Liz McCombs on characters, hearts and finding her path 

click to enlarge LIZ MCCOMBS
  • Liz McCombs
Local Liz McCombs gets the best questions from kids. When she’s out at art fairs, they ask things like “What were you thinking when you made that?” or “Why does he have a clock for a head?” It keeps her on her toes, she says, and it makes her think. McCombs, 38, works in several mediums, but primarily, she’s a sculptor, and
topically, she’s a character designer.

“I think of a character, and I think, ‘What kind of world would he live in?’” she says. Often, these concepts come from dreams, but she draws inspiration from a plethora of sources. She then uses a mixture of ceramics, wire, found objects, wood, painting, and more to flesh out the characters and give them context.

“I’m not a writer... so these are a visual representation,” she says.

McCombs, a native of Delta, Colorado, has been making art since childhood — she can recognize the character-driven and mythology-inspired earmarks of her style, even in pieces she made at 4 or 5 years old. She moved to the Springs around 20 years ago, intending to study genetics at Colorado College. But art called her out of the lab, and she ultimately transferred to UCCS, earning a BA in studio art.

“Recently, I have been very intrigued with doing... my ceramic-based stuff and incorporating wire sculpture,” she says. The contrast between airy wire and solid ceramic captures her imagination. She’s also been doing a lot of work with hearts lately, and not lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day tchotchkes, either. She’s portraying them whole and healthy, yes, but also damaged in a variety of ways, some with Band-Aids, some full of nails, even one that’s half clay and half loose wire form.

“There’s just something about the way a heart shape feels in your hands,” she says. “Your two hands put together is just the perfect shape for holding a heart.”


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