Colour Box Studio talks to Lizzy Sampson about hocus pocus and all things creative

Lizzy Sampson talks to Colour Box Studio about her art, how she came to it and what people can expect to see at the  On Foot Crawl installation.

Lizzy Sampson is a Melbourne based visual artist who recently completed a Masters of Fine Art at RMIT. Central themes within her arts practice include the world of business, the notion of work, politics and the economy. Her work questions established systems, structures and values, and invites the viewer to do the same.

For the Colour Box Studio alleyway, Lizzy has produced a series of signs which play upon the language used by developers and government to promote the planned changes for Footscray. Taking words and slogans from both local and state government websites, along with phrases used by developers, the new signs offer absurd statements, appropriated from bureaucratic visions of community development and re-contextualised for the laneway setting.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m an artist who makes installations, sculptural forms, text based work and performance videos. My background is in photography and my work takes many forms. Over the years I’ve worked in the Community Arts sector at the Box Hill Community Arts Centre, co-ordinated the High Views exhibition as part of Northern Exposure Festival (High Street Northcote), worked at Deakin University, RMIT and Swinburne and am currently the Co-Director of an artist run initiative, In The Meantime projects.

I currently have a studio at the Abbotsford Convent – visitors welcome!

Describe your art.
Central themes within my arts practice include the world of business, the notion of work, politics and the economy. My work questions established systems, structures and values, and invites the viewer to do the same. This is often through work that is both humorous and serious, which incorporates word-play and appropriates language from other contexts.

How did you come to it?
I always wanted to be an artist – I remember in grade 3 my teacher knew I would be an artist!  When I left school I studied Visual Arts and Media Arts at RMIT. After practicing for a few years in Melbourne, I travelled overseas for a while, and then began working in the arts, and my own practice slowly got pushed aside. In 2011 I returned to RMIT and completed a Masters of Fine Art. It has formed the basis for all my current work.

Tell us about your past projects and what has been your most treasured creation?
I recently returned from a residency in France, where my collaborator (Herve Senot) and I made a round carpet from moss collected in the village. It sat on the floor of an old tower and was about 2 meters in diameter. It looked like a satellite image of the world – which was quite fortuitous, as during the residency we had attempted to take photos from a weather balloon and ran out of helium. We created our own satellite image, using moss instead!

Some of the projects with In The Meantime have included an Art Bus Tour (in both 2011 and 2012), a pen pals project where we developed work with artists in Hong Kong who we never met, and an Art Boot Camp earlier this year.

Where did you grow up and has it influenced what you create?
I grew up in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland. I’m not sure it has influenced what I create but it has influenced who I am.

What is your current project?
I have a few things on the go, as I always like to be doing many things at once! I have an ongoing project called A Structured Exchange with Lydia Heath (an artist based in the UK). I also have an exchange project with Alica Bryson-Haynes, which is based on a list of 104 words we compiled at the start of the year.  Each week one of our words is randomly chosen and each of us make an object in response to the word. We haven’t yet shown each other anything we have made but plan to bring the objects together at some point this year.

Who or what was your inspiration?
Francis Alys, George Perec, Claire Fontaine, John Baldesarri, Gabriel Orozco and many others!

Where do you feel most creative?
I usually come up with ideas while riding my bike on the way home from my studio!

What will you be working on next?
I’m working on a piece for an exhibition at The Substation gallery in Newport, in August, and also on a collaborative work with my arts collective In the Meantime. In September, we’ll hold our second Art Boot Camp as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival at the Bluestone arts venue in Footscray.

What can visitors to expect to see from you when they visit Colour Box Studio?
I’ve constructed a series of signs, which sit in the Colour Box alleyway – they display statements that are ambiguous in nature – but reminiscent of things you may have heard Developers or Planning authorities say!

Where can we see more of your work?