We had the good fortune of connecting with Liz St Andre and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liz, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Fear and overthinking make it easy to talk ourselves out of things. It’s easy to find reasons not to show your work, not to launch, not to (insert whatever goal you’d like here) but the truth is that once you decide to just go for it, chances are you’ll be able to overcome those reasons and you’ll learn from the experience.
It took me a long time to show anyone the art I was making. Art is such a deeply personal creation, sharing my work felt like exposing myself, heart and soul. Even when they said nice things, I felt awkward and vulnerable. So I tried to exchange my fear for curiosity and treat their feedback like market research. Disconnecting my personal narrative to each piece helped me realize that what’s most important is the narrative that a piece sparks for the viewer. Once my work is out in the world, it’s all about other peoples’ reactions and interactions with the art. This helped me calm down.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m continually inspired by the way that one thing leads to another with making art. Following my curiosity has been the key for me. Early on in my creative journey I would worry that I was too “all over the place,” jumping from printmaking to painting, dabbling in acrylic then watercolor then back to acrylics… experimenting with cyanotypes then collage then before you know it, I’d be drawing with charcoal or pastels and graphite then mixing things up again. I used to think that I should “settle down” and just pick one thing to focus on but I’m beginning to realize that following threads of curiosity is what it’s all about. Now, instead of telling myself to focus, I put up a sign in my studio that says “Just Keep Going!” I hope my interests and art practices never stop changing and evolving.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite places in Arizona is the little artist community of Tubac, located about 45 minutes south of Tucson. The town itself has a rich history but I get excited about the artsy shops and galleries that offer sculptures, ceramics, paintings, and photography, as well as unique crafts, jewelry, fashion, leather, antiques and more. Tubac Center of the Arts is also located there and they offer world-class workshops so you could go for a week to learn and never run out of things to do!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
SO MANY online art teachers have taught me so much. Not to mention, they made my year of Covid a year of beautiful awakening so I’m forever grateful. I’ll dedicate my shoutout to the brilliant Carrie Schmitt, my first online art teacher. She is an incredibly powerfully positive ray of light and I have her to thank for helping to silence (or at least muffle) my inner critic.