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contemporary american painter Lisa Pressman

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::: artist interview

"Have a space, and go in there every day, and do what feels right."
Lisa Pressman

American Contemporary Painter American Contemporary Painter

artist interview

Lisa Pressman Artist Interview - May 2005

1 ::: Why are you an artist Lisa?

I don't think it is a question of why or why not; it's just who I am and what I do. A few possible influences come to mind. My mother was always interested in theater, and she was an artist herself. I remember visiting many museums when I was young. Traveling to Israel when I was twelve had a huge impact on how I saw the world-the contrasts, the old and the new, and also being exposed for the first time to a different way of viewing the world. And, finally, when I began working with clay in my teens, I felt I had found something of my own.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your paintings?

I work on several paintings at a time. I am using charcoal, graphite and erasers, along with oil paint, encaustic, and collage elements to bring the paintings to a point where I can sit with them and determine the focus. They evolve over time. Process is very important: mark-making, layering, covering up and uncovering, scraping, sanding, erasing-all help to create a rich archaeological feel.

+3 ::: Many of your works have an Asian feel about them. Can you explain where this comes from?

I have always been attracted to the Asian wing at the Met; it is the one section I always walk through. I love the scrolls. The combination of text and imagery, the feel of the pieces, is fascinating (even without knowing the language). I am drawn to the pottery, the calligraphy, and haiku.

I collect postcards, stamps, and handmade papers. Some of the recent work incorporates paper that has Japanese and Chinese calligraphy woven into it.

+4 ::: What artists have influenced you, and how?

Here are a few artists I admire:
Joan Mitchell: her use of color, brushstroke, her abstract painting of nature and landscape
Philip Guston: the courage of his later paintings, humor, irony
Jackson Pollock: the power of the unconscious
Rembrandt: lights and dark
Vermeer: the window light
Japanese art: the beauty, the mark
Matisse: the joy of color, the use of black
Rothko: emotive power of color light
Jasper Johns and Frank Stella: intelligence
Eva Hesse: oddness, quirky, the beauty of the strange, the persona
Francis Bacon: pain, alienation
Giacometti: wonderful drawings
Amy Stillman: contemporary, interesting, narrative paintings
Andy Goldsworthy: amazing use of materials, landscape and nature
Joan Synder: words, story paint
Michal Revner: the real thing, image, depth, intelligent, personal yet political
The use of media (photography and video ) in a painterly way

+5 ::: What other interests do have (besides painting)?

Reading, gardening, movies, collecting postcards and stamps, and drinking good wine with good friends

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

The inspiration for the abstract work begins in the studio with drawing, color, and just playing around. As the paintings evolve, the storyline unravels-a relationship between intent and accident ( I know; sounds like Pollock).
I am inspired by the process itself, which includes the fear, the courage, the self-doubt, and the bravado it takes to get to those few Zen moments that make a painting work. I am inspired by the shadows on the walls, the colors and smells of the seasons, gardening books, poems, and words.
With the postcard series, it is the postcards that inspire me. Sometimes it's the image; at other times, it's the text or the handwriting, and I am inspired by the communication of the cards. It is a lost art.
When things get tough in the studio, I will switch mediums, or read, or try to market, or sometimes go to sleep on the couch.
And at some point, I always come to the realization that it is okay to make a big mess

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

One of the most disappointing aspects of my education (BA and MFA) was the lack of preparation for the business side of being an artist. I am always looking for help in this area. I find the business aspect to be challenging, and I always feel that I am not doing enough. It takes two different people-the one who makes the art and the one who goes out and tries to sell it- and I find it difficult to be both at the same time, so the marketing comes in spurts.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In theory, it would be great to have several supportive galleries around the country, to be able to have one-person shows, to be included in museum shows, and to sell the work at lucrative prices. Realistically, I would like to sell the work consistently so that I can continue to make art.

+9 ::: Could you talk about your latest series of paintings and what you are trying to achieve with them?

At the moment, I have several series in progress. I have been doing a few pastel drawings with very rich color and texture, using the Japanese papers. The paintings are triptychs, 12" x 12", with "hurdles" or fence-like imagery

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Get the business skills, and make sure you have backup plans on how to make a living.
As far as making art: have a space, and go in there every day, and do what feels right.

More artist information can be found at the website of the artist.. Lisa Pressman
View more artist interview at here.. Fine Artists Interviews

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