Artist of the Week: Liz Nielsen

Liz Nielsen lives and works in New York. Her photographs and installations have been exhibited in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Germany.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I love to walk around taking photographs, spend time in my studio, laugh, drink beer, look at as much art as possible, kiss my girlfriend, ride my bike, and go out to eat with my family.

I have a real job too and I work really hard at it.  I happen to be able to remember numbers like crazy.  Fittingly, I am an inventory manager at a gallery. I work with a bunch of amazing people.

In my studio, I spend time hanging photographs/objects next to other photographs/objects to see how works pair up.  I’m trying to make connections.  When I do, I usually photograph it.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Mostly the street.  I spend a lot of time biking and walking around staring at the ground, looking at gum, paint marks, oil stains and cracks.

What are you really excited about right now? I get excited about things I want to use in my work.  Right now, I’ve been dreaming about transparent tape.  I’ve also been visiting a freight elevator on 22nd street on a regular basis.  I just stand in front of it, photograph it, and stare at it.  I’d like to curate a show inside of it during the Armory show weekend.

How has living in NY effected your art practice? I just moved here not long ago, so at the moment I’m focusing on making a lot of work since I am not quite “in the scene” yet.  However, I work in Chelsea, so I get to go check out several galleries every week during my lunch break!

If you hadn’t become an artist, what do you think you’d be doing? I always wanted to become an inventor…but maybe that is the same thing as an artist anyway.  Perhaps an astrophysicist…I love the hypothetical.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I would really love to go see some glaciers…to photograph them.

How did your interest in art begin? It began when I was 20 years old, about to graduate from college with my BA in philosophy and Spanish. I decided to take an art class for an easy A.  I got a C.  And it was only the second C that I’d ever gotten.  I became interested in art because I wasn’t good at it.

How has your work developed within the past year? I’ve moved studios 3 times in the last year…from a loft in Chicago, to a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and recently to Bushwick.  I think different studio spaces affect my work in different ways.  Hopefully with all of my moving, my work has grown a lot, but in terms of how, I’ll have to answer that question next year, in hindsight.

Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? I was recently in a show at Columbia College’s A+D Gallery.  The show was called Color: Fully Engaged and it was curated by Jamilee Polson. Even though the show ended a few days ago, I think the catalogue is really nice.

What are your plans for the next year? Mostly make art and get to know New York.
In the past (in Chicago), and in the future (in New York), I run a gallery called the Swimming Pool Project Space.  This year, I’m mostly listening, observing, and discovering.