Bricks Editor and Creator Tori West meets with unapologetic artist Elizabeth Ilsley to talk about relationships, feminism and life on the internet.
Hi Elizabeth, how are you? I’m good thank you!
What is your aim as an artist and the motivation behind your pieces? I have a few different aims as an artist. I love to create and express myself in many ways. Giving women a voice through art is crazy, like when you hear a song that says how you feel better than you ever could, that's what makes me write and create.
I first came across your work on Instagram and thought damn, we need to get this chick in Bricks, do you think Instagram has helped you as an artist? Instagram has helped me immensely, it’s the best tool to share images with everyone and anyone around the world. I’ve met some really inspiring people through having Instagram and I’m thankful for that.
Was it difficult for you to share your work alongside your personal life on the internet? It’s definitely been a learning curve, the whole ‘Do I post a photo of me and my current guy next to a photo of a print ranting about and ex lover?’. I’ve had trouble with people judging me before they met me, due to the themes of my Instagram and artwork, it’s frustrating. So I like to keep my personal life out of social media as much as possible. I prefer people to make judgements of me once they’ve met me. But the world isn’t perfect, is it?
Perfect would be boring. Do you ever think, oh shit, can I actually post this? All the time. I have hundreds of prints just lying around in my laptop and phone just too extreme and personal to be used yet. There’s great personal photos that I’ve loved but they’ve got nipples and vaginas in, and we all know Instagram doesn’t allow that.
Do you find it harder to date since you’ve been uploading all your personal feelings about relationships online? Honestly, yes. As I said before, people tend to judge me before they’ve met me on the basis of my work. Guys think I’m a male hating angry amorous bastard. But really I’m just the most laid back person who loves fart jokes.
Some may find your work controversial due to the sexual subject matter. Why do you think people are still so threatened by young female sexuality? This will forever be an issue, in any app or website in any decade. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re offended by breasts, the female form, women being open to sex and expressive about their sexuality, this is a blessing and we should shock until a nipple doesn’t offend anyone ever again.
Australian high schools are now teaching feminism as a subject, if you could, what would you teach young people about feminism? I think the Australian schools including feminist studies into their curricula is awesome. But I would rather be taught than to teach right now! I want to learn about how to get the older generations to embrace feminism. I think that’s a huge generation gap that should be looked into.
What do you hope people take away when seeing your work? I hope people look at my work and somehow relate to at least one. A little memory of someone or something. If I ever inspire people that would be the best. I’d love that.
Whats the most surprising thing I’d find if you let me look through your phone? Love this question. You would see SO MANY MEMES. I have more hilarious mess on my camera roll than i do nudes. That pretty much sums me up.
What does the word ‘youth’ mean to you? ‘Youth’ to me means. hope, future, learning, promise and mistakes.
What’s been your favourite collaborative project so far? I’ve loved working with photographers Charlotte Rutherford, Nadia Lee and Millicent Hailes.
What are you working on next? I’ll give you two words: Rhinestone Cowboy.