British illustrator Liz Clements is, before anything, a portrait artist; a style she hones by getting up close and personal with the ultimate form of body art. It’s easy to see where her insights as a tattoo apprentice come through in her ink based drawings. She keeps the indispensable connection between body and mind, suspending it in the gaze of her subjects and their body language, and letting the lines speak for themselves. With that in mind, Liz goes even further to give her work its air; an old-fashioned, vaguely romantic way of reaching out to our many perceptions of each other and ourselves.
To describe Liz’s portfolio in terms of pallette and composition, I would string together a sentence about rosemary, cigarettes, and strong perfume, hovering in a thick cloud and casting a washed out glow on everything underneath. That’s not to say the faces looking out from under her pen are lackluster; they lack nothing except a reason to care. With pin-up pursed lips, they’re all made up with nowhere to go, and their boredom is their seduction. Liz’s work has the appeal of vintage postcards, with just enough surrealism to unsettle and more than enough elegant rebellion to hold that eye contact for an extra beat.
Ink and watercolor work magic in Liz’s hands, and this is where we really see the tattoo artist meet the fine art illustrator. Fine lines accentuate the piece, emboldening features and staying especially prominent in the facial expression, where it matters most. The backdrops, on the other hand, are simple, almost too clean, in a classic case of contrast and balance. To use the word ‘classic’ to sum up Liz’s work would be an understatement, but her stylistic foundation is just that- prime.
Liz Clements invites us into her boudoir to meet her characters in all their burnout glory, giving us an intimate portrait but simultaneously keeping it at an arm’s distance- a double foray into a highly specific, sunset- toned world.