Artist

Lisa Traxler

Job

Professional artist (Generation ART commission / Quay Arts)

Generation ART commissioned artist Lisa Traxler

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Ten questions for ten creatives

  1. What do you do for a living?
    My work includes abstract paintings of acrylic and water based mediums on canvas and
    paper, stitched collages and installations (my response piece to the Generation Art
    exhibition at Quay Arts, IW, is a stitched installation) and sculptures of vitreous enamel on
    steel.
    I exhibit and sell my work in exhibitions and galleries throughout the UK and abroad. I also
    work to commission for private and public art clients. I have also written and tutored a
    number of fashion and art workshops for young people.
  2. What was the path that led you to do what you do now?
    I have always had a love of art (texture, colour and form) alongside history (archival and social)
    and English language (books, poetry, the spoken word). From school I went on to study for
    an Art & Design diploma which then specialised into a BA (Hons.) fashion and textile
    degree.
    After my fashion degree course I found my way into the world of fashion journalism and
    magazines. I eventually became fashion editor of an IPC magazine called ’19’ which was an
    amazing opportunity to travel the world and work with creative people in all aspects of the
    job. For many years I worked within the fashion industry working on costume design and
    styling for numerous magazines and television.
    A move to the Isle of Wight, where I am based now, enabled me to unlock the visual artist
    in me and I have been able to pursue my love of art and follow the dream I had as a young
    person to earn my living from being a visual artist. Things have quickly taken off and I
    have had an exciting and vibrant time, so far, exhibiting my work, collaborating with other
    artists and meeting a diverse range of people. I guess my career in the fashion industry laid
    down a sound basis for time management, interaction with people and a very strong work
    ethic that I have been able to carry with me and use within my art practice.
  3. What did you want to be when you were at school?
    I had always wanted to be an artist – ever since I was about six in primary school – I always
    had that ambition that I wanted a creative life somehow. I think it was this strong creative
    urge that I held that has carried me through, along with determination and hard work.
    I don’t give up easily!
  4. What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
    Believe in yourself, follow that gut feeling as it is the truth.
    Summed up in the poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley:
    ‘…I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.’
    Oh, and btw, please learn to play that amazing guitar that is still sitting in the cupboard at
    home….
  5. What do you like my most about your job?
    Freedom…. to create my own rules, my way of doing something. The variety of my work is
    always a joy. We spend most of our lifetime working so do something you love and then it
    isn’t just ‘work’ it is part of everything that you are.
    Immersion…the act of immersing myself in a project, be it a painting, an installation or a written
    proposal. To be able to completely immerse yourself in that moment is a magical
    experience which can harness immense richness.
  6. What do you find most challenging?
    Self believe and confidence!
    To keep believing that I can do what I do and then that believe that other people want to
    see it, buy it, be part of it. It is a constant rollercoaster of emotion especially as a self
    employed individual. A network of likeminded artists is important to talk through ideas,
    help you realise your worth and to keep going!
  7. What’s your favourite song (at the moment)?
    This depends on what I am doing…if I am in the studio about to start on a painting, for
    example, I have to get my mindset in the right place – ‘Spiegel I’m Spiegel’ by Arvo Part is a
    piece of music that often gets played, with the volume turned up, it is ethereal and
    transports me out of the moment – the sounds are shape, form and colour on the canvas…
    It’s a mesmerising piece of music.
  8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
    Time travel backwards – I love history! I find the past so inspiring – the intriguing overlap
    of one thing against another. This for me links into my love of costume, how garments
    were designed, the influence they had, how pieces of garment were put together, the way
    dyes and colour palettes were created. I find my sculpture and installation work is directly
    linked to this love – pieces of a paper pattern to create a garment that works in the three
    dimensional, stitching something together to create a sum larger than its starting point.
  9. Name three things that you always take with you to work on an average
    day.
    Lets say it is a studio day – first port of call is walking my dog, Little Susie, to clear my
    mind – so she would be one of my three as she is with me each day at work. The second
    thing would have to be my phone – this would double as a sketchbook, camera, social
    media link, e.mail link, etc. (my office!) third would be my awareness – if you become
    aware of how one thing links to another it can often give you answers. For example, when I
    get into the studio I spend some time just being in the space and then, if I have been
    working on a painting or art piece, I look over how the process has been evolving with fresh
    eyes of the day and it helps move the work forward to completion.
  10. Tell us a joke or a secret.
    Well, I always seem to forget the punch line so I wont bother with a joke! So my secret (no
    longer if I tell you) is… I love to sing in my car (very loudly). This ‘car therapy’ works very
    well if I am travelling to an exhibition opening or talk for example when my nerves are
    kicking in and trying to get the better of me! A quick blast of very loud, quite bad singing –
    by me (either along to the radio, Bowie, Kate Bush, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac etc.) does
    wonders for my spirit – very uplifting (it helps if you don’t have passengers sitting next to
    you, although Little Susie the dog doesn’t seem to mind!) I can be a complete
    embarrassment to my daughter… sing like nobody is listening and you just don’t care!