30sec film artists Vol.5 – Lizz Aston

“Transient patterns of light, colour and shadow”

Lizz Aston is a textile artist and industrial designer based in Toronto. In her work, she bridges gaps between traditional textile practice and contemporary art and design. Her work encompasses sculpture and installation, including interactive and site-specific projects. Aston holds an Advanced Diploma in Crafts & Design from Sheridan College, and recently completed a three-year artist residency in the Textile Studio at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the RBC Emerging Artist Studio Set-up Award. Aston’s work is represented in public collections including Humber Galleries and Collections, the Visual Arts Collection (ARBZ) at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives – Works on Paper Collection, and the Donovan Collection.

Lizz Aston – 30sec film artists Q&A

What’s your favorite thing to do when you are alone?

Listen to music and dance in the living room while shovelling key lime pie into my mouth, that or garden/cook/read

How do you usually get inspired again after working on a big project/painting?

Being a full-time artist and a full-time student can be quite overwhelming sometimes, and I have to be very self-aware and careful in order to avoid burn-out. In order to recharge and get inspired to start on something new, sometimes that means forcing myself to not work on anything at all, and allowing myself the freedom to be bored without feeling guilty. I think travelling and getting out the city can be very beneficial, because I become removed from my daily habit of just plowing through work all the time.

What's the last great book you read?

In terms of design books - Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design and Democracy, as well as Speculative Everything. For personal reading, I just finished Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I would love to read some more of Maya Angelou's books soon.

What super power do you want to have?

The power to change the weather, like Storm from the XMen

What’s your craziest dream?

It's too difficult to pick the weirdest dream, since they happen every single night. Here is a brief list:

1. One time I had a dream that in order to talk to someone on the phone I had to make mustard and blend it up and talk through the mustard in order to hear the person on the other side

2. Another time I had a dream that my mom was putting trays of socks in the oven, and I woke talking in my sleep telling her that there wasn't enough chicken wings!!

3. When I was a child, I used to wake up with food in my bed from sleep walking and eating in my sleep. My first apartment in Toronto was a photography studio, and in order to get to my bedroom I had to climb up a ladder through a hole in the floor. I was so nervous that I would walk in my sleep, and fall through the hole in the floor that I put a cup of nuts beside my bed to thwart my sleep eating. Needless to say it worked!

How do you come up with ideas?

As an artist working in a craft based medium, my relationship to ideas and making new work is heavily based in textile processes. By working with a theme as a starting point, and exploring the properties of my materials through process work, this allows me to build a relationship with my materials. I am interested in exploring not only the properties and constraints of my materials, but also looking at ways of subverting and exploiting these properties in order to create new relationships and juxtapositions.

Artist’s bookshelf

Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy

Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming

Men Explain Things to Me

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy (MIT Press)

Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming (MIT Press)

Men Explain Things to Me

Comment here!