Based in United Kingdom
Elizabeth Bessant’s journey as a designer and print maker began in 1979 when she achieved her dream of going to art school. Although it was a happy time she also found herself in a constant battle against the established ideas of art in the early 1980s and pressures to explore gritty subjects that were fashionable at the time. The beauty of the world, of formal gardens, country houses and furnishings, patterns and flowers and most importantly the subtlety of colour were what called to her. When Elizabeth discovered silkscreen printing that achieved the pure clean colours she was striving for she knew she had discovered her medium. In 1982 she was vindicated when her silkscreen print "The Morning Room, Tredegar House" was accepted and hung in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. Having developed a very successful style, her prints sold worldwide and were continually accepted for the Royal Academy. In the early 1990's with a young son it was time to make a change and find another creative outlet and she turned to her second love: textiles, sewing and design. Her early designs were heavily influenced by her roots as an artist: each garment involved crinkling, texturing, dyeing and heat treating fabrics along with applique and beadwork. Her new career was launched in a boutique in Chelsea where she sold her outfits to many celebrity and society clients before setting up her own Elizabeth Bessant Couture salon in Knightsbridge. COVID 19 brought her couture business to a halt overnight. But with every door that closes another door opens. Elizabeth had long wanted to return to print making and she used lockdown to explore themes that touch on everyday lives. Linking back to an idealised 1950s, she explores attitudes to women, sexuality and domestic abuse. Her large prints are individually embellished by hand and aim to provoke reflection. The process to achieve the final pieces is a long journey from the original idea searching through 1950's magazines to find the source material to build a collage of words and images. The collages are then hand painted with wash and paint pens to add colour and detail imitating the original feel of printed magazines. The finished collages are scanned, enlarged and produced as digital Giclée prints on fine art paper in editions of only 25 copies. The final but most labour intensive of the process is adding the thousands of crystals, gold and silver leaf, lacquer and metallic paint. The resulting art pieces are colourful, textural and vibrant with a strong message. The strength of the message is important but with these prints Elizabeth has still created art that is pleasurable to look at with obsessive attention to detail and perfect execution.