Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist


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ABOUT

What I do:

I make art about what provokes me as I travel. Every city and landscape is a shift of perspective, new languages, and the dissonance between old assumptions and new realities.

I explore the tensions between evolving cultures in my life and work, and was invited to talk about it at TEDx in Bangkok

Making paper in Thailand

Making paper in Thailand

I make Cyanotypes, one of the earliest forms of photography. Also called Blueprints, Cyanotypes were once how architects reproduced their drawings. 

I make books – see some of them here

I connect people with art through my projects.

I tailored my artwork to suit a nomadic life, and developed a unique way of making Cyanotype photo prints – all they require are sunlight and iron salts. Sometimes they don't even need a camera.

What I'm working on:

I've just moved to Beijing (the most exciting city for art in Asia – and, I think, the world today), and plan to be based here for up to 5 years.

My illustrated travel book of stories about paper in Southeast Asia, and the people who make it, is finally finished! The book will be released by ThingsAsian press in late 2012.

Another dream I'm working on is the transformation of an old Sicilian warehouse into a creative studio. Selected creatives who work with paper are invited to spend time working in the town of Cianciana.

Studio Sicilia: Copper handles - from Lijiang, China

Entrance to Studio Sicilia

 

How I got here:

 

My first taste of solo travel was the hardest: after working a year of 40-to 60-hour weeks while completing a painting degree, I saved up enough to embark on an independent study abroad art and language program in France.

After graduation I stumbled onto an accidental internship at the Liverpool Biennial Fringe festival, and worked as a sculpture apprentice in Tuscany, then did what every American artist is supposed to do: moved to New York. There I worked with artists' and photographers' portfolios, but  wanted to be challenged every day by what I saw and experienced on the streets around me. So eventually I decided to satisfy my curiosity about another part of the world: Asia.

on zipwire

Zipping through the jungle in Laos

I crash-landed in Korea to teach Art and English, and was soon convinced to forsake my ban on boyfriends by a handsome Englishman.

Then I moved to Cambodia to teach photography to children and worked with the Angkor Photo Festival.

Still on the move, I relocated to Hong Kong, where I founded a community gallery and fulfilled a dream: to illustrate a children's book.

While Italy's stolen my heart, Asia's changing so fast it gives me whiplash, and keeps me here.

Favorite posts

Art

Priceless Papers

Layouts and Landscapes

Art for Travelers – Delicious Art in Bangkok (podcast)

Sexpats I Have Known

Haiti – Art from the Rubble part 1 and Part 2

 

Travel / Life

How I bought a House off the Internet

Why I Travel

Cambodian Reflections

From Dusty Warehouse to Art Studio part 1 and Part 2

Knife Viillage

D. I. Y. Wedding

 

Ideas

The Price of Freedom

On Differences

Tales from Invasion Day

 

 

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