“I’ve never not made art,” multimedia artist Elizabeth Wolfe tells me in the first few moments of our forty minute phone call. From looking at her work, you can see that this is true, there is a depth for each project or piece she’s put out. No matter what, you can tell she’s constantly in the midst of creating something. Perhaps the depth of her work comes from the amount of time and effort she puts into each one. After taking a road trip around the western half of the continental United States for six months over two years ago, she is still working on a zine about it. Filled with writing, photography and things she learned from the trip, she tells me that “every Monday, I’ll edit like 10 photos from the trip.” Despite the slow progress, she maintains the excitement about the project.
Photographer, poet, musician, videographer, Wolfe does it all. When asked what her favorite medium was, she told me that she had just been asked to rank them the other day. “it was crazy how I arranged it… how I felt about it, but each one was like equal in a way… it was writing and then color editing, I really like color editing anything… video or photo, and then video… photo, and then music. And then any other like painting or drawing after that.” Wolfe uses whatever medium fits what she’s going through at any given moment, with a specific emphasis on memory and the ways it fits into her own life. Creating art from the small things she notices in her life, like two wilting roses that echo the drunk girls in Ubers she sees in her current Los Angeles home, she weaves both into a poem as she’s walking from the natural wine store to meet her friends.
Her work often features a storytelling aspect, but her main purpose in creating art is that she, “[longs] to make the people around me feel loved. And so I think that anything… everything is art. So having people around me feel loved is like the most important part and purpose of any art that I do accomplish or any words that I say.” This devotion to the people around her and the way she is determined to frame her life as art has many of her friends describing her as an artist and helping her pursue her artistic endeavors. Her friend who works at a music studio is itching to get her in the studio to record and the lead singer of popular band Copeland, Aaron Marsh, has offered her a recording booth in his studio whenever she is ready for it. She is determined to get her music in the right place before that happens though. Again, she takes her time to make something perfect before sharing it.
This fierce devotion and an intentional softness is imbued throughout her life. With the words soft cake tattooed on her legs, she once told me that she got that in order to remind her to be “soft and sweet like cake and not hard and salty like a chip.” She derives her creative practice from reading citing Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run With The Wolves and David Lynch as two of her sources. This practice involves, “seeing things and relating to things around me and kind of explaining it in maybe a more mythological or storytelling viewpoint.” She often has a mythological or dreamy air about her and it shows in her extensive creative practice and in the media that she consumes.
She tells me that she paused Riverdale, a mysterious Twin Peaks kind of teen drama, to answer my phone call and we have a five minute aside about the television show, since we both love it. When I ask what her other indulgences are, she tells me that they’re mostly revolved around food. She flickers between sandwiches, cookies, chips, or the aforementioned Riverdale. This earnest silliness is echoed when I ask her who is currently inspiring her and how she feels empowered. “It’s a little bit of a weird one, but Jeffree Star is like, really inspiring me right now… This like crazy beauty guru, narcissistic, alien, androgynous human being, it’s what I’m most drawn to.” Telling me that their makeup line not only empowers her and other women, but that it was created from experience and memories, mirroring her own creative practice. “I think it’s really empowering. And I think that empowerment is really important in culture today.”