Eliza Tiernan’s artistry is bound to a form of escapism. When words fail, or actions heed no results, she finds meaning in drawing. The physicality of landscaping the imagery buried within the mind allows her to navigate things that remain unclear. By way of sketching out her ideas and imaginations, she can sometimes find a resolve, or at the very least a solace. The mediums and materials may change, and the scenery may vary, but what retains a sense of purpose is the art. Tiernan explains:
Art has long had a place in my family home, and I have continued to carry it along with me:
“My family has always been artistically inclined. My older sisters would spend a lot of time drawing outside, and because they were my idols I just copied them. My Dad has always encouraged me; he bought me my first set of watercolour Derwent pencils for my 13th birthday (I still have them). At school, I always considered art as my subject. I did it in year twelve, but I think I got a bit stuck with the pressure etc. and in retrospect, what I did was pretty shit and I don’t think I really knew what to do.
So I sort of left drawing behind for a few years but did the occasional sketch or life-drawing class. Then a few years ago, (this is a bit cliché but anyway) I was heartbroken, and I was living in Paris on my own, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I could not get out of my head, so I just had to do something. I went to Musee Rodin’s Garden and just started drawing his sculptures. Then eventually I started drawing without a physical inspiration, and without thinking, then I would look down at what I had done, and I would see this incredibly scary and dark work. I showed a few friends and they would sort of find a meaning in it that was very relevant to me, but the thing is I wouldn’t see this until they pointed it out! Since then, I have not stopped for more than a few months at a time.”
The mediums I use influence my artist creations:
“Honestly, I think it all comes down to the mediums. I could spend hours in an art shop, take my little bundle or purchases, go home and just play with them – then before I know it, I have created something. My most recent exciting discovery is Fluoro acrylic paint. I have been putting it into all sorts of different colours, and it changes the colour in such a subtle way which makes particular colours seem to glow or something. I also really like Indian ink on bleed proof paper, because the ink goes all shiny.”
There are certain artists that interest me, and also observations fall into my art pieces:
“Egon Schiele. I love his portraits and the way he does hands. Also, Camille Claudel, you can feel her emotion and instability. I think that emotion is integral to the art I love.
I saw an amazing exhibition whilst I was in France on Outsider Art. It was really emotionally fuelled and often a bit disturbing. But so raw, and some of these artists have such amazing stories, so it is not only the artwork themselves, but the artists background.”
“Observing people who I know or work with – and observing their character becomes mixed in with my work. I have met some very interesting people. For example, a French artist. I spent a few days with her, and she showed me her amazing atelier, house and studio! She smoked a cigarette that looked like a mini cigar, only a few puffs at a time and then would stub it out and put it back into a tin box. Then she would re-light it later. This inspired the artwork below, titled ‘The Artist’”
Travel and University have helped shape my artistic influence and style:
“Travel and where I am located, has a serious influence on what materials I use – especially the temperature and humidity. I hate humidity, so in that I case I do not do anything except lay down in a dark room. I love using oil pastels, but in summer it is too hot and they get too soft, so instead I can use these crayon type things which I love. They are also water soluble.”
“I guess some of the subjects I am doing at University broadens my knowledge of other artists and materials, but you can find influence in everything.”
Art is a natural part of who I am, and will not necessarily work if it is forced as a ‘job’:
“It is difficult to know what role art will hold in my future endeavours. I definitely need to be around art, and I am doing a masters in Arts and Cultural Management… but my own art is too erratic to have any sort of reliance on… If that makes sense. It really is a type of therapy for me. If I were to mix that with work, I am not certain if I would be able to make anything. But I do like submitting work into exhibitions and what not.”
I hope spectators take away the feeling of it, more than the supposed purpose:
“I want people to find some sort of raw feeling in my art. I do apologise as well. Some of my work is quite intense. I did not mean it to be like that, I promise.”
My favourite pieces within my collection are:
“Colour; Fall; Given up; Twist.”
The titles that accompany Tiernan’s artwork are of importance. While not essential to denote meaning, her chosen words allow you to peer into the subtext and evoke further detailing ascribed by the maker. For many art historians, it is the stories of the creator that tell the tale, for without, you can only gather fragments; portions of how, and of why, the art was made. Eliza Tiernan joins a long line of artists that embed parts of themselves in their work; whether knowingly or unwittingly so. Sometimes they only draw upon one thought, or uncoil one passing feeling, or, sometimes, over time, artists paint, draw, sculpt and create chapters of their own lives -a keepsake of their own narrative. Eliza Tiernan’s work is quite prolific, quite like a story in the making – a charming and captivating one at that.