Artist of the Month: Liz K Miller

June’s Artist of The Month is printmaker Liz K Miller. Liz graduated from Edinburgh College of Art and Camberwell College of Art with a Masters Degree in Printmaking.

Inspired by the cycles and repetitive nature of the human condition, Liz’s investigates how we are all an integral part of the natural cycle that creates patterns and structures, from the rotation of the planet and the changing of the seasons, to the mathematical patterns of the smallest structures.

Her most current work ‘Scordatura’ sees Liz develop a circular musical notation system, in which radius denotes pitch, circumference is time, and each time a musical motif repeats the score forms a new circle, producing diagrams that appear to have grown organically. The score is performed and re-interpreted in collaborative events with musicians – recasting the role of the artist as not only the interpreter of the musical piece but also as the facilitator of new music: this has ranged from modernist piano improvisations to electronic sound-art compositions.

Liz’s work is currently featured in some of our most high profile workplace and hospitality projects. We sat down with Liz to find out more about her captivating mix of art, science, music and mathematics. Read the full interview below. As part of Artist of The Month, Liz will also be taking over our Instagram channel from 26th June – 3rd July. Follow us on ARTIQgram to see her posts!

Take us through the lifespan of creating a work of art.
Let me try to break down the process:
Collaboration – Working with a musician to select music to work from
Isolation – The quite solitude of intense mapping and calculating
Repetition – Drawing, thinking, looking, re-analyzing, re-working
Frenzied and focused making – The incredibly physical process of printmaking
Collaboration – Presenting my work back to the musicians, creating new performances and producing events within which to show the work.

How does material/medium inform your practice?
So important!

Physically making is integral to my practice. Richard Sennett argues for the value of tacit knowledge in his book The Craftsman, of the balance between thinking and feeling when engaged in the process of making. The slow, repetitive development of skills, which can only be learnt through practice, is one of the reasons that I am drawn to printmaking – it is, in itself, a highly repetitive process.

Making original prints is very rewarding, whether that is marking into a woodcut, etching into copper, or creating a stone lithograph, the physicality of the material is so important.

How has your work developed over time?
This may sound dry but the institutions that I have passed through have hugely molded my work:

I studied my BA in Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, and although I was never going to be an illustrator, ECA gave me a really solid grounding in visual communication. In 2008 I moved to London to study my MA in Printmaking at Camberwell College of Art. This was such a crucial move, not only because I love London but also because this was where I learnt about the incredible alchemy of etching. From 2013 to 2016 I was a Print Fellow at the Royal Academy Schools. This time was so important for me – it showed me how to develop my work from technical printmaking into a fine art practice.

What artists have influenced your practice?
Rebecca Salter is a huge influence on my work. Her drawings have a tender, meditative quality that engages the viewer and demands quiet, close enquiry. I admire work that does not feel the need to shout in order to convey its message.

For this reason I am also drawn to the work of Caroline and Annette Kierulf who tackle political, environmental and social themes in their woodcuts. They use printmaking as a discursive tool as well as an aesthetic form of resistance.

And then there’s my all time favorite Jorinde Voight. Her meticulous, large format drawings could be described as maps, notations or scores. Within these she analyzes the structures of diverse cultural and natural phenomena, dissolving the boundary between science and art – it’s so clever and so stunning!

What’s the last exhibition you saw that made an impact on you?
Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican in September 2016. It may have been almost a year ago but it has really stayed with me.

I sat watching the performances and films for hours and the music from this exhibition still rings in my ears. So powerful and witty, yet also so tender and graceful!

What art do you, or would you, collect?
I really enjoy collaborating with other artists and exchanging work with them, and I have some wonderful pieces as a result. In my occasional role as an editioner and technical expert, I get to keep the Printer’s Proof, so I have some beautiful works in that collection.

What is the most memorable piece of art you have produced?
I am addicted to the making game, and because of this, I always imagine that the piece that I am currently working on will be my most memorable, but in a months time I will be thinking of the next project and have fallen in love with the process of making the next and newest piece.

Has any place or environment affected your work?
This is a topical question right now, as my next project will be looking at found sounds from the environment. I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect forest within which to make some sound recordings.

Tell us about your dream project.
In September I will be starting a Post-Graduate Research MPhil at the Royal College of Art. This is my dream project. I will be visually mapping the sounds of the water cycle within forests.

What do you do in your spare time?
Capoeira. I have a lot of nervous energy, and the highly demanding physicality of this game is a hugely important dynamic in my life.

What advice would you give a younger you?
Talent is nothing without tenacity. If you work hard, you will create your own luck!

What is the one thing you cannot live without?All my completely amazing, diverse, fascinating and hilarious friends – when I’m with them, I feel alive!