Elizabeth Sanquiche is not Afraid to Follow her Passions
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in New York City and raised in Queens and Long Island. I studied at Queens College and City University of New York where I focused on business. I had the desire to study English as well. I was always passionate about writing. I worked the corporate retail world for 18+ years running million dollar businesses, but I left that in 2009 to pursue my true passion, art.
I was artistic as a young child, always drawing and painting. At four I learned to read and play classical music on the piano. In second grade I learned to play the flute and continued with both of those up until college. For a few years in middle school my family moved us to Puerto Rico. Music is what I intended to pursue with plans to study at the music conservatory in San Juan. I was always playing in bands and orchestras and had the wonderful opportunity of being chosen to play in the band for the Pan American Games opening/closing ceremonies in 1979. But life happens and plans changed and shifted.
My younger brother by 8 years, who I babysat on many an occasion is also an artist, illustrator. We sat for endless hours as kids drawing together and nurturing our only desire, to make art. In 2009, he turned me on to the world of blank DIY (do-it-yourself) Munnys. Coercing me to go online and view what artists were doing with this platform, he said it would be good for me to break back into art, any art as long as I was creating. He wanted me to get inspired. I was amazed at the talent and creations of so many artists. That was the first time I touched clay, a new medium for me. I fell in love with 3D art. While going through a tough personal transition I submersed myself in writing and sculpting like a new obsession, it consumed me and I ate, slept and breathed sculpting. I've never looked back and I have no regrets because I believe I found my true calling as a sculptor.
What inspires you the most to create?
That's a tough question. I'm inspired by so many things. Let's start with Disney, a big part of my childhood. Once I had children, I started collecting movies which I would say was for them, but in honesty it was as much for me too. I never get tired of watching animation. My kids are grown now, and I still go out and buy new releases, but not just Disney. I enjoy Pixar, Anime, Manga and any high end animation that tells an amazing story with unique characters. I'm a huge fan of claymation and the work of Tim Burton. There are so many aspects to that art that intrigue me, but sculpting and animating characters I find fascinating. That would be a dream job for me, to work on a set for a production like that or even be mentored by the elite talent in the industry.
I collect art books: watercolor, photography, drawing, airbrushing, graffiti, fantasy, fine art, graphic art, beasts and creatures, sculpture, and how-to books. You name it I love it all because it opens my eyes to different angles, concepts, perceptions, styles. One book can give me a good 1/2 dozen ideas for sculptures I want to create. It just triggers new ideas and so now I keep a notebook with a list of those ideas. A place, an object, a scent, a person, a dream, almost anything can cause inspiration. Sometimes while I'm in the midst of sculpting a project I get visions for other ones and I jot down key points that will trigger the vision for when I'm ready to create. As for other artists, there are too many artists to name but a few that I enjoy are, Caia Koopman, Tara Mcpherson, Camilla D'errico, Kathy Olivas, Brandt Peters, Travis Louie, and Greg Simkins.
The main thing is saturating myself in the creative world. I’m constantly trying to connect and meet new artists. I'm fortunate to know a lot of artists in the customizing world which I can now call friends and by just being themselves, makes this process enjoyable. I use social media as a huge tool to see what other creators are doing, being in the loop. It inspires me. It motivates me to keep moving forward. It helps me to analyze and critique my strengths and opportunities. Now that this artistic passion in unleashed in me, I'm driven to keep the fire lit.
What advice would you give to anyone who is interested in creating custom toys?
To start, just have fun. Obviously it draws many people, it's relatable because they're toys; we all had them and played with them as kids. The direction in which you take your creativity is entirely up to you. Creators from all walks of life and all levels of skills have taken to customizing. Some do it for fun to break the monotony of what they normally do and some have turned it into a way of life. It's important to be patient because anything worth doing well takes time and comes with practice. Learn something from each process so you can improve on the next one. Almost every time I create something I've made a mistake, or dislike something from it, and I retain that so when I make the next one I push myself to a new level. I don't concern myself with what everyone is doing. I concern myself with what I'm doing or not doing but never to a point where I don't enjoy myself, and that's hard to accomplish when you've chosen to do art for a living. Forget the fear of not being creative enough, it resides within us. You just have to seek your niche. For example, you will decide you like sculpting over them, some will like painting over them; some will like just using markers and that process is the fun part! What you'll find in yourself is a new perspective... sort of a visual voice of expression. Who you will see is that creative child you thought you left behind! It's not rocket science. It's art, your art, for you to enjoy and share with others.
What can students expect to learn in your workshop?
We're going to start with the basics. I'll create lists of online shops, sites, blogs and resources that people can access at home at their leisure to get into the world of customizing, to see what artists are doing and their creative processes. We'll learn about the basic tools needed to sculpt including different types of clay. How to bake clay in an oven at home and I will train them on the use of a heat gun as well. We'll each sculpt a simple unique character of our choosing, one that you'll be able to take home and paint after the two day workshop. This class was kept to the sculpting only because this process should not be rushed; it's a beginner’s class although anyone can take it. Sculpting can be labor intensive because it requires sanding and sculpting in layers which is a technique that ends with better/cleaner results. This will also allow me to work one on one and support each student's needs. I'll also bring samples of my work so students can see what pieces look like completed
What are you planning in 2014, any major projects on the horizon?
Good question. Well, I just moved to Atlanta in August of 2013. So, the transition has taken a hit on my artistic workload, meaning I'm not getting as much artwork completed as I would like. However, the most important transition for me is the artistic one in the sense that I need to familiarize myself with Atlanta and what the art life has to offer. So, I've been attending art shows, creating art for shows and getting familiar with galleries, art centers, and museums. I’ve also been meeting and networking with other creatives and finding mentors. I love that Atlanta has so many art fairs but there is a process to getting into them. As a sculptor I'm looking to create a new body of work that isn't considered customs. So you will see more original sculptures from me this year and in between I will still be creating customs, either for shows and/or commissions. I've also made a commitment to myself to do more painting because it is important I grow my talent and diversify, since sculpting has been my constant medium for 5 years now. I'm working on concepts to create one or two original characters sculpts to become a vinyl toy for production. I may do a test run of a resin beast design off an original sculpt and curate an art show exclusively with that beast only. This will allow me to test the waters in the customizing world before I move on to a serious concept. Hopefully, these workshops with Binders do well so that I may continue to share and grow in the art of customizing by doing more workshops year round. This was something I never had, someone to teach or guide me. Everything I've done was self- taught and it made the process more challenging. So I'm expecting that sharing myself and my skills will develop some great creativity in my students as well as myself.
The Art of Sculpting Custom Toys with Liz Sanquiche
Dive into the world of Designer Toys and Urban Vinyl! Learn to use and sculpt polymer clay, basic use of sculpting tools, instruction on baking clay with ovens and heat guns, and creating your own custom designer toy.
We'll start with discussions about this ever changing, and re-inventing art scene and the various platforms in the industry that are available to customize such as vinyl, resin and wood. This at form is influenced by styles such as graffiti art, Manga comics, goth / punk rock, skateboard art, movies, television shows and an endless list from urban culture and pop culture.
We will take our own artistic inspiration and apply it to vinyl platforms creating quirky characters and / or artistic sculpts that are limited only by your imagination!
Written by Jacob Gunter
For questions, more information, or registration please contact the BINDERS Education Office at 404237-6331 ext. 203 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.