Interview with Liz Mares

Hi everyone!  This week we interviewed Liz Mares, a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago, IL.  We are drawn to Liz's interest in the ways line interact with negative space and we are happy to be showcasing her piece, Shelter, in our upcoming show, Emergence.

 Shelter by Liz Mares

Shelter by Liz Mares

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I am a contemporary artist based in Chicago, IL. I use multiple mediums including works on paper, installations, multi-media and photography.

Line has always been a mystery to me. Its subtle structure and the fact that it is the starting point for all things. Over the years, I have become completely obsessed with the lines of architecture and engineering and how it relates to natural and emotional entities.

Working with line has, also, become a philosophy to me and my study and experimentation with it, induces a sense of transcendental meditation. Each drawing, installation and mixed media work is visualized through the thought of a single line; the alpha point. That first marking, from which the rest of the work builds shape.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
The world around me is an open source of inspiration. The most beautiful things can be seen in the cracks of the street to the clouds the sky. Even the corners of buildings, in relation to the negative space around them, has a charm unlike any other. Man made objects and natural ones have an unspoken bond, I try to connect them and give them a voice.

 What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
A sense of adventure and the willingness to experiment are the most important tools for me. With them, everything else falls into place. They keep me from becoming stagnant in my work. As well as background noise, I prefer the dull sounds of talking and random outside noise to music.

 What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?
I am predominantly a self-taught artist and in an art world that is dominated by art school degrees, I have found that the acceptance level is much lower. However, I move around this by educating myself and making important connections within my community and beyond. I don't believe there is any obstacle that can't be overcome in one form or another. You just have to be creative and find a niche that works.

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?
The use, function and philosophy of the line. I find it to be the base point for all things and I like exploring its many facets - from the simplest to its most complex forms. 

Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
I respect and admire a lot of artists, but I find myself mostly drawn to those of the minimalist movement. I really admire how they can take the simplest forms or objects and transform them into living, breathing entities.

My role models really are my closest family and friends. No other people will tell you exactly how it is. In this world, sugar coating can be a negative influence when all you are really looking for is honesty. Nobody tells it to you better then family and friends.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?
Just keep doing what you're doing and eventually the success will happen. Nothing comes quickly or easily, we all have to work for what we want. 


See more of Liz's work at