Artist Q & A with Elizabeth Barnett

Term: 1 Year: 2021

As a child, how did art first manifest itself to you? 

I have always loved art! Like most children of the 80’s it began with Playschool crafts and extended to hours of drawing, collage, sewing and making. My mum and grandmother were creative and taught me a lot about homecrafts, watercolours and pastels.

Do you have a particular teacher or a ‘teacher moment’ that encouraged you as an artist?

At school I was really lucky to have some amazing practising artist/art teachers who were really passionate about their work in my formative years of high school. One in particular took a few of us under her wing and introduced us to German expressionists, Impressionist printmakers and contemporary Australian artists. From school I went straight to the Victorian College of the Arts to study printmaking, followed by RMIT honours and then finally across to London to complete a Masters in Visual Arts. Each level of education really impacted me in unique ways that I will always appreciate and cherish.

Do you think creative inquiry is innate or can it be nurtured?

I definitely think creative inquiry can be nurtured. I observe the way my kids are encouraged by their teachers, myself and my partner to be curious about the world around them and to express themselves through drawing, watercolour, collage or land art/craft. They are like sponges to the various techniques and crafts that they are taught, adding to their repertoire of creative expression.

Where does the impulse to create come from?

My creative drive comes from a need to express emotions and feelings, to make sense of the world and to experiment with colour, compositions, symbols and depictions of the natural world in paint or pencil.

Nic Plowman (Zart Education)
in conversation with Elizabeth Barnett