Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

Join My Mailing List

Connect with me







San Francisco Studio

June 16th, 2018

San Francisco studio

Above an experimental artspace and restaurant in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood are art studios like this one. It's where I'll be spending most days this July, making paints from the ash of semiprecious stones, mixing them with spike lavender (turpentine substitute) and tree balsam. Painting onto thick paper made from military uniforms

Feel free to stop by if you're in the area, message art@ebriel.com

Or visit Image Flow Gallery's opening 14th July in Mill Valley (Marin), where I'll be present at our Alternative Process Photography exhibition. 

Leave a comment

Chinese Blueprints

June 13th, 2018








A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Often uniqueness lies in mistakes, in physical strain, or the unexpected.

One square cm of my original sharks fin Cyanotype contains traces of Chinese typography: fragments from previous prints I'd made with text from articles describing the Chinese government's clumsy attempts to cover up pollution. As if pretending the ghastly air we breathed in Beijing didn't exist could make the skies turn an APEC Blue. Letters laser-printed on my acetate negatives had once fused to the oversized plastic sheets I cover the artwork with, weighing it down to prevent prints from blowing away outside. A process visible in this video.

This calibrated 300dpi scan is even more precise than most people's eyes, including my own. It shows indentations where my fingernails pressed into the handmade paper.


Thanks to Danny Chau of Chau Digital for scanning both the 1x2m Typhoon prints, and reproducing the original blues (there are many) to perfection 

Leave a comment

Slices of Memories

May 29th, 2018



A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Artists can never predict what materials will inspire them.

These green and brown squares are sliced from a block of Aleppo soap I bought as a brush cleaner. The world's oldest soap with a reputed history of 4000 years, it's handmade of pure olive and laurel oils near the Syrian city of Aleppo.

When the soap arrived a few weeks ago it smelled so good I wanted to hold it tight. The fragrance brought up memories I didn't know I'd kept: nights hand-washing clothes in a Brooklyn sink, the French boyfriend who smelled of olive soap he used in his hair.

The soap's slices show its original olive green, and the oxidized exterior after a year's drying. They remind me of the vibrant pixellation of Chuck Close's paintings, of irregular mosaics in Mediterranean hues, the colors of the earth and trees in the place it was made.

Leave a comment

Painting Climate Change

May 15th, 2018



A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

As a meteorologist told me devastating stories of climate change and showed me the graphs to prove it, I followed the shape of the data and to me these shapes looked like landscapes. They haunted me.

So I began painting Icescapes, silhouettes of rocky forms from graphs documenting climate change. This section compares the world's 2 biggest polluters' (US – right & China – left) use of coal over the past century. Once we added other fuel sources like natural gas, etc the US section roughly equaled China's.

I've begun a collaboration with programmers and a music producer to create algorithmic music from the data, for a sonification and visualization of climate change

Leave a comment

Cruel Luxuries 2: Taipei

April 6th, 2018

My recent residency at Treasure Hill Artist Village culminated in an exhibition. This incarnation incorporated 20 meters of silk printed with sharks fins, music from the last castrato opera singer (recorded in 1902), and images from the artist's father's life as a young Catholic priest

Cruel Luxuries – A work-in-progress by Elizabeth Briel
Exhibition on Saturday April 7 and Sunday April 8, 10am – 6pm
Performance Saturday April 7, 4pm
Artists talk Sunday April 8, 4pm

Upper Ray Gallery No. 9
Treasure Hill Artists Village
No. 2, Alley 14, Lane 230, Section 3, Tingzhou Road
Taipei, Taiwan

Leave a comment

Cruel Luxuries in South Island Arts District

March 22nd, 2018

A recent exhibition was an opportunity to share Cruel Luxuries in a new context



A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on


Installing the artwork in a warehouse in Wong Chuk Hang, HK's South Island Arts District



A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on


The design is brought alive as visitors pass by, one young viewer said it gave him "waves of sorrow"



A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on


Leave a comment

Cruel Luxuries at Blue Lotus Gallery

December 12th, 2017

Cruel Luxuries performance @ Cheung Chau Wave

Photo by Jin Heng

This Saturday 16th December you're welcome to come by Blue Lotus Gallery at 4pm for an encounter with Cruel Luxuries.

