Spotlight: Elizabeth Ann Day on Collecting, Consuming and Post-Uni Life
Elizabeth Ann Day is a contemporary artist from Fife, currently based in Dundee. Day graduated with First Class Honours from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2018. She currently works at V&A Dundee and is the Co-Chair at GeneratorProjects.
Sam Gonçalves: Tell me a little bit about your art practice and how you got into in the first place.
Elizabeth Ann Day: My practise is mostly based in film and installation work and that stretches into sculpture in most occasions. I’ve been working with the theme of collectibles for the last three years now. It started, really, with me wanting to investigate a collection I had when I was kid, of Miley Cyrus memorabilia. I loved Hannah Montana, I was so into it. That ended up turning into a Beatles-style cuttings album. Then when I was preparing for my degree show in 2017/2018, I wanted to branch out from that, but make the issue bigger, explore the market of instant collectibles.
SG: A lot of your work is about different forms and intensities of consumption. Are you personally drawn to that theme?
ED: it’s definitely about over-consumption and mass production. I love the repetition of things. There have been obviously huge artists who have dealt with ‘mass production’ over the years but I think there’s more to it.
SG: What are things outside the art world that inspire your work?
ED: I think, honestly, everything I make somehow draws back something I’ve experienced in my life. The collectible thing was a selection of fandom and that linked back to 2006. My work has to link back in some capacity. I’ve done projects in the past where I analysed food consumption. I did a project in 2016 where I collected every piece of food waste I made every day, broke it all down and made it into papyro style paper. I was trying to make a documentation of my time. It all kind of always relates back to personal experiences rather than specific labels.
ED: Generator came first. I started there June, 2018, the month after I graduated from DJCAD. That’s been a whirlwind, an amazing experience. In September, Charis Edward Wells became the Chairperson, then she asked me if I’d like to be Co-chair with her. So now we share that role. Last August I started at the V&A Dundee as a visitor assistant, which has been awesome. Everyone there is so friendly. Even prior to that, in September 2017, I started on the Young People’s Collective at V&A Dundee. I helped curate and design the 3D festival, the opening for the whole museum, which was very cool.
SG: You have graduated from DJCAD last year, so you’ve had this experience of the city as someone who’s just finished uni. How do you feel the city supports people in that position?
ED: Well, I think when I immediately graduated I felt very unsupported. I went straight into working a housekeeping job. I worked housekeeping when I was a teenager and then a couple summers between Uni. There was just a case of ‘I need money now’. Then got Generator, which was great, that kept my foot in the door, even though I was doing stupid hours at my housekeeping job. I think that’s why artist-led initiatives are so fantastic because they get people involved. But post-uni can be such a drop into the void.
SG: Who’s a local creative person that you admire and feel excited about right now?
ED: That’s good fun. I’m actually quite excited about recent graduate Toby Jackson. He just did a really great degree show called Blind Eye and it was with an Xbox connect camera and as you walk into view you disappear from the camera screen. Mhairi Abbas is amazing. She’s fantastic. Um… who else? Cully McCulloch with Nomas*Projects. Always good time. Always really great.
SG: Do you have a question for our next guest?
ED: I think I would like to know if they collected anything when they were kids.
SG: Thank you very much!
*Photo Credit: Sekai Machache