The Artist’s Corner: Elizabeth McGrady ’16

Photo by Carolyn Brown '16 | Elizabeth McGrady ’16, studio art and math double major, created a project based on an experience she had in a remote Scottish island.

Photo by Carolyn Brown ’16 | Elizabeth McGrady ’16, studio art and math double major, created a project based on an experience she had in a remote Scottish island.


Becca Damante ’18
Arts Edtior

This week The Sophian interviews senior studio art and math double major Elizabeth McGrady ’16 about her work in the visual arts.

What project are you working on right now?

My project is based on an experience I had during my Praxis internship in which I went to a very remote island in Scotland with my coworker and boss, an artist based in London. The island was mystical and dreamlike, and since the summer, I have been trying to recreate that experience for the viewer. I took a number of photographs on the island and have been working with the film in different ways to relive the memories I have. In the past, I have worked with projecting them in different spaces and creating altar installations using drawings in addition to the photographs. In the current iteration, I layered strips of film on top of each other in the darkroom and have made small double exposures, like little surreal film collages.

What media do you typically work with? Which is your favorite medium to work with? What’s the most challenging medium?

I have recently been working primarily with photography, as well as some drawing. My favorite medium changes frequently and really depends on the type of project that I’m working on. In the past, I’ve worked with printmaking and installation in addition to photography and drawing. I don’t find a particular medium most challenging, but deciding which medium to use to execute an idea is definitely difficult.

Where in your life do you find inspiration for your art?

I really enjoy traveling with a film camera my father gave me, exploring and photographing new places. I use color film frequently, and it’s just so bright and dreamy. Everything photographs beautifully. I don’t always end up using the film that I’ve shot in a project, but the experiences always give me energy and keep me excited about photography and making art.

As a senior studio art major, what’s one lesson you will take away with you from Smith?

My peers and professors in the art department have definitely taught me to experiment with art and not just stick with what I’m comfortable with. I really value the times that I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone; I think it has helped me to be less afraid of failing and making something that’s complete crap. Now, if something I make just doesn’t turn out, it’s easier to take that new knowledge about what doesn’t work and move on instead of being upset about it.

What’s one thing you’d like to change about the art world and why?

There aren’t that many women celebrated the way men are in the art world. It’s a lot of old dudes. I dislike the way the art world frequently treats women’s voices and stereotypes them. I feel like sometimes women aren’t taken seriously. This has been slowly getting better, but way too slowly. It would be great to see that change.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

You’ll be able to see my project (with seven other awesome student artists’ projects) in a show in the Janotta Gallery from April 4 to 11, with a gallery opening on April 8. Keep an eye out for posters with more information!

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