Read as we meet Liffey Joy, one of the incredible artists behind our exclusive wallpaper range…

“I’m a mixed media artist working from my home studio in Cape Town and make all my paintings with the help of my two cats. I was born in the UK but have lived in South Africa since I was nine and graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, after majoring in painting, in 2011.

Art making has been the one constant in my life; my earliest memories are of using those watercolour packs with the little plastic paint brushes to make paintings of donkeys. I’ve moved on a bit style-wise since then and now focus on more monochromatic abstract pieces but those donkey paintings were where it all started.

After graduating I continued to make art but as a side venture in the evenings after my day job teaching. Two years ago my Mum passed away really suddenly and that made me reassess and take stock of what truly brought me joy in life . At the end of the year I decided to pursue artmaking full time. That was always my dream and what she had wanted for me so I feel like I’m doing it for the both of us now. It’s a way to honour the support she gave me and everything she did to help me reach my dreams.

Making art also became a therapeutic release for me. Sometimes communicating how you’re feeling can be difficult, especially in times of great upheaval so I threw myself into creating paintings as a way of working through everything that was going on and trying to come to terms with what had happened.

For me at the end of the day painting is all about expressing emotions which has lead to most of the work I create being abstract. There’s something I find very emotive about the lack of subject matter, it allows you to project onto a piece. I also mainly work in monochrome and natural tones. I’m strongly drawn to black, white and grey colour palettes and, whilst colour does creep in every once in a while, my go-to colour scheme is predominantly black and white.

My process is quite experimental and involves a lot of playing with paint. This play is really important for me when creating a piece of art, firstly because it keeps a painting fresh and exciting and making a work should be a fun experience (for me anyway) and secondly because of the amazing textures and effects you can get when you take risks with the materials you are using. This is how I’ve come across my key materials; ink, acrylic, wine, Epsom salt, potassium permanganate and gold pigment. The ratios of these and how they are mixed together and layered can create a host of textures and marks that I love. It’s somewhat alchemal, trying to create fluid, organic marks that, whilst being controlled by myself, still feel natural.

I actually came into Orms Print Room & Framing to get a painting scanned for another project and the range evolved from there. It’s so nice when a project comes together so easily and allows for artistic freedom. For my wallpaper range with Orms, I decided to embrace my love of texture and organic forms. The focus with these pieces was to create a range with a contrast of both tone and texture. The pieces all come into being by manipulating the slightly chaotic nature of my chosen materials and working with the reactions that form when they mix with one another. I wanted to create a range that felt natural in its inspiration and pallette but controlled enough that you can still tell a human hand was involved in the making. If the marks made look like they’re flowing across a wall, or some strange coloured lichen is spreading across a space, I’m happy.”

For more of Liffey Joy and her amazing work, follow her on Instagram here.

To view her exclusive wallpaper range head to Orms Print Room & Framing.