Q&A WITH ELIZABETH ILSLEY
At face value, Elizabeth Ilsley is a total babe. Yet what’s more, the art student is sassy, independent and super clever, producing work that’s achingly cool yet painfully poignant for many of us young women. ‘No Fucks Given’ is the title of one of her bodies of work – a series of sexual, glamorous photographs topped with phrases such as ‘He was more interested in his texts and didn’t notice I’d spread my legs’ or ‘I wish you would be my boyfriend’. Elizabeth knocks everyday girl problems such as shaving, sex and…..’fuckbois’ on the head with brave, honest and funny musings. As well as these – which fill up her super cute Instagram – Elizabeth paints similar phrases on leather jackets, patent black ankle boots and jeans, selling them as art pieces or wearable garments – something which she’s garnered attention for. Praised by the likes of Dazed&Confused and super glam photographer Nadia Lee Cohen, Elizabeth is in her last year of university and we can only expect huuuuuuuuuge things for her. For starters she’s currently launching an exclusive line of jackets for Liberty London. We caught up with her about Birmingham, ‘fuckbois’ and what feminism even is…
Hi Elizabeth…. tell us a bit more about yourself.
I’m studying Fine Art at Birmingham City University but I only have 5 weeks left! I’m just working on my final exhibition piece at the moment and it’s pretty sick if I say so myself haha. Birmingham is brilliant, I have 95% of my friends here and it’s so fun and really generous to creatives (and its a good night out let’s not forget!)
How does a typical day pan out for you?
A typical day is spent in my studio, painting leather jackets, making prints about real life fuck bois i’ve met and stalking people on Instagram. Then maybe a burrito and a pint on the night.
Who has influenced you and your work the most?
My mom has influenced me and my work by once telling me something really important. On a beach on holiday when I was 12 and wearing my first bikini, she said: ‘Look around you, you’ll never see these people again, so who cares what you wear, go and have fun.’ Artists who have influenced my work are, Tracey Emin, Jenny Holzer, and Robert Mapplethorpe because they are bad ass and I can relate to them so much. My best friend Hannah inspires me in my day to day life because she gives the best advice ever.
We love your slogans! How do you come up with these?
My slogans are all based on real life experiences that have happened to me, or funny things that I’ve said out-loud to friends and lovers. That’s why they tend to be so rude.
Which themes do you explore most through your work?
I aim to show to everyone that its okay to talk honestly about our bodies, our relationship with fuckbois, being disappointed with sex and just being REAL and funny! I hate art that hates on men so I keep away from that at all costs. Being a feminist is not about hating men! OK, rant over.
What’s the best thing about being a girl today?
The best things about being a girl today are, the variety of ways we can present ourselves – we have so much fun and close to adventures with clothing and make up it turns into theatrics and that is so fun, because its 2016. Also women doing so well in male dominated sports such as football and rugby is awesome to see! Our range and variety in role models for young women grows every year and thats inspiring.
Where are you happiest to hang out?
My spots in Birmingham are: my studio (I held a big party there last weekend and it was so good), Snobs is a landmark nightclub for my city. The Sunflower lounge is a good spot for gigs, Digbeth dining club and Ikon gallery are my regular hang out spots. As for London I end up in the Haggerston a lot. Generally around Dalston and Shoreditch!
What exciting projects have you worked on recently?
I recently did an online exhibition that took over my website called Under-Boob Sweat, where I showcased all my new prints and everyone could talk to me and ask me anything through a live chat, that was fun! I’m working on 24 new jackets to be exclusively sold at Liberty London this summer also.
What are your favourite pieces from IP SS16?
My favourite pieces from Illustrated People’s SS16 collection would be the I Need Space top, I love anything pink! And the Don’t be Dumb tee, love those styles, so cute!
IP is….. for cool girls who have fun with fashion and life. I want to be a cool girl like that.