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  • Writer's pictureChisara Vidale

ARTIST INTERVIEW- Livvy Eden

@livvyeden_


Could you introduce yourself and your practice?


Hi! My name is Livvy Eden and I am a visual artist currently working in Wiltshire. My practice is centred within photography and alternative photographic processes, but my projects often expand outward into bookbinding, graphic design and installation projects. I have a deep interest in place and our interactions and movement within spaces.


Could you talk a bit about your different processes and approaches?


Photographing my experiences in the places I come across has become a very natural process for me. I enjoy documenting my explorations of spaces and sharing my experiences with others. Most of the time, I am very conscious of the reasons why I am creating a particular piece, but sometimes, it takes time and space to process what I have made and what subconsciously influenced me to make it. A lot of people describe my work as gentle, soft, reflective, and contemplative.



I typically work in series, and I create both abstract and documentary works- whichever feels natural in the moment. This also means that when I present them together in books or installations, I can have images working on different levels and each image helps to reveal subtle parts of a wider story. Materiality and texture play vital roles to enhance the experience of a piece for the viewer. I am always considering how the viewer may interact with my work- how they may turn the pages of my books or move within the gallery space.



Your project “Sea Change” is really interesting. Could you share a bit more about this series?


Yes! Sea Change is an ongoing series of lumen prints created with seawater, seaweed, flora and other found coastline materials. I place the objects on expired photographic paper and expose them to sunlight. I have created my own sustainable method where I naturally fix my prints in trays of seawater in a home darkroom. The entire process takes around 72 hours and as the prints slowly develop in the water, traces and feathers of salt crystals and seaweed are revealed.


I make sure to use as little water as possible and return my materials back to the land as I am very conscious of the impact my work has on the environment. There are many issues with the harmful chemicals and water usage within the traditional darkroom practices used today, and I hope this project is a positive step in finding a solution.


I first started this project in 2020, when I was studying for my Photography Degree at Falmouth Uni during the pandemic. Lockdown meant that my materials were really restricted, and I had to be resourceful with the materials around me. I blacked out my bathroom and used expired photographic paper and old plastic trays to create a pop-up darkroom. I had a very little understanding of alternative photography at the time as it wasn’t something I had ever practiced, but I began experimenting with how water and various household substances reacted with the paper’s chemical surface. I used the flowers and leaves I collected to apply brush strokes of water and create intricate textures. It is very similar to painting on a canvas. Any chemicals found in the seawater causes strange, colourful reactions on the paper’s surface too.



I enjoy experimenting with new abstract perspectives of the places I explore. Each print is entirely unique, and I view each one as a little representation of the places where I found the objects. There is also a limit to how much control I have over each print, and while sometimes the process may feel gradual and meditative, it can also be spontaneous and unexpected.


I have created around 30 prints so far, and I am always collecting new materials and textures that I come across. I am hoping to incorporate river water into my process and use my project to raise awareness of the health of our local rivers and chalk streams.


You have created work in a variety of locations, how do you decide where to work?


Place is integral to understanding who I am as a woman and an artist. I have a deep appreciation for nature and the solace it brings me. I am drawn to spaces that allow me to observe and listen- it is an act of grounding, and my work is an extension of that. I respond to the site itself and my emotions that are evoked there to better understand myself.



Naturally, a lot of my work has been created in Wiltshire, where I have lived since I was a baby. I have also created a lot of work in Cornwall, focusing on the vast landscapes, woodlands and of course, the sea. I swam almost daily throughout the entire year, and I became fascinated by how unearthly it felt to be held in a mass of water. On calmer days it felt effortless to swim in, and on others, it felt very overwhelming and almost terrifying! It is significant situations like this that I want to capture and respond to creatively. There is so much emotion there.



Lastly, who are some of your favourite contemporary artists at the moment?


I draw inspiration from all creative practices, particularly installation art, land art and site-specific works- Olafur Eliasson will always be one of my favourite practitioners. There is no doubt that my favourite photographer is Raymond Meeks, but I am constantly inspired by so many creatives such as Hannah Fletcher from London Alternative Photography Collective, Tamsin Green, Wolfgang Tillmans, Thao Nguyen Phan and Max Ferguson. The writings of Rebecca Solnit, Roger Deakin, Robert Macfarlane and Liz Wells also heavily influence me.



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