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Artists In Their Own Words: Liz Cooke

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Liz Cooke (Photo by: Allie Butler)

Who: Liz Cooke

What: Graphic Designer

Where: Uptown

Artist’s Chosen Location for Interview: Wayfare (4510 Freret Street)

Q: The common saying is that experiences shape you, so what shape do you think you are at this point in your life?

A: I got it. There was this promotional toy that my mom was given at a law school conference when I was a kid. It was a coil that could stack upon itself when it was in its most concentrated state. Each link, though, was like an elbow curve. You could untwist it, but no matter how you twisted it, it always had the right angles. No matter where it was, it always was where it was supposed to be.

We’re all living organisms, and I feel like sometimes we’re all aligned in our morals, our goals, our experiences, and we are centered. And sometimes we get totally off balance. You’re still you. You’re still that connected shape, and you didn’t lose anything, you just have to figure out how—and if—you want to get back to that different shape.

I haven’t thought about that toy for 22 years. It was made of cheap plastic. There was probably some stupid logo on it somewhere.

Q: What’s a word outside of everyday language that you can’t live without?

A: I’m trying to think of the words that autocorrect tries to change all the time and I say, "No, I meant that."

I really want to say douche canoe because when I use that phrase I really mean it, but I don’t use it that often.

It would be laughter. The hahaha. I can be emotional with that word. Is it in caps? How many A’s will I put in it? It’s representational.

Q: What’s an unknown in life that you never want to know about?

A: The magic. I feel like I’m always teetering in the balance where you get chills all up and down your body. When it’s kismet, and you feel like you’re here for a reason. It feels amazing. And sometimes you don’t understand how things connect, and there’s no reason for anything. We’re just atoms floating through space.

There’s probably an answer for that magic, but I think that if you knew it then you wouldn’t ask yourself that question, which is such an important question.

Now, to be clear, I’m curious to no end about what the hell is going on. But, if I knew everything, I might not buy into the game, and you have to buy into the game.

I feel like finding out about purpose is the ultimate curtain in life. Even if we got a backstage tour of the universe with God, I’m not sure we would get it or understand it. When you believe it’s magic, it is. When you believe it’s discord, that’s what you get. I also realize that it’s not that absolute.

I know that when I started Lionheart I was in that really good space. I had never thought of the word lionheart before until I started my own brand of stationary. I’ve had a few moments in life when I stare off in space, there’s a white flash, and I get a word. Lionheart was one of those words.

And when I’m not in that secure space, I feel lost. I don’t feel uninspired, but I get involved in the petty garbage of where I am versus where I want to be. I become competitive with myself.

For instance, with calligraphy, I know what is good, and I know where I technically am, and there’s this weird third part where people will praise your work. It’s easy to have your ego fluffed up and say, "This is enough. This is good,” when you know you want to be pushing yourself further.

I’ve been challenging myself to get better, to study more, and to further my design knowledge. I don’t want to become complacent with quirky handwriting, which is beautiful and wonderful, but that’s just a segment of the communication of letterforms.

There’s a whole other emotional vernacular around the structuring of letters and type. Like, a capital R is so sexy. It’s got an elbow out, leg out, there’s a nice curve to it. It’s all in that geometry of how the letter is standing. Although, I anthropomorphize all letters.

Q: Would you either choose to have no memories or to never be able to forget anything?

A: No memories would keep you fresh and in the moment—as long as you were still able to learn. That could be really powerful for being your purest self in that exact moment.

…versus remembering everything, which would give you a wealth of knowledge, would be burdensome. And, I have to think that you would remember anything that was incredibly important. One of the most powerful parts of our brain is its ability to edit.

And we are shaped by our memories, so even if you are not cognitively aware of the memories, your life has been changed, and you have developed according to those moments. In that way, they’re always with you, whether you remember them or not.

Liz Cooke is the owner and graphic designer of Lionheart prints. You can view and purchase her work on Lionheart’s website, on etsy, and at various markets in and around New Orleans, including Freret Street Market. Her newly shot DIY video will be available on @britandco in the near future. You can follow Liz and her work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.