We sat down with Liliana Wilson to find out more about her practice and ideas. Read the full interview below to get some insights about her beautiful and hopeful imagery. You can browse all of her available prints HERE
What is your process of creating one of your artworks from idea to completion?
I get a lot of images in my head – I have a backlog of about 50 paintings in my head. I use a sketchbook to visualize these images and then decide on the piece that most interests me. From here, I begin by photographing a person in the pose I’m visualizing for the piece. This isn’t so that the final piece will be life like, but so that the proportions are anatomically accurate. I then print out this image, trace the figure and begin filling it in from there. Sometimes I scan my first draft and use Photoshop to help create the composition outlines. I would then print this out and begin working over it with the detail. To create the details in my images, I either paint or draw. Lately I’ve been predominately drawing because it's my favorite method. Sometimes with my drawings I use some acrylics for highlighting.
Which elements inform your work?
I truly believe that human beings are intrinsically good – that they’re pure. It’s only because of the way society can sometimes work that causes them to behave in a bad way. I’m a Buddhist, and what the Buddhists believe is that we can be trained to deal with our own delusions and all the craziness that surrounds us. And if we were all trained in this way as children, then we could all be wonderful human beings like the Dalai Lama. There’s no doubt. When I first became a Buddhist, I really learned to take responsibility for myself. Of course I’m not perfect but I try my best.
I try to make each piece the most beautiful piece possible. I know that the idea of ‘beauty’ can be considered as “cheesy” but I don’t care because I love beauty. I think that Artists go into an invisible world and bring out something that everyone else usually can’t see. I love to bring out the internal beauty of human beings.
What materials and techniques do you use?
I love to use prismacolor pencils the most but also mix them with acrylic paint and Photoshop.
One technique I use, and one that the old masters used, is to use a mirror when composing a piece. When I look at the reflection of the piece, or turn it upside down I’m no longer caught up in seeing a face or figures. It takes the identities that I make up in my head for these subjects out of context and it’s here that I can see all the shapes and the negative space interacting to make up the composition. The shapes and space in an image is equally as important as the characters.
Have you always been an Artist?
Yes! My Father was a very talented artist, so that’s where I got my skill. But when I was 8 years old I was run over by a scooter and cracked a bone in my shin. I was in a cast, and stuck in bed for two months. This is when I began to draw. I use to do research as a kid and look in comic books to see how other people drew elements like noses (for example), or if I wanted to draw chicken I would look in encyclopedias.
Which Artists that influence your work? Who you admire?
George Tooker was a NY based artists who really influenced my practice. When I was studying I would also refer to his work. John Cruz, Elvira Sarmiento, Santa Barraza and my teacher Neil Wilson (no relation to me!)
Do you have any shows on the horizon? Where can we see more work?
Transnational Struggles: Intersectionalities, Luxe Gallery (San Diego City College) Until Feb 16th
Liliana has some new work available on Skyline Art Editions: