Lizigns, also known as Liz Lawrence, has been designing since she was a kid but got most of or formal training at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in art. Chattanooga was close to her home in Nashville, TN, where she was born and raised. Liz is a robust and talented designer who lives in Colorado Springs, CO. When she discovered graphic design, she unearthed her genuine gift and deepest passion, but it wasn’t easy for her to accomplish this, she faced many barriers as a Black Female in the south. Her views were not accepted and she learned a lot from simple self-preservation.
“My favorite aspect of design is being able to bring someone’s vision to life. Having someone reach out to you because someone either referred them or they are simply a fan of your work is such a great feeling,” says Liz. “Someone is trusting you to help bring an idea into a digital space so they too can grow and share with others.”
But as much talent and passion as she has for her craft, she wasn’t able to pursue a pure Graphic Design degree. When Liz was a sophomore, she did not pass her review. It wasn’t for the lack of trying. She saw peers who were not as good as she, get into the program. She was asked to change her designs to fit into a mold that she did not feel comfortable doing, frankly. “It was already difficult being the only Black female in my classes. I always had to explain myself more for class critiques than my peers because of their lack of wanting to understand and viewing others’ life perspectives,” Liz says.”I had other Black peers, but they ended up changing their major due to bad experiences in the art department. I made sure to stay true to myself and push through because art and graphic design are most definitely my passion and purpose.”
Liz took every opportunity to learn and grow as a designer, crafting her own educational journey. Lizigns designed even if the administration did not like it. She enrolled in all the design classes she could. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in fine arts with a minor in business and a concentration in design. “Going through things makes you a better person, and it feels good knowing that even though I didn’t get accepted in the graphic design program back in college, I am still a graphic designer then and now,” Liz says. “Hard work and patience are definitely keys to life. Just because someone says you can’t do something doesn’t mean you can’t still pursue something you are truly passionate about.”
Liz’s passion grew beyond designing visuals; she dove into fashion design through thrifting and repurposing her finds. Liz thrifted with her dad and dabbled with her biz a bit in college. “I originally started off just reselling, making customs, and having my own Pop Up Shops around campus and local events. As years passed and the vintage market grew, I knew I needed to find my niche when it came to selling vintage clothing,” says Liz. “My niche when it comes to reselling vintage is Wearable Art. I give thrift store finds a new life by repurposing and adding my artwork and designs to them.” Liz graduated and joined Americorps for a year. She visited Colorado on a birthday trip to celebrate her and her boyfriend’s special day. Lizigns transferred with Americorps to live in Colorado Springs and work in Aurora. She lived her dream, and her boyfriend could pursue his, Cannabis cultivation and cannabis culinary arts.
Lizigns just launched Been Thrifty Vintage Mystery Boxes for Vinyl, Kids clothing, and Adult clothing. It is easy to join on her website, fill out a survey of your styles and tastes, and get a box thrifted from Liz. Liz also designs patches, “Been Black Been Proud 2018” and “Black is Beautiful” in 2016/2017. “I created the patches to express how I feel as a Black person. I am always seen as a Black person first, then a Black female. I am Black 365, and I am proud to be, and I embrace it every day!” Liz says.
You can visit Lizign’s website, join her Patreon, or visit her in-person shops in Colorado Springs at Chapels Hills Mall and Citadel Mall. Starting Feb, 1. Liz was the featured artist for the month with her Black is Beautiful and Black Lives Matter Designs on the back covers.
“Never stop learning, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!” Liz says. “If you have an idea, do it! Who cares if it has been done before. You are you, and no one else can be you and bring what you can to the table.”
What is the most important thing you think that our state and our community could do to educate and support the Black community right now?
“SUPPORT!!!! It’s crazy the number of people who have reached out or even bought things from me since the Black Lives Matter Movement this past summer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing, but it’s a bad thing like a double-sided sword. With how the world is showing its true colors, everyone can and needs to do their part, but it needs to be genuine and not just for a season.”
Liz says: Before reaching out to a black person or a person of color, ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you reaching out to them? Is it just because you feel like you need to save face? Is it because you know of an opportunity they wouldn’t normally get or know or about?
- Why haven’t you reached out before now? Why now?
- How can we make this space more inclusive?
- How can I listen and create better opportunities?
- How can I nurture and continue this new relationship?
Soundcloud Playlist: https://soundcloud.com/beenthrifty/sets