Liz Huston

Liz Huston is a modern mixed media artist based in Los Angeles, California. Her art borders on the symbolic and the surrealist, creating an esoteric narrative that hints at a logic far beyond the average and mundane.

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Creative Isolation and the Map of Authenticity

Introducing my first public art piece: a mural in Pershing Square in Downtown LA!

Art Squared Exhibit in Pershing Square, DTLA, March 2016 ||  Photo by TanyaAlexisPhoto.com


In 2012 I made a piece of art inspired by my birthday, March 4.
In the book "The Big Book of Birthdays", each day has a phrase that encompasses the meaning of the day.
My day, according to that book, is "The Day of Creative Isolation".
I felt an unshakable bond to the phrase (it's so me) that it inspired a piece of art, “Creative Isolation and the Map of Authenticity”.

Fast forward to the beginning of January 2016:
I'm approached by the committee in charge of public art in Pershing Square in Downtown LA. They wanted to include one of my pieces in the latest installation, and out of the several I sent them, they chose Creative Isolation!

I spent several weeks painstakingly enhancing and remaking the piece (created originally at 16x20 at 300dpi) to make it 9 feet x 9 feet square! The result is gorgeous. Really, something I'm so very proud of - and it's my first public art piece! Proudly on display in Pershing Square for all to see for the next couple of months.

And the icing on the cake? The mural was installed on March 4, 2016.
The DAY of Creative Isolation. Can you believe that?! Couldn't have orchestrated it better had I tried.

So if you're in downtown LA, come see her in person. She's very special!

Liz Huston with her mural, "Creative Isolation and the Map of Authenticity" March 4, 2016 ||  Photo by TanyaAlexisPhoto.com

Use your creativity or it will use you

Meditation is a topic I write and talk about quite often. Probably because it is integral to a life that is balanced and happy, for me at least. I find that with a consistent practice of meditation (and I stress the word 'practice' because I still feel I'm not quite *that* good at it, but I practice anyway...but I digress).
With a regular meditation practice, the benefits flow into my life through every channel; my art deepens, emotions feel more manageable, the rough patches of life are somehow more smooth, my head is clear, and sometimes, when I'm just quiet enough, tremendous wisdom comes through.

Today, an insight bubbled up after my morning meditation that I felt was worth sharing. It was a simple sentence, but the truth of it ripples out in many directions.

 

The insight was simply, "Use your creativity or it will use you".

 

That might mean something different to me than it does to you. For me, it's simple. If I'm not using my creative impulses to make art, those creative impulses need an outlet, and they will wreak all kinds of havoc in my life if not channeled properly. This can be disagreements, drama, accidents, all manner of things. All of which are, well, unpleasant, to say the least.

I think the point is that like a daily quota of meditative time, there must be, for the artist, a daily quota of studio time. Regularly tended to, the art will flourish.

 

If you're reading this, chances are you are an artist, a creative person in any discipline.

My question to you is this:
Are you giving your creativity a regular outlet?
A committed time and place, daily, in which your own creativity can express itself?
And if not, why not?
Are you using your creativity to get out of your creative work?
Can you see how that untapped creative energy is making trouble in order to express itself?
If so, just notice it. Take a deep breath, right now, and make a small commitment to yourself and your creativity. Even 20 minutes a day to start...

I promise, I am doing the same, and will say that it's not easy to devote a window of time, every single day to one's art. Even when, as is my case, the art is the day job! It's still hard. Life is demanding. Schedules, commitments, loved ones pull our attention in other directions - but I promise, giving your art that time on a regular, consistent basis, will reap tremendous rewards. Just try it.

Let me know how it goes!

Happy creating!

 

Haunting the halls of my own heart

I wrote this on 11/24/14, then promptly lost it somewhere in my computer.
Stumbled upon it today, a lifetime later (9/24/15), and I thought perhaps it was worth sharing.
Thank you for reading.
~Liz


For the last several months I’ve been haunting the halls of my own mind in emotional torment. I became a stranger to myself, familiar (to myself) only in my sadness. I did not take the unraveling of a beautiful love story (aka: break up) very well. I closed myself off from the world - less the world outside,more from the lush interior world which I had spent so many years designing and decorating.

