How has your childhood influenced the direction of your artistic process?
I was raised by a physician and a microbiologist, so conversations around the dinner table growing up skewed toward science and medicine. Science and math were never favorite subjects growing up, but I’ve come to realize that my curiosity about the world, and the way I grapple with understanding it, is profoundly scientific. Experimenting with new materials and processes is essential to my practice as an artist. I like to think that I’ve found a way to be a scientist without adhering to the rules.
What unique tools do you use to create your work?
So much of my work involves balloons–my $5.99 air pump is one of my most valuable tools.
I never know what the piece will look like until I slice it open!
— Elyse Graham
How do you incorporate chance in your creative process?
Chance and surprise are essential aspects of my practice. I relinquish a little bit of control with every piece I make. Although I work in multiples, my process is such that each piece is unique. For example, I build the geodes from the inside out, so I am constantly covering my tracks and allowing myself to forget what colors and layers came before.
What necessities do you require when making your art?
Silence. I feel a little sheepish about admitting this, but I often find myself working for hours in total silence. It’s not that I don’t enjoy music, it just doesn’t occur to me to turn it on. My work is quite meditative–whether swirling plaster around inside of balloons or pouring layers of resin and watching the drips form, so I tend to allow my mind to wander through new ideas or work out potential problems.