So I get a random call from Manifest Destitute Saturday saying he’s got me on a list for some invite-only, PBR sponsored art show outside of Boston (where would I be without him!?). I sacrificed my sweatpants/bad movie/wine plans for the evening and head out to Harvard Sq looking for this place – by the advertisement you’d think it was a Sadie Hawkins dance – because it said it was a Sadie Hawkins dance – so I searched high and low for awful prom dresses but alas, there were only WASP-y out-of-town-ers in full evening gear – no taffeta was to be found.
Eventually I make it there, chat with the door guy and head up to a party at which I only know one person and I feel overdressed in my giant North Face jacket and now 30lb purse (i HAD to stop at the best magazine stand in the city to snag my random art and fashion mags that cost as much as my rent, guys). Most of the people there were wearing tattoos, tight pants and torn t’s – a little hipster, a little crusty, a lotta beer. Luckily I wasn’t here to look good – I was there to check out some art, and that’s exactly what I did.
Here is where I introduce Lizzie – the genius behind TofuSquirrel. She’s teensy, has impeccably straight hair and was ready for questions/conversation the moment I went to take her card from the wall.
“That’s ME!” she says as I reach, almost literally, over her head to grab a card (which is white with a neon-pink squid holding an owl, btw). Her work struck me from the get-go: vibrant colors, insane subject and composition and overall something I just wanted to keep looking at. Immediately I was reminded of Maurice Sendak – the hatching of the pen mostly. Lizzie has a distinctly surreal style that I think despite any influences or comparisons will stand on it’s own (I see murals in her future – mark my words).
“I like drawing bugs and creatures and stuff – I just start drawing and let my imagination just go for it” she says.
I can see that. I mean, what the shit is going on here? we’ve got a finned owl critter with a starfish on his belly, he is surrounded by lizards (that I inexplicably want to snuggle) with while laying in a field of heart-shaped grass and bobcat voyeurs hide in the brush. All of her creatures almost seem like they too are surprised that they are in this bizarro-land – like they are in the middle of a bad trip and we are seeing their imagination at work.
Her work has been seen all ovah’ the place including Best of Boston 2009 and 2010 and I can definitely see why – wouldn’t you want her making something for you? Your band? Your living room? or your next tattoo? Well you’re in luck kids – she does commission work! In fact she was uuber enthusiastic about my asking her about what she is willing to do on request: “Ill do anything. Anything they want. Small, big, not matter what subject, complex or simple, Ill do it – I love working with people”. In true Junkyard fashion, Lizzie prices her work according to her time, complexity and her skillz, but also works with buyers who don’t have a grand to drop on a print.
The prints at the show were selling at a totally awesome $40 while some of the smaller originals go for around $400 – but don’t expect to snag an original any time soon – “Im attached. I’ve got this hamster up tonight but if he doesn’t sell, he’s going right back home with me and the rest of them”. In case you are wondering what opportunity you missed, this is the hamster.
In conclusion – contact her, commission her (like I plan on doing) and buy her work. When you’ve got talent like this just outside your door, how can you not take advantage of that?