Interview with Elizabeth Foley
1) Describe your influences.
Colors, shapes and patterns influence me. I travel a lot and am intrigued by landscape – both rural and urban. I observe shapes that places have in common. I think these shapes are universal; that we react to on an instinctual level and I want to explore those shapes and colors in my work.
My first degree is in graphic design, so composition and the elements of design are ingrained in me. I also taught high school art for twenty years and thought a lot about how to help my students appreciate art and understand the creative process so as to be good patrons of the arts. These two things influence me in that I want my art to be approachable – to have the color and shape draw people in. yes, I have ideas, but the overarching goal is to give people a space to contemplate life.
2) Describe your typical week
Every week is different! I teach classes, volunteer, make art, and run my art business. On Sundays I see what appointments/commitments I have for the following week and create a to-do list that I use to schedule out my time. I think about my priorities for the week and how long tasks take. I break days into 3-4 sessions (ex. make art, teach, answer emails, apply for shows) knowing that some tasks might be pushed to the next day. I find that lots of my schedule is dictated by “putting out fires.” And that means I am learning to be more flexible with my time. The key is to be disciplined. I find a routine and it works for a while and then I have to switch it up to keep me on my game.
3) Could you please share your process of getting your work out into the world?
I think that there are several ways to get my art out into the world and I switch up how I do it depending on what my emphasis is at that time. I have a website that I keep updated with my exhibitions and teaching gigs. I update the art quarterly or so. That is a good place to send people to get a feel for my work. I am active on Instagram and Facebook and post (pretty) consistently. I try to have a voice with my posts that is authentic. I send out packets to galleries both online and snail mail, but follow up is a challenge for me. I have a quarterly newsletter that I send out to my mailing list. And, I sometimes apply for group shows. I don’t want to invest a lot of money in application fees, so I look at the juror and location with the thought that if I don’t get in at least the juror had eyes on my work.
4) What opportunities for professional development have been most helpful for you? I was in the first Hadley Creatives co-hort and that was great! It was an opportunity to meet other artists and key players in the Louisville Art scene. I watch online for free webinars (Creative Capital) and set up accountability meetings with some artist friends. We check in on each other and how we are doing on reaching our goals.
5) What advice would you give your college-age self?
Oh! There is so much advice I would give about sooo many things! I would encourage myself to have more confidence and to ask more questions. I have the work ethic and the skill to make art, but I wish I knew more about developing and talking about my ideas. I know it was the time/era I was in, but I wish that I had more confidence to talk about my art and ask questions pertaining to my ideas.