I remember seeing Van Gogh’s sunflowers with my mum in Amsterdam and she started to cry. It was in that moment that I realised a simple painting can have a profound emotional effect on someone.
Is your background in writing and art or are these passions that you have chosen to focus on?
My background is well and truly rooted in writing and art. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and I did an Art Foundation year before heading to university. I brought both of these passions together in my degree, during which I studied Visual Culture (a.k.a. writing about art). I can’t really imagine my life without art and writing so, since then, I’ve been working hard to combine these two passions in my career. So far, so good!
What is your most precious possession?
I’m not really a possessions kind of person. I have lots of objects and things from family members and my travels, but if you asked me which item I’d save in a fire… Well, I don’t know. I much prefer experiences to tangible possessions.
Okay, maybe I’ll be cliché and say my passport…
If you could own one piece of art, what/which one would it be?
Oh wow. So many! I think I’d have to go for anything by Joan Miro or Kandinsky. I love their colourful, abstract pieces. I enjoy coming across new, lesser-known artists, too, and I’ve interviewed some artists on Wanderarti whose work absolutely blows me away. I’d love to fill my house with amazing art of fabulous places!
What is your idea of happiness?
That feeling you get when there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing in that moment. I can be doing something as mundane as cooking or having a cup of tea and feel like I’m never going to be happier than in that moment.
But if I had to choose a specific activity? Sitting in a country pub on a warm afternoon with people I love. Nothing quite beats that!
I also love endlessly wandering through the streets of a new place and finding a quirky little bar or restaurant to hole up in, and walking through the countryside on a crisp autumn day always, always makes my soul happy.
What have you learned the hard way?
Everything! My mum is a great believer in finding things out for yourself, so I’ve strived to learn as much as I can from every mistake I’ve made. In the past year, I’ve learned that valuing yourself is one of the most important things you can do. I spent a long time thinking I’m not good enough at a whole variety of things (seriously, the list is as long as my arm), and it’s been a struggle to turn around that opinion.
What work of art took your breath away when you finally saw it in real life?
Seeing Picasso’s Guernica in Madrid was a real “ta-da” moment for me, though I think its size might have had something to do with it. I remember seeing Van Gogh’s sunflowers with my mum in Amsterdam and she started to cry. It was in that moment that I realised a simple painting can have a profound emotional effect on someone, so I always try and look “behind” the brushstrokes and paints to find how a piece really makes me feel.
What do you think is a dying art?
Enjoying the moment. People are so eager for the next thing and the next thing, that they forget to feel the ground beneath their feet, the wind in their hair, and the way something makes them feel in that moment.
When I’m travelling I hardly ever take photos. You see people who are hidden away behind their camera, only seeing things through the filter of their lens. I made a pact with myself to never be one of those people.
What were your most surprising journeys?
Always the ones that turned out to be easier than I thought. I’m a naturally anxious person and I tend to build things up a lot in my head until they become these huge obstacles. Perhaps the best example is my first trip to South Africa when I was 18. I hadn’t travelled much and I expected the world to be this huge, different place. In reality, not much was different.
This past year has been a huge surprise for me, too. Taking the plunge and moving to Spain has taught me that I’m much, much more independent than I ever could have imagined.
The most surprising journey, though, is probably my one with travel in general. It’s changed me so much that it’s difficult to look back and recognise the person I was before it all began.
Your selection of art and artists on Wanderarti is stunning. How do you source your content?
I’m always hunting down pretty things and always have my eyes open. I use a variety of different visual platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram, as well as browsing art blogs and travel sites rigorously every day. More recently, artists have started getting in touch with me directly, and it’s been great seeing the site grow into a wonderful community.
It’s cold and rainy and you’re home alone – how do you spend your day?
I LOVE cold and rainy days. I’m definitely more of a winter person than a summer person (it might have something to do with the fact I don’t cope well in high temperatures!). I’d put the kettle on, read for a couple of hours and then spend the rest of the day writing, whether it’s blog posts, short stories, or general musings. I’d probably end with a film or a TV show and there would be a lot of tea involved!
What is your dream assignment?
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that National Geographic has inspired me tonnes over the years. The stories are just so unique and compelling that it’s difficult not to be whisked away to other worlds. So, that being said, a National Geographic style assignment to meet and write about indigenous artists in Scandinavia would be awesome.
Lizzie Davey is a travel. arts and culture writer in love with the whimsy and wonder of travel. To read her work please take a look at http://wanderful-world.com and http://www.wanderarti.com