We recently connected with Quinn Elliott and have shared our conversation below.
Quinn, appreciate you joining us today. Do you wish you had waited to pursue your creative career or do you wish you had started sooner?
The artistic calling has been present all my life, but I never thought I had “it” – whatever “it” is. From my teens onward I dabbled in creative writing and photography, but never anything else because I was convinced I lacked some innate talent for more.
In late 2013, I left a job I’d had 10 years and was bereft- my sense of identity was so wrapped up in that career. My partner gave me a book on collage for Christmas soon after, and I knew it was time to stretch my wings. And thus the journey began. My friends and family immediately loved the work I was doing and I felt a sense of fulfillment that had been missing.
Over time I started gravitating towards 3d sculpture, still with an emphasis on vintage and cast-off elements. Without collage, I wouldn’t be doing what I am now.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that the journey started on time for me even if I wish it had begun earlier. A lot of experiences and confidence had to be built for me to arrive at the space where art seemed possible.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Writing led to photography which led to collage which led to assemblage. All my life I’ve been fascinated by old/vintage things, and juxtapositions of old and new. Assemblage offered a whole new way to explore those things and to reuse cast-off materials, broken items, and things most would consider junk.
Being a maker in this time is to be, I think, concerned about resource usage and waste. So it’s my goal to create art people can enjoy that saves items from the landfills and revitalizes them. I’m deeply proud of taking literal junk -rusted metal, broken electronics, toys missing an arm or leg, glass shards, scrap wood, and the like and making a completely new object with them.
What sets me a apart from other artists is that I don’t believe in secrets. I’m asked all the time how I did something, and I never hesitate to share techniques, tools, and whatnot. Art is meant to be shared and experienced in all ways- showing the wizard behind the curtain and maybe persuading others to follow the muse is important to me. Another thing that makes me different from others is that I also strongly believe in affordable art- I have a full time job that lets me keep my prices down some, and I will always find ways to get arts in the hands of those who need that sort of beauty and healing.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
To best support artists, recognize our work is truly work- art IS labor. So many love and appreciate the end product, whether it’s music or a painting or a photograph and yet somehow mentally divorce the act and cost of making from the object.
Support artists by buying their work, sharing their work, and telling others about them. Share what about art makes your life more fulfilling and ask others to examine those same things for themselves.
Tax reform would help artists not only survive but thrive; as much as the US is capitalist, it doesn’t support all forms of capitalism equally.
Lastly, making more space for minority artists- BIPOC, LGBTQ+, etc- their voices are often not shared widely.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
Besides the reuse/recycle/upcycle aspect of my work. the most rewarding part of being creative is how it stretches my mind to see things in a new way, and in turn, helps me do the same for others.
One thing I hear a lot -especially from women- is that they love what I do but they “…could never do that.” This kind of exchange always prompts me to tell them that I’ve learned a lot on my own, and once I found a community of like-minded creatives, that helped me, even more, to believe I could learn or do anything with art.
Being able to help others find their confidence and muse is important- so often people tear us down. But if I can use my voice to lift others up and help them bring a deeper relationship with creativity into their lives, then that is a true legacy.
- Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CipherArt
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cipherart
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cipherart
- Twitter: @cipherart
Photo of Quinn Elliott taken by Dalvin Nichols, @8bit.photog