus and get inspired by wacky contemporary art such as Damien Hirst. The combination of these influences results in bizarre absurdity fueled by surrealism. My life seems so very surreal to me often so I am driven to research these ideas for personal as well as artistic reasons. I first delved into these concepts at university, I would spend time with philosophy and literary student societies. Following my bachelor's, I went to London to CSM UAL to study a masters in Art and Science. The vast library became my second home and I read so many beautiful art books on electronic or internet art, deconstructivism, art theory, contemporary styles and the bizarre. These topics really resonated with me.
Your submitted paintings have a very characteristic brush movement and color palette. Can you tell us about the inspirations behind the work? What were the steps taken to develop this work?
I have been studying the works of Rothko, Sean Scully and Van Gogh in great detail. These artists created such impactful paintings that I couldn’t help but explore new techniques. I use a silicone palette knife with bright acrylics to create the effect. I began by laying my hands on a number of alternative ways to apply paint. I tried dripping, rollers and large paintbrushes. Over time this technique developed and my style went from expressionism to abstract to figurative and surreal. I believe it is important to sculpt the paint more than to blend the paint. I like the paint to be as unadulterated as possible to really add impact and drama.
Tell us about your detailed process of creation. How do you go from the first idea/concept to the final work? What are the fundamental steps you take to create an artwork?
I’m a big thinker so the process always involves reading. I usually get inspiration from a moment in daily life. Then an image of an artwork forms in my mind. I make a note in my notebook and do a mind map. Then I leave it alone for a few days and do some reading of philosophy or fashion or go to some exhibitions. This helps to flesh out the idea in my mind until I spontaneously make a decision on how to express that moment I first observed.
The steps then follow the traditional path of doodling various alternative final pieces and then intuitively using the chosen medium to its max. I believe it’s very important not to overwork an artwork. I always carry in my mind that “a true artist knows when to stop”.
Do you have a media that you are particularly drawn to as your creative outlet?
I love to work with clay, paint and found objects. Clay is so versatile and a pleasure to work with. You can add all sorts of textures to a surface in clay and really play around with organic forms. Found objects are something I routinely hunt for and use in developing ideas. I find it exercises my creativity to make something beautiful out of a found object such as a brick.
You obtained a PhD in physics and worked in law for the past several years before returning to the arts full-time. What draws you to these fields? How do they influence your art practice?
My PhD filled me with inspiration about technology and the sense of pushing the boundaries of discovery. My legal work and education enabled me to undertake humanitarian relief projects around the world. These activities spurred my desire for expression through the arts. During my time in physics and law, I was motivated by understanding and learning about the laws of nature and the laws of society. I believe this past enables me to probe deeper into questions surrounding the development of the concepts I use in my artwork. For example, my abandoned village collage is motivated by my understanding of the injustice inherent in social systems, giving a forgiving air of mystery to a burned-out car and ramshackle building remnants. My time as a physicist lends me an edge when it comes to looking at and using materials, and knowing the deeper meaning of the constituent properties. For example, using electric wiring for sculpting or acrylic paint and 3d printing as a statement on polymers and plastics.
Philosophy is a recurrent aspect of your practice, as you try to relate to the individual self as a part of a connected world. Can you explain this line of rationality?
The individual self is a summation of different elements, making an individual an emergent phenomenon. This is a level of understanding that posits consciousness as one with the body. Our feelings in our body and mind can often feel diffracted and separate. By relating the self to the connected world we see ourselves as part of a bigger whole and society itself, almost as an organism of its own, is another emergent phenomenon. By using these concepts it is possible to tap into human experience in a more forgiving and holistic manner.
As an international artist, you have been to several Art Fairs around the world and are currently selected for the Amsterdam Art Fair 2023. What can you tell us about these experiences? What advice would you give young artists?
These experiences have been humbling and exciting and I urge young artists to be brave in making applications and know that efforts do get rewarded!
What are your thoughts on the current atmospheres around ecology, sustainability and the circular economy?
I think circular economies are finally getting the traction they deserve but that efforts in ecology are severely lacking. Biodiversity and near extinctions are very concerning given the needs of the eco-system of the Earth, least of all to sustain the human race. We are interdependent on our animal brothers and sadly this view gets lost. Sustainable lifestyles are more popular now but there is still a financial difficulty there for homeowners and consumers which is up to the government to address. The pandemic brought a sense of unity to the globe but the environment and the economy took severe hits so it is now, in my view, an even bigger problem than before.
Lastly, where can our readers see your work? Do you have any upcoming shows or publications you want to share with us?
My work can be seen at these links:
I have applied for the London Biennale and the Luxembourg Art Prize, wish me luck and hope to see you there!
Philosophy is my methodology and I am also an author. My main philosophical slant is bizarre absurdity and cheerful grimness.
I am a prize winning, internationally exhibited artist. Also a Central Saint Martins London Outsider Insider. My approach comes from an angle of science and so my abstracted art has the abstraction of science in the medium of art. I believe this to be a unique aspect.
I obtained my PhD in physics and worked in law for the past several years before returning to the arts full-time. I work in most media."
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