Our Marketing & Design intern, Hannah Gray, had the opportunity to talk with some of our Speaking in Species artists. In this Q&A, Hannah learns about Elizabeth Spotswood Spencer's creative process.
Why do you do what you do?
I don’t really think it’s a choice; it’s something that I have to do. Art making and being an artist is a little bit of a blessing and a curse. It was never a choice. I mean, you go to school for it, and I was always doing it, always interested in it, and so now I feel like I’ve found the perfect medium or mediums that mimic my temperament and my moods. I like using wood because there’s a time when I like to grind or carve or maybe be a little bit more physical, and then there’s a softer side where I like to paint and make marks and pattern, so I feel like I’ve kind of formed this perfect storm that suits my personality and my mood.
When it comes to your woodwork, how do you choose which wood to use if it’s likely going to be covered up or painted over?
I usually use wood that’s pretty local to where I live. This is tupelo (points to Madame P. and a Mighty Tailwind), and I was never really that familiar with tupelo before I moved down to the East Coast. It’s alive in the swamps, it’s pretty easy to carve, every decoy carver uses it, so I use a lot of that. When I want darker wood or a darker palette to bring into it, there are different woods that I use for that as well.
Would you consider yourself more of a painter, a sculptor, a carver, or some other type of artist?
Take all of that and mush it into a ball, and put it all together.
What has surprised you most about working with wood or being an artist in general?
Maybe surprised isn’t the best word, but I think that lots of artists are always trying to get what’s in here (points to head) into the physical realm. That rarely happens, if ever. You’re always trying to achieve what you see in your mind. So I think that shifts even more so that it comes out with something I didn’t even know this was how it was going to turn out. But I like it. It’s telling me something about myself or about something that’s happened, and it has the ability to tell me more than I realized. And that’s probably the best surprise for me.