We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Tinglof and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elizabeth, how do you think about risk?
The concept of risk taking for most artists is their only path for creating. Without risks in your process, whatever that may be, the work doesn’t grow. Artist, Mark Rothko said, “Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks.” Creative thinkers take risks intuitively but also intellectually. As an abstract oil painter, my focus begins with ideas I see in my head. Those ideas then can and often do mutate depending on my approach to the materials and process. Altering established applications and practices for materials need to be a balance between understanding and experimentation. Another aspect to this way of working is the willingness to destroy what I’ve created in order to push the piece even further. The risk of losing what you have labored over is a real breathe deeply moment. I also believe that part of taking chances is to diversify. In doing so, I take time away from my studio practice to curate exhibitions for other artists. Working on concepts that don’t necessarily apply to your own work but connect with your artistic community can be extremely valuable. Engaging in dialogues from other perspectives and helping artists with opportunities to exhibit their work brings me back to my studio refreshed and full of ideas.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Whether my paintings are on the wall, become sculptural or turn into installations, the conversation begins with deconstruction. It then evolves to one of reconstruction. The foundation layer in my work is dark and highly textural, representing a place where loss and grief live. As I apply more layers, I strip and rebuild leaving behind fragments until the surface reflects the disruption of something earthly. The universe is a complicated and sometimes cruel creature, forcing one to grapple with emotions that differ from our natural tendencies. Compartmentalizing is my tool for survival and the many layers of my paintings articulate this act of protection. I have had a long and multifaceted career with ups and downs like every working artist but I’m most proud of its longevity. My work has been exhibited throughout Southern, CA for the past 27 years, my most recent one being Seeds – Soil at the Seaver Gallery. About 10 years ago, I started curating which led to working on a three part exhibition series for the gallery Launch LA. The third and final part of the series, “Have to Hold,” was completed this last September and was curated by myself and Ashley Hagen. The six contemporary artists, Vida Liu, Constance Mallinson, Kristen Morgin, Kimberly Morris, Ephraim Puusemp and George Stoll, addressed the rich yet charged history and psychology of collecting. Additionally, I’m the founder of Rough Play Projects, a raw land site in Joshua Tree, CA, designated for Site-specific Installations and co-founder of Rough Play Collective, an artists curatorial group based in Los Angeles. Rough Play Collective has currently added an artist residency that will provide facilities for Los Angeles based artists preparing for their first solo exhibition and who require additional space to complete their body of work. Our 2021 recipient is artist Carla Jay Harris.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
During normal circumstances, a perfect night would be to take them for a gallery crawl in the Culver City Arts District. We’d stop at Mandrake for cocktails before the galleries and end the night with dinner at Lukshon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Just before the pandemic began, I was an artist in residence at Gilsfjordurarts Residency, Westfjords, Iceland. My time in Iceland and the support I received from everyone connected to the residency deeply influenced my new work. I’m extremely grateful to the artistic director, Martin Cox and the whole Brekka Clan for showing me their Iceland.
Feature photo: Photographer Martin Cox Waterfall photo: Photographer Farrell Scott