Elizabeth (Elizak) Gordon
When I began to take myself seriously means arrived – at an empty apartment my landlords didn’t have time to renovate. Given, accepted. To have space and time. Aren’t these so often the working-class creatives’ obstacles? Half of success is survival.
I was born in Queens, New York, and raised in upstate New York before moving to South Florida. I studied humanities at the University of Michigan, graduating summa cum laude with two Hopwood Awards (for a novel and a poetry collection). While pursuing my writing I worked as a college adjunct, once teaching five courses at three colleges in two states. I’ve also worked as a nanny, carpenter’s helper, softball umpire, sports page editor, secretarial temp, and speed reading instructor. I lived and worked in North Philadelphia during the late 1990s as part of a Quaker ministry of service and peace.
After dreaming of painting and painting for a time I listened to a wise friend and began to paint, starting with self-portraits in watercolor and acrylic and landscapes on found wood. More recently I've studied and practiced abstract painting. I’ve taken workshops and tutorials with Ellen McKay. In the last few years, I've submitted pieces to group shows, placing one at Emerge Gallery in Kingston and more recently at Van Der Plas Gallery in New York City. I learn by looking at and co-critiquing with artists I admire, like J. Shibamura. I currently live in Cohoes, teach college English classes, and staff the front desk at The Arts Center of the Capital Region. I’m a proud founding member of the capital district’s first slam team, Nitty Gritty Slam. I’ve toured as a slam poet and represented NYC's Urbana Slam at The Women of the World Poetry slam. I’ve published two books, Elizabeth K Gordon: Walk with Us (non-fiction) & Love Cohoes (poetry).
They began to paint after dreams of painting, rarely realizing what had been glimpsed. But reaching for it. Seeing shadows and fleeting beings. Making connections that allowed new power into old wires. They didn't know all they'd been seeing all along. Surprises in the forms; messages in the colors; peace in the process. The binary asserting itself as to be seen clearly, moved aside for the troves of others, the othered others, to come through. Painting to find her/himself. To fly and to be grounded. To heal and to have something to give. And artifact of their journey.
As a writer, they strove to publish in multiple genres. Coming later to painting a tighter focus seemed wise. And through that narrower aperture, more sky. Tensions, questions, figures a creep, presence wrestling habit to the mat. They began to dream after paintings of dreaming.