We have been avid followers of our next Women We Watch blog guest for a long, long time so are super excited to introduce you to Lizzie Darden, a visual artist and photographer who creates pun-tastic content over on her Instagram. We could spend hours looking through her photography - she's got some serious skills!
Meet Lizzie Darden...
Can you sum up what you do in five words?
Creative commercial photographer and pun-maker.
How did your journey into Visual Arts and Photography first begin?
I’ve always had a passion for art but I explored it in a bunch of different ways before I found my love of photography. In high school I spent a lot of time painting with watercolours as well as starting a small handmade jewellery business, mostly crafting necklaces out of clay and turning vintage scraps into new treasures. Then in college I pivoted to graphic design because I thought that’s what you “had” to do if you wanted a career in the art field. I began to explore photography in my final semester; I was feeling bored with my assigned projects and was in need of a creative outlet that wouldn’t be graded or judged by professors. So I started up a passion project of my own where I brought food-themed puns to life with actual food, in the very beginning it was mostly typography-based. I didn’t know a lot about photography at the time, but it seemed like the best method of bringing my ideas to realisation, so I played around and learned through trial and error. I posted a few of my favourites to my personal Instagram and eventually that led to where I am today!
Any top tips for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Try not to get caught up in what you think you *should* be doing or where you think you *should* be in your career at a certain point. Social media is fantastic for reaching new audiences and sharing your work globally, but it can also create a lot of pressure from comparing yourself and your path to other artists. Everyone is on their own unique path and if you keep pushing ahead and focusing on creating what you love to create you’ll end up finding your niche and where you’re supposed to be. In more concrete advice, I’d say set aside time every week to watch tutorials and further your skills. Learning never stops!
Where do you find the inspiration for your creations and is it always easy to recreate the ideas you have in your mind into reality?
Most of my ideas come from dreams I have (my dreams are typically super vivid and strange) and also weird antique and thrifted items I find that feel like they’d be the perfect fit in a bigger story. It’s definitely tricky to bring ideas into concrete reality; there’s been a lot of failed projects along the way that you won’t find on my Instagram because I could not for the life of me get the idea to translate into real life hah. (Some things are better on paper!) But I do like to revisit unrealised ideas from time to time to see if a new perspective and new skills could be that catalyst.
What’s been the trickiest project you’ve worked on?
The tricky projects are often my favourite as there’s nothing more satisfying than pulling off something you thought was impossible at the start! Something recent that comes to mind is a personal project I was working on a while back that involved creating silicone moulds, which I had zero experience in! I was trying to create a mould from a teapot so that I could fill that mould with water and freeze it to make an “iced tea” and it must have taken me weeks to figure out! I watched so many mould-making tutorials, read blog posts, reached out to friends in the art scene that had worked with similar mediums, and I just could not get it to work! I pushed through many, many failed attempts — since it was a personal project it was on my own dime, which it made it all the more frustrating but also pushed me to make it work so I would have *something* to show for it! Finally I nailed it and I ended up loving the finished shot I got out of it, and since then I’ve been able to incorporate my new moulding skill in brand projects so it paid off in the end!
Out of the Art Movements in our Colour Swatch Necklace, which is your favourite?
Probably Bauhaus, I’m so drawn to bold, geometric shapes in all facets of design, especially furniture and fashion, so I love anything Bauhaus-inspired.
Colour Swatch Necklace, £75
How have you kept your ideas and creativity flowing during lockdown?
I’ve definitely experienced more creative blocks than usual during lockdown, but typically what helps me is changing up my environment –– which isn’t as easy nowadays, but switching from working at my desk to the front patio, or rearranging or repainting spaces in my house has had a similar effect (I’ve painted quite a few murals throughout my home since March!)
Any female artists we should be following on Instagram right now?
Ahh there are so so many I love, but some of my favourites are Julia Walck (@juliawalck), a creator of dreamy collages; Annie Wong (@headexplodie), an extraordinary sculptor and maker of quirky stop motions with heart; Kitiya Palaskas (@kitiyapalaskas) makes the most incredible bright dreamworlds out of paper and felt; Kendra Dandy (@theebouffants) mixes sass and chic beautifully in her illustrations; and Paloma Rincón (@paloma_rincon_), I love her bold, almost surreal photos.
What's the first gallery you plan to visit once you're ready?
I’d love to visit the Whitney in New York.
Any advice for sharing your work on Instagram?
Sharing your art in general can be nerve-wracking, it’s exposing such a vulnerable part of you. But I think it’s important to remember people are hungry for art, especially right now, there’s no such thing as too much art in the world! People will always need an escape and your work can be the thing that provides that for them. Instead of being scared think of how much joy and creative energy you’re potentially putting out there, don’t hold back!
Favourite snack whilst working: Pickled jalapenos and prawn chips.
Favourite colour: Orange
Nail Art or Lipstick? Nail art!
And finally, what are your plans for 2021?
Hopefully moving! need some fresh scenery and more studio space!
Huge thanks to Lizzie for answering all our questions and joining the Art Club, if you want a piece of your own from the collection you can shop online or in our Covent Garden store. Make sure to give Lizzie a follow over on Instagram here for a regular dose of creative pun photography!