January 17, 2010
” I don’t try to look like an artist”, says local celebrity, Lisa Solberg. ” I feel like my image is so opposite my work. Anytime someone comes for a studio visit, and hasn’t seen me, or hasn’t seen my work, seeing the two together is a huge shocker. I look more like a socialite…maybe, at times. But, I am who I am. I’m an artist.”
Solberg’s success started at a young age. Although her love of art started when she was a child, she was also an outstanding gymnast(until she grew too tall at the age of 11), and a professional skier in college(after skiing for less than a year). Now, she sells her paintings to collectors all over the world and has been featured in national magazines like Nylon.
Solberg lives in a loft in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles.
CK: So why did you move to Downtown Los Angeles?
LS: I was looking at spaces all over. I came and looked at the space moments before I got on my flight back to Chicago. I pretty much signed the lease right then. I felt like what I would be getting here is like a New York within LA. So, it really spoke to me in that respect. I loved everything about the neighborhood. I love any sort of industrial area because there’s always the potential for growth. I like the vibe of it.
CK: Does the industrial landscape inspire your art work?
LS: I feel like my inspiration used to be more direct, because I would travel and come back and paint. I have countless sketch books that are very elaborate, packed and layered with things that I see. There’s drawings in there that would take half a day. But now, the traveling has subsided a little bit, temporarily, because I always feel so inspired just being here. I don’t feel as much of a need to be going away. My inspiration, when I feel it, is basically bursts of energy. I guess it’s inherent and subconscious. Now I almost have to travel to not be inspired. It’s like the roles have reversed a little bit.
CK: Why do you paint in such large scale?
LS: When I was traveling, I lived in Munich for a while. I was mentored by one of the forefathers of graffiti. His name is LOOMIT . He kinda took me under his wing. Well he’s like this older guy, and he hooked me up with spray cans, and taught me technique, and got me commissioned to do a few big walls in Munich around the World Cup time. I’ve never really been interested in doing actually graffiti. But, it got me working large scale. Now, I feel restricted, first and foremost on a small canvas. I am capable of doing a small canvas, but on small canvases, I see realistic paintings. Large canvases give me so much space to really express what I’m feeling.
CK: How do you start a piece?
LS: I feel like everything comes out of scribbles for me now. When I was in a class in High School, one of my teachers used to tell us in writing session that if we didn’t know what to write, keep writing,’I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write.’ After doing that for a while, eventually something would come up. That’s how I view things now. I always start out with a somewhat express or meditative movement scribbles, and that sort of forms somewhat of a composition. Whether or not that initial composition stays, it still kind declares the mood and tone of the piece.
CK: Do you ever throw a painting away? Or do you just work over it?
LS: I’ve never thrown a painting away. I have worked over a few. For some reason, I always sell those ones right away. People don’t know that it used to be another painting. I did a painting of Vincent Gallo as a vampire. Everyone loved it, but no one bought it. It had such a weird energy. It really spoke to people, but no one really wanted to own it. And so I painted over it. And it sold within two days. It’s kinda funny.
CK: What mediums do you use in your work?
LS: I use everything…a lot of house paint. I use acrylic, oil, china markers, oil markers. I use spray paint for patches of color. I have experimented with bleach.
CK: Do you have a favorite painting?
LS: Yeah, I think right now it’s Land Red Down. It’s my first painting where I’m using this sort of invisible waterfall-splotches of color mixed with oil and markers to blend. The movement from top right to bottom left is reminiscent of a waterfall or a willow tree. It kind of just came naturally. It got me on this whole tangent on working with that sort of movement. I filmed this one. I think it’s really important for people to see my process–especially for the style, which is somewhat abstract expressionism. A lot of people are like, I could do this, or my kids could do this. But there’s a lot more that goes into it. And it really connects people to it when they can see the process. (Click on Video below to watch creation of Land Red Down)
CK: When you’re not working, where do you hang out downtown?
LS: Wurstkuche. I’m a vegetarian, I always get Veggie Italian Sausage. The over all vibe of that place is amazing. It kind of runs parallel with the vibe of this neighborhood…It’s understated but really cool. It’s not necessarily trying to be anything that it’s not naturally. I love it for that reason. It’s really drawing an interesting crowd. Not one specific kind of person goes there. Everyone goes there and everyone enjoys it in the same way. And the communal seating is great.
CK: Anywhere else?
CK: So what’s next for you?
LS: I just did an interview with Elle magazine. And I was asked to donate one of my pieces to The Art of Elysium Gala, which is exciting. I’m talking with Red Bull. I’ve always wanted to something with them.They have funding for high profile events and I personally really enjoy and thrive off of doing live art events (where I paint). That’s a special niche. I’ve done it a few times–including for a hotel opening in West Hollywood. I thrive off of people watching me. I like feeling people’s energy while I paint. I go crazy off of that. I really love it.
For more info on Solberg,and to see more of her work, check out her website here.