We had the good fortune of connecting with Liv Aanrud and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liv, why did you pursue a creative career?
How many times have I whispered this to myself…while in the fetal position? Ayye.. There was never an exact moment where I made the decision to be an artist; I mean, I declared myself an “art major” at 17, but so do a lot of people. Honestly, I don’t think I ever had any better ideas, and in my many moments of doubt, believe me, I’ve considered what I still could do, what might have been…but I just keep coming back to the simple fact that I want to keep at this. I am very resourceful and self-sufficient, and I’ve managed to continue making artwork, never really limiting myself to a medium–no matter what job I had or where I was living. I guess if you do this for enough years without giving up, and you end up with a lot of stories and the dubious title of “artist.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am a textile artist, so in some ways that sets me apart a bit– but to go one step further, I also came at it from a background in painting, so my work sits somewhere in between these fields, even teetering into sculpture and performance… I had a studio visit recently with a curator who had been totally convinced from photos that my work was actually paint rather than fabric. I like that my work is hard to define and maybe even a bit hard to see! This can also work against me in the age of scrolling art and virtual exhibitions—photos definitely flatten this tactility….my work will always look better– much more nuanced and rich in real life. I would say that I haven’t had an easy time…I’ve always been tenacious and optimistic, but that also means fighting through frustration, self doubt, and sometimes being taken advantage of. I’ve always wished I was better at the game –I’m not really a natural hustler on the business side, and in hindsight, that might have helped. I tell myself to operate with the “confidence of a mediocre white man” but when I hear that, all I can picture is blurry figure in khakis who mistakes enunciation for expertise, and I blank out. I’m always grateful for other artists who I can reach out to for advice–I think that is a big part of what makes a community of artists—this kind of support. So, lesson #1 is to surround yourself with people who support you, and pay it back double. I may have had to learn the hard way at times, but I can say whatever friendships, gallerists or collectors I work with— those relationships have formed authentically, and are hopefully stronger for it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a particular daydream: visiting friends and a city to explore! And now my face looks sad…ha ha. Well, reality set completely aside or time machine close at hand, let me think…. We’d walk down to Chinatown after a hike in Elysian Park, take the train to Olvera St. for a margarita and a snack, get some sushi in Little Tokyo–perhaps a karaoke interlude then find some place to go dancing…maybe there’s a concert in Grand Park?! I’m not a big planner, but that would be one day that I’d set up, then the rest would be more open ended…some ideas: El Mercado in Boyle Heights for some food and mariachi, maybe even a Dodger game at some point. I’m not a baseball fan as much as I miss the crowds. That’s where my attention lies in any game, and I usually leave with a vague idea of who won, and no recollection of the score. I’d also take this friend-o to the beach, the Getty, and my favorite garage art galleries, and select taco trucks. I’ve always wanted to go to the Santa Anita Racetrack in the morning to draw the horses when they practice, so I’d head that way and then drive up into the Angeles National Forest…maybe save another day to trek out to the desert. I would want to show this pal how much this city has to offer, as well as how close you are to nature and some drastically different landscapes. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I guess I’d like to shout out to other artists who continue to make art, those who are activists and who have joined together to do what they can for their communities in these staggering times. I’ve found it hard to make art during these last 10 months, hard to find my footing in every part of my life, but I think that it’s important for artists to continue. Art keeps us alive, and some days, that’s enough. As far as my story, I’m always going to shout out Steve Katrosits, my former professor and friend who isn’t around anymore, but keeps me movin forward.
Portrait : Matthew Scott @mscottphoto photo credit for images of artwork: Image 1: no credit (me) (installation shot with artist Lorah Stone) Image 2: Jenn Lassa @jennlassa (Installation at Red Rock Canyon) Image 3: no credit (me) (Installation of triangles at Soulangh Residency in Taiwan) Images 4, 5, and 6: Ruben Diaz @docu_la