The halls of my heart were filled with trinkets and plans, artwork I’d begin one day, dreams I began but haven’t finished. All of these lovely treasures of my own heart, mind and soul lay neglected within me, as if shrouded in white sheets signifying to anyone who entered, “Nobody lives here anymore.”

I remember one of my Shaman teachers told me after a particularly deep healing session, “Do not abandon yourself.” She was emphatic in this. She delivered the words directly, sternly. I heard her, and I heard her clearly. I actually retained those words, and nothing else she said from that whole session. And that was maybe, 5 years ago?

While I heard her, I admit now that I didn’t really know what she had meant. I thought it sounded absurd. I mean, how could I abandon myself? WHY would I abandon myself? Of course I won’t abandon myself. Silly.

I still don’t know the why, but I’ve come to learn the how. Because, I did abandon myself.

Sure, I devoted myself to my art, plunged into an unmanageable work schedule that stretched somewhere between 70-100 hours in the studio and shoppe, every. single. week. For months.

I thought that meant I was still present. I mean, I was showing up! I was showing up every single day, no matter how dark, no matter how hopeless, no matter how I trembled in fear, in pain, in loneliness. I was still working, I was still making art. And it was meaningful art, coming from deep within. And I was enjoying it all - the best I could anyway. In fact, I completed 6 new pieces in that time, pieces that I’m proud of. Pieces that not only speak to me, but they speak to other people. So the time was not wasted.
I just wish I would’ve been more...present.

I now see that just because I showed up and committed myself to my art and my process, that did not mean I was present. In truth, I was doing it because I didn’t know what else to do. This breakup had caused a full war within me. It had caused every single unfinished love story I had ever experienced in my life, from the 4th grade crush on a boy named Jason, to the devastating divorce, and everything in between, to rise up and remind me, “Remember us? We’re still here. It’s always the same, Liz. There’s always someone prettier, smarter, more worthy of our affections and attentions. There’s always someone - else.”

Because that has been the thread of my love story. It seems there's always someone else. Never on my end, but on theirs. It’s been the hardest thing to understand and accept. That kind of repetitive pattern does a number on one’s psyche.

I had the disturbing revelation, just last week, that maybe the pattern was repeating itself because I was guilty of the very same crime. Me? Yes. Me. But it’s not what you think.
It occurred to me that maybe I had in fact chosen someone else as well, but my crime was much graver than theirs.

I chose them over me.
Every damn time.

I abandoned my own dreams and hopes, left them to rot under old white sheets, and filled the halls of my heart with ‘our dreams’. Mind you, they never asked this of me. Really, I think that ‘our dreams’ were still ‘my dreams’, just under the guise of sharing.

I don’t think I’ve ever been very good at sharing. While we’re at it, I’m not very good at asking or communicating, either. In fact, I remember one man who told me that he’d rather look at my art than listen to me talk. At the time, I took that as a horrible insult.

Years later, I was able to ask him about that comment, and his answer startled me. He said, “I wasn’t trying to be mean. What I meant was that it’s so much easier to know what you’re really thinking and feeling when I look at your work.” I was shocked. So it wasn’t an insult. It was an attempt at getting closer.

Now I know what he meant. Now, I can look back at those last pieces of art I’ve finished recently and suddenly I am closer to myself. I become present. I can imagine showing up physically, all of those days, countless hours. What is revealed to me is the longing, and the healing, and the transformations that were quietly taking place behind the scenes as she, I mean, I, made the work. Quite probably, had I been more present at the time, I would have gotten in the way of it all.
 
So this is how I feel, today. I’ve come to a place of acceptance and peace, and started to peek under those white sheets at all I loved and held dear.
I am remembering myself, remembering what I dreamed of.
I am pulling the dusty books off the shelf (literally and figuratively) and reclaiming those bits of me I left out, neglected to rot and decay. They might be a little worn, but they’re still there. The core of their truth is still intact. The ideas of art I have not yet made, ideas that the very thought of made my heart race in wild abandon, are all still there, unmade, just waiting. I have sketched out dozens of new pieces and several bodies of work, which have always been there, just waiting, until I was present once again.


I am present now.


Liz Huston