Liz Slaterbeck is an artist from Westminster. She is an illustrator. Slaterbeck most often does her artwork with ink on paper and then adds colors with watercolor. She also does some artwork digitally.
Slaterbeck’s mother was always painting. She loved Impressionism. Because of her mother’s inspiration, Slaterbeck began to paint as soon as she could pick up a brush. Her mother also made things from clay and did sculptures.
When she went to visit her grandparents in the summer, they always bought her drawing pads. When she could not think of something to draw, they would get out their old postcards.
“I remember sitting with my grandfather when I was 6 years old. He usually asked me to draw something. One was a set of flamenco dancers from Spain,” she said.
Her father, who had no artistic talent, always supported her by buying her supplies and eventually helping her with art school expenses. He always gave her critiques that helped her get better.
When Slaterbeck was 11 years old, she received arts lessons as a gift from her grandmother. As a result, Slaterbeck took a year of fine art lessons from an art teacher in Timonium. She learned how to work with pastels and also about layout and proportions.
She took every art class she could at Westminster High School which had a good art program. She graduated in 1997. She attended Bradley Academy School for Visual of Art in York, Pennsylvania. (It is now The Art Institute of York.)
Slaterbeck majored in graphic design. She learned how to work with Photoshop, Illustrator and to make marketing materials. “I learned everything to do with print,” she said.
Her parents wanted her to go to school where she would learn art skills that would provide her a living. However, Slaterbeck, would have rather studied cartooning and animation.
Slaterbeck graduated with an associate’s degree in Graphic Design. She already had a job working for The Johns Hopkins University with the location at the medical campus. Slaterbeck was a graphic artist assistant. She created posters for doctors and their medical presentations, she had to enhance and clean up images and had to use her artistic skills to do visual representation of medical related items. Slaterbeck also did a small amount of medical illustration. She worked there for three years.
She went to work for an advertising agency called Fast and Associates in Clarksville. She was the only graphic artist on staff. She worked on marketing for SCAN Furniture, Graul’s Market, Nestle and other firms. Slaterbeck did print items such as catalogs, magazine ads, newspaper ads and other printed promotional materials.
Slaterbeck left her job after a year to have children. She began to freelance as a graphic artist because she could be at home with her children.
In the last four or five years she went back to her illustrative roots. “That is where my passion has always been,” she said.
Much of the work she does now is more intricate and detailed. For so many years, she did simple cartooning work. Now she spends more time on the finer details. For example, some of her greatest influences are Alphonse Mucha and Alex Grey.
She began to study dance when she was raising her children. Slaterbeck studied Middle Eastern dance. The intricacies influenced her art. She fell in love with traditional Indian dances such Bollywood, temple dances such as Odissi and Kuchipudi. The female figures and energy in her artwork including their hands and postures have influenced her artwork. Some of the dances require the dancer to embody things like a nurturing mother energy, a warrior goddess or a reverent queen, sensual lover and priestess. Her dancing can be seen on goddessdance.weebly.com.
Her most recent art show was held at Birdie’s Café. She also sold a lot of artwork at the first Westminster Pride Festival held this summer.
She is also a part of the GFWC Women’s Club Show titled “Feel the Art” that began Sept. 14 and runs through Jan. 11. It will be at the Carroll County Nonprofit Building in the meeting room galleries.
Her favorite thing to do is custom artwork. Slaterbeck designs everything from custom tattoos to wedding invitations, logos and special pieces of artwork.
Slaterbeck also creates unique portraits that turn a person into a piece of artwork that both is timeless and reflects the personality of the subject.
“I have had women ask me to be turned into a mermaid or goddess,” she said.
She also did a line drawing that is an image of a couple but incorporates symbols. For example, the sun moon and stars represent the woman’s children, the turtle is the man’s spirit animal and two moons represent his sons.
“Art is a beautiful expression of things I cannot articulate with words. I like that it is open for interpretation and how that can open up a connection with others,” Slaterbeck said.
“I am pleased to say that I can make a living on art. I was told for so many years that I could not make a living as an artist and now I do.”
Her website is www.amritaartstudio.com.