We couldn’t let 2020 slip on by without introducing one more artist to our roster. Join us tomorrow at 12 PM EST as we launch Elisabeth Hays and her popular Butterfly Taxidermy collection! Elisabeth, a native of beautiful Fairhope, AL, and a former interior designer draws upon her love of textiles and painting in her work. Her latest collection "Butterfly Taxidermy" launches in the Well + Wonder collection tomorrow BUT that didn't stop us from sneaking into her studio early and, of course, peppering her with all of the questions. Elisabeth is a star and so kindly humored us during this rapid-fire interview and what a way to pass the time before the big day tomorrow. Get to know a little bit more about the artist behind the butterflies, her inspirations, and everything in between in our interview Pardon Me, Elisabeth Hays? Welcome to the Well + Wonder team Elisabeth!
What is currently on your nightstand?
A phone charger, a water and a one of my favorite plaster lamps… (and a sketchbook in the drawer!) I’m not much of a reader in bed. I get too caught up in whatever I’m reading and can’t go to sleep!
Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?
There’s just no way to narrow this down to one. As for contemporary artists, I’d say Wolff Kahn’s use of color and expressive mark making is definitely a noticeable influence in my work. Looking back in history, Gustav Klimt definitely stands out for his mixed media & unique compositions. Ive also always been really fascinated at his use of pattern within his art - something often seen today but not as common for his time.
Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person?
I grew up on Mobile Bay in lower Alabama. I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful place to be raised. We had long summers on the water filled with early morning ski runs & afternoon tube wars. One thing that I often think about is our weekend & summer ritual of sunsets on the pier. My parents would walk down every evening as the sun was going down & often friends and family would stop by for a visit to take in the views. That time of day has always been really special to me.
If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why?
Paint - just by mixing a few colors, you can create a rainbow of possibilities!
What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it.
We live in a small cottage on the water and the kitchen, dining and living room are pretty much one. It looks out over Mobile Bay and the large wall of windows & doors lets in so much light and warmth! It’s filled with furniture passed down from family & a beautiful black antique buffet that my husband bought for our 5th wedding anniversary. With a background in Interior Design & a love of art, I’ve always been an avid art collector so this room has a few of my most prized original works from local artists such as Kent Walsh, Erin Gregory, Jo Patton, Frantic, Rebekah Webb, Kim Zukley & many more.
What is your biggest score online?
I'm not a thrifter... at all. I just don’t keep up with shopping enough to be good at it. But I did purchase two Gretchen Kelley watercolor nudes on Etsy probably close to 15 years ago that I still absolutely love today. Recently I stumbled back upon her work at a beautiful gallery in Atlanta & knew I’d scored something special all those years ago!
What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art?
I think it’s important to buy through collectives because the art then has an established value. You’re collecting from professionals, not hobbyists & they’ll hold their value.
Also, collectives allow artists to become professionals - increasing exposure while the artists focus on their craft.
I feel like galleries & collectives have taken a bit of a hit during these days of unlimited accessibility with social media. But in the long run, a good gallery or collective is what keeps artists in business.
If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why?
Probably the Louvre… because it’s the Louvre…. and Paris!
What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?
We honestly don’t do a ton of hotels… Having two young kids & being so close to the beach, a VRBO on 30A makes up most of our traveling these days. I do love any and all boutique hotels though. The next on my list when we can start traveling again is Maison de la Luz in New Orleans. Give me any place with a focus on high design & original art and I’m a happy girl!
If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why?
I’m so basic - definitely clear. Preferably paired with a t-shirt & leggings.
I can never get on a plane without….
A soft, lightweight jacket. A rumbling engine & lightweight jacket make for the best naps!
How did you get into the world of art?
I’ve always been a creator, ever since I was little. After school, I spent almost 10 years in interior design where my favorite part was always art placement. It makes the room and can bring so much character to a space. Almost three years ago, I sold my design business and decided to focus on my own art. I never knew where exactly it would take me, but it’s been a wonderful path of exploration!
What do you do to relax?
My favorite wind down is an evening spent on the pier or on our porch watching the sunset! It’s definitely my way to turn off and recharge.
When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?
I work best under pressure. A few days before a deadline is when the wheels really start turning and I get focused.
Prediction for the Color of 2021?
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, a room or painting almost doesn’t seem complete without a touch of turquoise.
What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night?
Probably a little bit of both. I love a good spot for dinner with live music!
Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created.
I would have to say a painting of a group of pelicans I used for Save the Dates when my husband and I were married in 2012. It’s the only painting I have in my home that I’ve painted and it’s really special to my heart.
One piece of advice for buying original art?
I always like to encourage people to buy big! Whether it's a single large scale canvas or a collection of 3-6 smaller works in a series, a problem I often ran into in design was the scale of many peoples art collections was way too small for their homes. If you love the art and it speaks to you, make sure the scale can fit a prominent wall in your home. This is definitely a case where bigger is almost always better!