A note from our art aficionado collaborator, Monica…
On a snowy and cold Monday morning in this crazy New York spring, I traveled to Industry City in Brooklyn to visit Liz Collins at her studio. Liz is an amazing visual artist that employs textiles with vivid colors and textures to create dynamic patterns and inventive sculptures. You might also recognize her as the famed knitwear designer from the 90’s, as she’s shown her fashion line in New York Fashion Week and her knitwear was worn by Gwen Stefani in her music videos videos and even spotted in Sex and the City episodes, among other sightings.
Sitting in front of Inferno, a monumental black and white circular canvas with red, yellow, pink and black fibers flowing, Liz explains that she enjoys pushing the limits and doing what’s unexpected with textile mediums. Her goal is to surround viewers in vibrating color fields while exploring boundaries, recreating the wavering existence of the world as a place of stupendous wonder and cosmic energy. Before, she used to dress human bodies but now she considers space her three-dimensional body to dress.
Liz got started in fashion at an early age and went on to earn a degree from the textile program at famed Rhode Island School of Design. Right after graduating, she collaborated with Paper Projects, where Paper Magazine chose promising talent to be shown at the tents during New York Fashion Week. She came out of the RISD gate running to opening her own company in 1999 and working with Patti Wilson, David LaChapelle, Lil Kim, Melanie Ward, while Vogue featured her collection and Barney’s carried it.
Layers of things influenced her shift into art such as the hard line of commerce in fashion, her interest in architecture and her involvement with the live labor installation project, Knitting Nation. All these things made her search for the most free and open avenues of artistic expression. While speaking of her time at Knitting Nation, she says:
“That’s why I said that space became my new body, because the body that I was binding up with cords and having these different experiences with materials and gravity in the three-dimensional human form, had now moved to the walls and three dimensional space… All while still dealing with emotions and energy and relationships, [it was the] same landscape of concerns and fetish and obsession and sexuality that is deeply embedded in my work regardless of end form or context… It was all a very organic process that happened incrementally as things kind of took more space in my brain and influenced what I was inspired by.”
Nowadays she has incredible textile works focused on layers. Liz creates energy and emotion capturing imagery through drawing and painting geometric shapes and pattern landscapes. These canvases are then woven in textile mills in Cuomo, Italy and in Peru, where then she intervenes to manipulate the image and the surface of the piece, creating a whole other layer comes alive within the layers of the weave structure.
She is currently represented by LMAK Gallery at 298 Grand Street in New York and will be having a solo show with them on September 1st, 2018.