Lizzi Yates is a New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4) student who studies onsite at The Learning Connexion. We talked to her about starting her creative journey with us in her 60s, and how TLC has "woken" her up from a creative slumber.
Hi Lizzi. Tell us about your decision to enrol at The Learning Connexion?
It was a brilliant decision! TLC’s philosophy is just right for me. I've had a lot of fun so far. I have been able to enter that creative space where time and place become fluid. I love that state.
What are some of the things you enjoy most about studying at TLC?
TLC is about starting where you are at and letting something emerge. Anything goes, somewhere.
The attention is on creative process and recording that in photos. It’s so liberating to use a piece of brown paper for a paint palette, which later becomes the start of another painting, which can then be torn into a collage – and on it goes. Taking the emphasis off the ‘final’ product has disabled my inner critic. Thank goodness.
I enjoy the young people who bring a crazy offbeat energy to the place. One of them persuaded me to ride a pink kids' scooter from Earthlink back to TLC. Woohoo! And I appreciate older people like me who are pushing out beyond the boundaries life has placed on them.
Sometimes it's the little things. I recently spent a day inking and printing a dry point plate over and over again; I found that just by subtly altering how I wiped the plate, I could change the way the print was read. Beginner’s joy!
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
I love building stuff, playing around in photoshop, doing huge drawings, tiny paintings, crazily detailed prints – all whilst listening to gospel legends. Is that an artist?! Beyond that, I've done a lot of collaborative multi-media performances using my drawings to tell stories. Stories move people, and in performances, drawings can become visceral illustrations of the unspoken.
How do you sustain your creative practice and where do you draw inspiration from?
The truth is I have had trouble sustaining my creative process most of my life, so it’s not a straight forward question.
I have always had a huge longing in me, a sort of embodied energy wanting to be woken from a deep sleep. TLC has literally woken me up!
And it’s put me right on my edge, as I have previously been shy about showing my work.
Do you have a project you are currently working on?
I trust that everything I am doing is heading somewhere, although sometimes it’s hard to see how they are connected! Currently I am playing with paint and I’m wondering about creating boxes holding untold stories and I might add in some jack-in-the-boxes just because they are fun and disturbing all at once.
Are your skills and approach to creativity transferable into ‘other’ fields in your life?
Turning up, mastering new skills, pushing through internal resistance, building the courage to take myself beyond what I thought was possible.
Yup I think these are life skills!
What advice would you give people starting out at The Learning Connexion and wanting to pursue a creative pathway?
Do it! Start at Level 4, be open to what comes at you, and out of you.