Pink Blood-Spangled ShadesLisa Alisa talks about her girls, dolphins, swifts, and a drug that shuts off reproductive body functions.
By Blair Cooper
Jan 15, 2007 | Like stepping away from a painting, Lisa Alisa hops on a horse and leaves New York for a while. Then her mind clears. This is time spent away from the world’s ugly distractions, without what she calls society’s “pink sunglasses.” It’s a curious equation, and the solution might be a painting of a carefree girl skipping hand in hand with her decapitated friend. Alisa’s art, imitating nature, is beautiful and violent, sometimes funny, and not always fair. “When people forget nature,” she says, “sad things happen.” That and it’s nice to forget about the coolster kids and the right to shop.
But Alisa always returns to the city and dons the pink shades once again. After all, she’s got girls with prehensile tongues to paint, high-energy photo shoots with guns and cigars to finish, and birds on her fire escape to feed. Add custom My Little Ponies, gallery appearances, and nosy journalists to the to-do list and the result is one busy artist.
What are you working on right now, Lisa?
Last month I went to Design Fiesta in Tokyo, and I'm also publishing a book of my work and starting a new series of large paintings. I'm planning out a large multi-media installation. I’m also involved in several collaborations with extremely talented photographers and designers: Fons Schiedon, Alex Norden, Patrizio di Renzo. I likely missed some events, but check the “News” section on my website for updates.
It sounds like you’ve got a great year planned. Can you tell us more about your upcoming collaborations with photographers?
I’m the all-around ninja -- mostly art director and artist. But I like to concentrate on the end product and forget about roles. Who gets what Cub Scout name is beyond the point. A lot of people get lost in titles. If you're doing what you want, does it matter what it's called? When you're dealing with new universes, naming things is the last thing on your mind.
Why, thank you! Yeah, we wreaked major damage upon studio furniture and equipment while shooting and I danced to Michael Jackson's Beat It! a little… took me some time to get rid of all the hair wax after that.
Alex Norden is a very understanding photographer -- he lets me do my thing while doing his, and something happens. He has a very strange manner of shooting: fast, meaningless snaps -- flashes going off bang-bang-bang -- and he uses it to cut away, like a knife. You're absolutely naked after about ten minutes. You go into a trance.
Could you share some details about the large multi-media project you mentioned earlier?
I'm in the business of making worlds. Right now they’re on canvas. I want to expand into other dimensions. Major, large installations. It can't all be high-concept 130-ton mirror steel beams in parks, you know?
I love horses. I used to ride horses professionally, and will do it again when I get a chance. When I heard about the pony project, I really wanted to be a part of it. So I was.
The event itself attracted a huge group of people and was very successful. The whole image of so many girls standing next to their ponies and sizing each other up was quite surreal.