“Subtle”, is not a word that comes to mind when describing Sydney based artist Liz Payne’s artwork. She does not shy away from colour. In fact the majority of her work is eye popping bright, with the occasional monotone piece mixed in for good measure.
Liz cut her teeth in the arts undertaking a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree followed by a Certificate in Graphic Design. Since then, her intricate work has gained a following across the world, and it is easy to see why. She creates pieces that draw you in, that invites you to explore every corner more than twice, and tempts you to reach out and touch it.
Using fabric as her canvas, Liz first applies paint, then embarks upon a lengthy process of building up the surface as she embellishes it with a kaleidoscope of colour using a variety of wool, cotton, thread, beads and the occasional sequin. Liz’s expertise with a needle is clearly evident in the variety of stitch work that features within each. Looking deep into some of her art pieces is quite mesmerising as your eye traverses a landscape of textures, patterns, undulations and remarkable detail that creates depth and dimension. And all of it is created by hand – not a sewing machine needle in sight!
Putting down her needle for just a few moments, Liz shared what makes her tick (or should I say prick!)
Who inspired you to become an artist?
I always wanted to be one since I was little, whether or not it was realistic or a ‘reliable’ career was another matter! My mum was very influential growing up, she can sew, knit, paint – you name it really, and I was lucky enough to always be surrounded by piles of fabric, wool, thread and beads in every shape, size and colour. I guess it was natural that later I would want to create things that combined my love of all those things!
How long does it take you to make a typical art piece?
My pieces can be time consuming! As each piece is completely hand embroidered and different it’s hard to put an exact time frame on how long a piece takes. A piece like ‘It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts’ took about 2 months of actual stitching and beading time (not counting in the designing, planning/concept time or painting!). For this particular piece I also made the frame (it’s double sided, a concept I designed and made myself, allowing the viewer to see the reverse of the fabric with the embroidery back side) so that inevitably took a LOT longer!
What influences the colours and patterns you use in your art?
I love colour and pattern – and am inspired by things everywhere from nature to simple repeat patterns seen everywhere – I’m also really inspired by art and textiles of every variety from around the world – Mexican embroidery, beaded textiles from Africa, Guatamalan tapestries to wonderful Indigenous Australian paintings back here in Australia
Do you have a favourite artwork you can share with us?
Probably the one I’m working on at the moment – it’s huge, actually the biggest piece I’ve done to date. It’s slowly coming along, although sometimes its hard to see the end!
What would be your dream commission?
So many! I’d love to work with a clothing brand to bring my work across into clothing and homewares, that would be really cool.
If you can see one of Liz Payne’s embroidered art pieces brightening up your space, you can head on over to her Etsy store Flirting with Yellow, where she sells both originals and prints that are very reasonably priced. She is also happy to create a special piece just for you, featuring your favourite colour combinations!