Arizona Artist a Day
365 days of established, emerging and one of a kind artists
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Day 181: Elizabeth Bayham (interview with Elizabeth Bayham)
Interview with Elizabeth Bayham
You lived in Europe and various places in the world....has this inspired your art and changed your
In my early twenties I lived in Europe and traveled from art museum to art museum for a year. This
experience exposed me to all the masters and the history behind their work. To sip a cocktail in
Rouge where Toulouse-Lautrec painted La Goulue steeped me in art history like nothing
dressed magi and the nude
hanging side by side in the Prado and find that
nude artwork during the time that Goya the artist was having a secret affair with
dimension than any art history class ever could. Living in Europe broadened my
technique, medium, periods of art and the interesting lives of the artists.
I met an Austrian
medical student in
Innsbruck who traveled through India sitting on the corners of the street
with ink on
watercolor paper. His continuous sinuous line depicted mosques ...
robed men ...cows ...
on their heads. His work served to inspire my use of ink and
line in a minimalistic way ...
he alluded to the
a lot of detail...yet his line said a lot.
Although Asian art is not what I have observed in my travels, I find that I blurt my line in a similar way with
brush ...pen...posts...finger. I choose as my medium sumi ink...graphite...charcoal ... and watercolor. As in
Asian art, my compositions are the essence of the moment.
How long have you been in Phoenix?
I have lived in Germany,,,Vermont... Massachusetts and Arizona; However, I was raised in Phoenix and studied
in high school. My art teacher Ms. Steffes would cheer and prod me on... encouraging me to let the ink
and the watercolor run...controlling it with sponges... fingers ...or whatever. I gravitated to ink and
in high school because of the sharp contrast of the silhouette on thick watercolor paper.
What do you think of the Arizona art scene?
The Arizona art scene in general is eclectic...the Roosevelt row / downtown phoenix area is more gutsy. In
general, there is a more provincial mentality toward the human form and getting a gallery to show a figure
drawing is a challenge. Whereas New York and Chicago have a broader mentality.
Who are the artists that impress you in the Arizona art scene?
The works of Fred Tieken...Joe Holdren...Sandra Ortega ...Larry Ortega ....Onna Vollmer are the show stoppers...
and have made a grand splash in the downtown Phoenix art scene.
How long have you been doing art?
Since my school days ...I studied at ASU...Shemer...my Phoenix College teacher Donna Sanchez recommended
me for the position of director of visual merchandising After taking her class...that focused on selling in store
windows. I worked in that position for 6 plus years. She was truly an inspiration with reference to composition...
the principles and elements of design...and marketing.
My studies at Shemer under the instruction of Jack Adams catapulted me into figure drawing. All my teachers
were strong influences in my life as an artist.
What other class would you like to take?
In the future I hope to work with a flat type of oil and acrylic and work much larger...and on canvas...Shemer
would be an excellent place to take these studies.
How do you get ideas...what keeps creativity going?
My work is the essence of the moment ...the idea is enacted immediately. I am a very restless soul ...full of
initiative and ideas. I generate something creative constantly. Foremost, my mother instilled design and color
coordination in me....she was a fashion icon...with impeccable taste and style.
I like working in ink because of the clean line and contrast on white. I tend to find it versatile. I water it down...
I smudge it ...I use pen...ink...fingers ...posts...I let it run ....I blurt my line ...Pen is great for fine detail...I am
impatient ...persistent...and once again.... My work is of the moment.
How do you get artistic ideas?
Creativity has been engrained in me...the visual is a front runner in my life.
Things can't be askew! I love beauty...I love fresh ideas ... perfection is a goal...I never weary of the quest...
How do you keep your work intuitive?
Creativity is a constant urge...a life's breath ....and I enjoy it.
Why do you choose to draw flowers?
Flowers make for a beautiful bright spot in decor. I started up drawing again as an interior designer for my
design clients decor.
Why do you choose to draw the figure?
I started my own gallery "The Eleventh and Portland art" gallery about 8 years ago to house my flowers and
my brother’s figures....I called the show "Et Femmes Et Des Fleurs." I began to draw figures because my brother's
artwork impressed me more than anyones. His genius started as a child. My line is blurted ...His line is executed
with precision and skill.
His works surround me in my studio
where I hold showings
I have had a hard time finding galleries that will show either of our figurative work. Darryl Brandt of Public Image
will show case John Bayham's work in January ...a show than is comprised of late artist's works.
The Public Image is presently showcasing my "Bawdy Parts" until the end of July 2017. Lola's coffee...the
Icehouse ...a pop up Bentley gallery in old town Scottsdale have shown Des Femmes...and my flowers were
in the AZ 45 showing at the Tieken gallery ...the Nash ...the Skyline ...Proxy 333.
What inspired the Bawdy Parts show?
The shyness for the human form has compelled me to do my own works ...and call them "bawdy parts" ...an
attention seeking play on words. Darryl Brandt is my gracious host at Public Image. My thirst for attention on
Roosevelt Row is in response to the rejection of my brother’s work by a curator on the row. He banished them
by saying "nudes don’t sell!" I find it hard to believe that a curator is unaware of the sale of Picasso’s
"Nude Green Leaves and Bust" at 106.5 million in 2010.
My "Bawdy Parts" show is my barrier breaking attempt to broaden the minds of the Arizona galleries...and
open the door wider (with an element of shock and humor) for the anatomically correct. Just trying to break
barriers and like Pablo Picasso ....I pride myself in the capacity to shock.
Shelley Whiting's art
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