Forced to quit her livelihood as a fashion model after developing severe chronic fatigue following the unexpected loss of her father, multimedia artist Izzy Voxx has a big story. Living and creating on Bundjalung Country in Northern NSW, her work speaks of a sense of the confusion and captivation with the idea of existence youth culture heroes. With the unique charm of her femme fatale persona, Izzy’s art peers shyly at you through the unassuming strokes of humanity, acceptance, grief and loss. Captivating and cheeky, Izzy challenges her audience to embody their most whole self with all the strength they can muster – a process she is openly traversing herself. She talks to us about how art has become the key to unlocking her truest self.
Why and when did you start your creative journey?
I’ve loved making art since I was very young! I was always drawing and painting for fun, and I did six years of piano lessons as a kid, but I didn’t feel deeply passionate about playing music until much later on. I started to take my creativity more seriously around age 20. I was given singing lessons as a Christmas present from my aunt, and from there I discovered how powerful and freeing it was to use the voice as an instrument. I think it was that combined with being so into music and art for years, and being inspired by my friends who are so talented and dedicated to their creativity! It made me feel like I could really have something to offer, and that my talents didn’t have to be just these hobbies that I’d hidden away from the world.
Can you describe the emotion of your art?
My art is very spontaneous. I never start with a plan, I don’t have pre-sketches or even an idea in mind when I approach the canvas. If I try to, I will just destroy the plan during the process… a little bit like what life does to our plans sometimes. My paintings more often than not will turn out better than any preconceived idea that I had, if I really just let the process take over me. Some people could call the process of my art channelling, which I think could be an accurate description! I like the idea of something greater than me just sort of taking the reins now and again and I can just sit back and watch these artworks come out of me. It’s like being possessed in a way, but I enjoy it!
With my music, it’s a little bit different. I’m very inspired by strong and painful emotions, sometimes my art is as well, but much more directly with my music and songwriting. Heartbreak is the most common theme in my music – betrayal, feeling unappreciated and invisible. I’ve felt very invisible for a lot of my life, I think it has something to do with the fact that I have been so shy and quiet. My mum used to tell me that I would melt into the walls, my presence was so invisible. Art has helped me with that, as has therapy (always).
How has creative expression allowed you to survive/thrive?
I find if I don’t give my creativity a source of expression it will start to turn in on me, and strange things will begin to happen to me. I have experienced a lot of loneliness, even with beautiful people around me, so it’s almost as if I’m being guided into the art and my heart is calling it. Things always start to get better once I put my focus into art and create. Suddenly I feel more connected to myself, and as a result more connected to others, and life just begins to be a more enjoyable place to be.
Writing is so therapeutic, journaling, talking to a therapist or a wise friend or family member who gets it. Is speaking your mind and having a meaningful conversation a form of creative expression? Sometimes it’s just so powerful.
Other times, during those artistic times, there are no words to be said, there are just notes to be played and sounds to be heard, or lines to be drawn. That’s where playing an instrument or drawing comes in. I’ll sometimes cry when I draw or play music, because something is just being expressed from within, like a bird being freed from its cage… I don’t know how else to describe it.
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How do you get into your creative workflow?
It’s so different all the time and there are so many layers to it. I find it almost impossible to have a consistent daily structure to my art practice. It doesn’t fit me right now!
I have amazing mentors around me, teachers, friends and family. My communication with other artists and people is very significant to my practice. I’ll always be talking to another artist about how I’m feeling creatively. Sometimes it’ll lead me into a conversation that is so inspiring, like I just conversed with another artist for literally two months straight. We spoke for hours on the phone every day, he was in Paris and I was here in Byron Bay.
Sometimes the inspiration will just hit me like lightning, those are my favourite times! I’ll be in my studio and just be painting like a crazy person, so full of life and this energy that is like a total celebration. I’ll be so happy.
But in general, the practices that bring me down to earth and always connect me to starting my art practices are so simple. Just having a stack of scrap paper, and just letting the lines land onto the paper, sometimes even closing my eyes. It’s like a clearing exercise and I can guarantee that I’ll always be able to draw something by doing this, even if it doesn’t come out as a masterpiece – often just a jumble of scribbles that I don’t find so appealing. In that way, my art making is a lot like archaeology: I’ll be digging through a lot of dirt before I find the nuggets of gold. But that’s what its all about… the beauty and the excitement of that final discovery
What do you hope the observer/ listener absorbs from your art?
There is so much that I hope for people to take from my art. Primarily I would hope that people can look at the darkness of my art and know that their own darkness is ok to be expressed too. Art and therapy are wonderful places for our darkest emotions, thoughts end experiences to be expressed through and contemplated.
Express yourself freely! Exactly as you are! There is nobody else like you, who has gone through what you have. You are so unique in your expression. Follow your heart, listen to your body and mind. keep moving forward at your own pace, even if it’s as slow as a snail-like how I feel at times. As long as you’re moving forward that’s all that matters. Don’t seek to spread hate or negativity, but rather seek to heal, to bring peace and harmony and to bring people together. Why seek chaos when there is already so much of that in the world. The process of healing is chaotic enough, and that’s why my art comes out in such extreme ways – because I’m healing! I’m clearing it all out, showing people how messy and scary the process can be, but also how beautiful, rewarding and exciting it is as well.
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