Elysia Byrd

Elysia Byrd

Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom

About Elysia Byrd

My practice investigates how we attempt to locate our place in the world through journeying and storytelling. The ways in which we re-discover, re-fashion and re-tell our collected memories of adventure. Ultimately pulling these experiences back into our everyday where they don’t belong.

I grew up with stories, hearing fairytales and stories invented right before bedtime. I am fascinated by the possibility for endless creation and re-creation of a story, as with a painting, through the relationship between the creator and the audience. The way in which the audience navigates through my paintings, has long been a concern of mine. Points jolt and push away from a coherent reading of the work. The paintings turn and twist you (the viewer) around, spitting you out in a seemingly recognisable world but you're not quite sure if standing on your head was always normal.

The paintings often journey themselves: Working out and re-routing, building like a map through the canvas. Plotting a personal journey through the world.The paintings create a truth that exists within the realm of painting by cutting, sticking and pasting together perhaps un-related or geographically distant memories. Objects and motifs anchor down certain points, allowing moments to breathe in an otherwise tumultuous whirring of paint. In some way this is similar to the way in which I remember; hazy colours, contrasted with more sharply defined moments to delve in to.

Writing stories that blend the genuine with the imagined often springboard ideas for the paintings. These stories are becoming increasingly important to the paintings. Notions of the fairytale are often touched upon; loaded in the title or the environment of the painting. Many of my paintings are set within the wood, a culturally accepted ominous place. We expect dark things to happen within the wood. Yet I try to invert this notion. My woodlands and jungles are less foreboding: Hyper-real colours, that swirl through the painting bombarding and disorientating in a different way to the deep, dark wood. Something unsettling remains, lurking, in spite of the saccharine colours. Influenced lately by J.G. Ballard’s The Crystal World, where an entire forest and all its content become totally crystallised: The dark forest is covered over by beautiful, glistening crystals.

My work tugs in oppositions: domestic/exotic, painterly / linear, 2D / 3D, reality/fiction. Interplay between 2D mediums and 3D sprung from a desire to make physical the motifs of my paintings: To create my own souvenirs.

Souvenirs from past journeys, to take on future ones.


BA Fine Art Painting, Wimbledon College of Art, First Class Honours

BA Fine Art, University of Leeds,


AWE at The Bloomsbury, London, 2nd-5th Feb 2018, PV 2nd Feb 6:30-8:30 pm


Unreal Estates, Homefinders, London October 2019
AWE at The Bloomsbury, London, Feb 2018
Goodbye Horses, Pilotenkueche, Spinnerei, Leipzig, January 2017
Wild Horses, bipolar Galerie, Leipzig, 2016
Space Invaders, Salon Simelde, Leipzig, 2016
Pods Pom-Poms and Other Souvenirs (Solo show), Block 336, 2016
Exhibition of Small Paintings, Space W10, The Contemporary London, 2015
Spring Fever: Emerging Artists from SaatchiArt. Hyatt Regency, The Hyatt, 2014.
FBA Futures, The Mall Galleries, 2014
The Woon Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Gallery North, 2013 (Judges Discretionary Prize)
Death of a Tourist, Graveney and Meadow, 2013
Launch: Ceremony, The Wimbledon Space, 2012