We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Gizara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
I have spent the last year reading Mary Gabriel’s amazing book “Ninth Street Women” chronicaling the lives of the first and second generation abstract expressionists including Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Elaine Dekooning and others. It was comforting to see that each artist experienced a similar journey that I have been on- in daily life, in the studio, in relationships and the struggle to have ones work noticed and respected. These courageous women suffered and persisted in the most difficult of times, through war, death, alcoholism, divorce yet ultimately they succeed in the male dominated art world. Like myself, these women expressing themselves as artists is like breathing. Creating art also brings us the the greatest happiness and a sense of calm as we work. In the most uncertain times in life, the studio is the place where we feel empowered, and at peace. I share the belief with the “Ninth Street Women” that when one looks at our our life’s work, we hope to share a piece of our souls expression and give you a moment to be present.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The act of painting for me is a manifestation of what is inside my soul- silently urging me to create beauty and to bring some sort of order to the world of chaos. This chaos exists both inside my being and in life. My most recent paintings are created out of the unpredictability and turmoil in life – reflecting the realization that we are never really in control of anything- except our choices and what we choose to create. Searching for the mysterious in the mundane has inspired me ever since I picked up my father’s camera and placed my first stroke of color on a canvas. I started painting landscapes at the age of 12 and studied the romantically realistic east coast landscapes by George Inness and the abstractly explosive European waterscapes of William Turner. My camera has followed a similar path. After photographing landscapes in a traditional way, I discovered the unexpected and painterly aspects of using black and white infrared film. Just as I never know how one of my paintings is going to reveal itself, shooting using the infrared spectrum is always an exciting surprise. Each time I shoot, the resulting image is a wonderful discovery, a mysterious visual treasure hunt.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love taking friends to the L A County Museum of Art. After endlessly wandering around the collections, having a glass of wine in the courtyard is such a pleasure. Second to none is visiting the wonderful Getty Museum and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Both are incredible experiences and show how sharing one’s wealth can enrich everyone‘s lives. My favorite thing to do on a casual day is to wander down Ocean Park Boulevard to Perry’s Beach Cafe. Watching the beach goers, bike riders, and volley ball players from under a bright yellow umbrella while grabbing a bite to eat is heaven. Especially at the end of a long hard day, watching the sun dip into the sea is so lovely.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I was four, my dad bought me a huge box of Crayola crayons- the one with the sharpener in the back of the box. I was mesmerized by the rainbow of colors. He and my mom really nurtured my creative soul. Although neither of them were artists, they both saw my potential even at a young age and helped to shape the way I see beauty in color and nature. I have been blessed with mentors staring at the age of 14. My next door neighbor, Ann Pyra, taught me how to paint with oils. But most importantly, how to mix colors. I was then lucky enough to have a brilliant, funny and kind art teacher at Westford Academy, my highschool in a ve
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