Ones to Watch: Interview with Liv Gravil

Learn more about Liv Gravil's work in our Ones to Watch artist profile!

April 1st, 2020

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We interviewed the Ones to Watch artists about their work! Introducing: Liv Gravil…

1. Your full name, and university course/year.

My name is Livia Gravil (although I usually go by Liv), and I’m a Fine Art third year at Falmouth University.

2. Can you describe your work to us in 3 words?

Landscapes made stranger.

3. What medium do you prefer to use?

Oils and acrylic for when I’m painting, graphite or charcoal for drawing. I like to work small so that the things I make can be picked up and moved around, so that they lose some of the intimidating untouchable preciousness that art can tend to collect.

4. What is the inspiration behind your work?

At the moment I’m thinking about landscapes that aren’t really landscapes, or are hidden or out of our reach. Caves, interstellar space as seen through satellites and probes — dark-matter places that are between the cracks of what we recognise as ordinary, and anything that’s empty of people and a bit weird. I’m painting caves at the moment because I can actually get to those and I like the thought of things hidden underground and what it means to bring them back up to the surface. The work I have in the show is made from a visit to Long Churn Cave in the Yorkshire Dales.

I’m also very interested in exploration stories – particularly those that fall into the category of science fiction, horror, or the New Weird. I got told a lot of stories about local mine disasters as a kid, and I think those stuck with me. Currently my visual work is a way to tell a short narrative about a person who is left to document the strange landscape of an undiscovered planet by themself, and the strange things that they find in the landscape of sprawling moorland cave-systems. It’s about, in short: dark light, copper, thinly veiled metaphors for depression, unreliable methods of research, and the act of making the choice to try and get better.

5. What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

I think that if someone took my sketchbooks/journals away I’d probably crumble. I love having them around as objects, and I can usually only figure things out when I’ve written them down several times.

6. During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I’m drawing, reading, and listening to a lot of horror podcasts. My paints are currently at the other end of the country, so I have plenty of time on my hands.

7. Which artists are you most influenced by?

Vija Celmins, Hajra Waheed, Winnie Song, Katie Paterson and Lieko Shiga.

8. Plans for the future?

I was thinking about taking a masters in museum studies, but perhaps I just want to be in museums in general so that I can learn about the lots of different obscure things that get kept in museum archives and collections. Current world circumstances have made me really rethink what I want to do, and the timescale that those wants can be achieved at. So, short answer: I have no idea, but I want to be making things for certain.

9. What are your favourite Instagram accounts?

@samsketchbook, @thewhitepube, @davidkowalski and @albinwerle !

10. What is your dream project?

I’m very interested in the parallels between artistic research and scientific research. There’s something between the extreme, methodical focus of scientific research and the more abstract philosophical questions that art can pose, and how you can use art to explore pretty much anything you can think of. I would love to be left to make a series of work at an observatory, or at a climate station; or basically anywhere there is active landscape/place-based research going on that’s unrelated to art.

If anyone would like to let me down any more caves, that would also be pretty cool. I am definitely not done with talking about caves.

Check out Liv’s website.

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