Each time is an experiment, with more layers of sound and material.

More info here

Hope to see you there.

Leave a comment

Cruel Luxuries Hong Kong [beta]

December 2nd, 2017


Photo by Marcel Hejinen

On 1st and 2nd December, the Cheung Chau Wave festival hosted the first stage of my project Cruel Luxuries.

It's an exploration of the cruelty behind many of humanity's highest or luxurious art forms, from large (the Pyramids) to small (cochineal to produce organic red dye). For this project, I've chosen to incorporate several aspects:

* Silk created by worms that, typically, die in silk production

* Silhouettes of sharks fins which are often cruelly harvested – Hong Kong is where half the world's fins are traded

* The exquisite, eerie tones produced by castrati singers (a practice once implicitly encouraged by the Catholic Church in Italy where women were not allowed to sing in churches), singers who had operas written especially for them by some of Western classical music's famous composers like Handel, and who impacted western opera in ways that continue today

A reflection on the duality of beauty and its opposite, which are often simultaneously present in art and culture worldwide. Eventually Cruel Luxuries will consist of approx 100sqm silk printed with the sharks fin design, exhibited in the US and elsewhere, but at this stage the project is still at its essence. I was very happy to share it with Hong Kong and the Cheung Chau community in its earliest form.

The installation / performance included a total of 15 meters of Suzhou silk printed with sharks fins from my Typhoon Cyanotype series


Photo by Michael Wolf

The effect had something in common with this painting by Surrealist artist Remedios Varo (Encuentro, 1959)


And performed a dialogue with music by the only castrato singer ever recorded, Alessandro Moreschi 

There were two performances:

* Fri 1st December, Cheung Chau Wave's opening night in collaboration with the exhibition of architect / photographer Tugo Chen

* Saturday, Kam Yun beach, a short walk from the pier on Cheung Chau.

Selected photos:


Photo by Sarah Greene








Elizabeth Briel performing

A post shared by Cheung Chau Wave (@cheungchauwave) on

Video by Sarah Greene for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Jin Heng for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Jin Heng for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Michael Wolf


Photo by Jin Heng for Cheung Chau Wave


Photo by Sarah Greene


Photo by Pete Spurrier

Leave a comment

Lost and Found: Beijing

October 13th, 2017

Out now: a photo book I edited for ThingsAsian Press. Lost and Found: Beijing is a portrait of a city by five photographers. Each brings a different perspective to the Chinese capital.

Liu Laoshi is an artist who has been documenting Beijing's prolific graffiti scene for over a decade

Yifei Fang is a photographer who focuses on youth culture

Stefen Chow is a Singaporean photographer who works worldwide, notably co-founding The Poverty Line project

Marc Smith is a NYC-based British artist who finds inspiration for his work in the streets wherever he lives

Designer: Janet McKelpin

I contributed photos of Beijing's smog transforming the cityscape, and shadows of history that remain today


A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Available via Amazon

Leave a comment

Athens21: Re-frieze-ing

September 1st, 2017

The Athens21: Re-frieze-ing project is a seventy-five meter portrait of the city created with silhouettes of Athens residents from all walks of life, who are bringing their city into the 21st century.

Most prints were made with Melissa Network, several at Coco-Mat (Kifissia), and the Victoria Square Project.

The artwork's length is identical to the frieze taken from the Parthenon at the heart of Athens, which the British Museum will not return to Greece. Exhibited at Victoria Square Project, Athens, August 2017

Cyanotype photograms on cotton, approximately 75m x 1m, 2017

Some photos from the project's making and exhibition:

Fabric ready to print





A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Dilara rises after printing




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Thaleia rises from the Cyanotype




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Sofia and her daughter




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Angel and Qadeer trace the frieze




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Drawings for the cliche-verres




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Manasif removing acetate from frieze Cyanotype after printing in the sun




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Lifting Cyanotype frieze, detail




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Frieze drying




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Qadeer lifts the artwork with Click's silhouette




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Qadeer hangs the exhibition at Victoria Square Project




A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

A small portion of the exhibition viewed through the window



A post shared by Elizabeth Briel (@ebrielart) on

Leave a comment