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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lisa Solomon - Mini-Interview

One of my favorite artists I've discovered online is Lisa Solomon out of Oakland, California. Her doilie walls and embroidery incorporated pieces have a real quiet beauty to them that are equally stunning. I asked her if she would do a mini-interview here:

Can we talk about the doilie thing? I've been so amazed how doilies have emerged in design, and I always like to know how things become and evolve, but with your doilie work it was the first I saw, (to me it was underground at that point - almost like music can be and then all of a sudden I see doilies everywhere). How do you think stuff like this emerges into mainstream consciousness? Is there a start? Does it matter?

The DOILY thing! I'm honored that mine is the first that you saw.... I certainly don't think I can take credit for the doily revolution [I WISH]. I fell in love with Kiki Smith's metal doilies and those are from years ago. I agree there has been a huge amount of doily imagery of late. I'm not really sure how these trends happen. With the internet and blogging it almost seems like it's all fed from every direction. I know for me the doily thing happened because I loved them. Have for a long time - and once I started drawing them I was hooked. Since I'm also really interested in masculine and feminine and domesticity they seemed like the perfect thing to incorporate into my visual vocabulary.

Along the same lines I wonder where/when did the chandelier thing happen... Or the animal silhouette [which I also did in my work for a bit and now can't do], or the faux wood.... It's like visual cues spark and then a wildfire goes and goes. Does it matter? This is hard. I mean I can't take credit for the invention of using doilies in art. Or thread... Or whatever.... But it is hard sometimes when you see things that feel like they are "yours" being co-opted/used by other makers. I do hang on to the hope that you can somehow discern when something is done with integrity. With investigation in mind.... Or with purpose rather than just as decoration [not that there is anything wrong with making things look pretty! not at all!] or as a marketing tool.

It's not new that art and design are in a symbiotic informative relationship. I think it just feels like trends move faster now than they ever have. And that there is an open-ness to cross pollination of ideas and forms.

With respect to your doilie work, I mentioned previously that I was surprised that you hadn't been approached to turn your doilie wall work into vinyl decals. You mentioned to me before it brings up the whole art/craft thing for you in a serious way. With respect to that, I was wondering if you could explain to me more what you mean?

Well - not that I would be opposed to making doily decals - but to me they wouldn't be "art" unless they mimicked the hand-made wonkiness that happens when I paint them on the wall. Does that make sense?

The whole art/craft thing.... Well craft has been seen as art's little sister for such a long time. And it seems as though right now is this moment of flux and possibility. On the one hand almost every major gallery has an artist that utilizes some kind of craft element in their stable. On the other hand many institutions are dropping the word "craft" from their names [the california college of art {formerly and crafts} immediately comes to mind.

So what's ART and what's CRAFT? Is the best art well crafted? Is there a difference? How are they linked? Can one exist with out the other? Is there still a hierarchy? Why or why not?

Thanks Lisa!

If you want to see more of Lisa's work, visit the Levy Gallery, lisasolomon.com or her new paint-chip embroidery work at The Beholder.


Blogger Abigail A. Percy said...

Wow...I am a big fan of Lisa's art {and am lucky enough to own a piece!} so really enjoyed this interview so much!
I am constantly interested in the difference between art and craft etc..so loved reading Lisa's take on it.

The new work is sublime! :)

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey jan... i can not thank you enough for asking me.... again and again... thank you! i loved answering your questions!!

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lisa's rad!

8:10 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

fantastic interview! and from two of my all-time favorite bloggers, no less. xo

1:11 PM  
Blogger mati rose said...

so great to read these words! thank you lisa & jan!

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a beautiful interview with an amazing artist!!

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great interview er and interview ee!
thanks so much!

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fantastic! Great questions and such interesting answers!!
Love Lisa S!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE lisa's work! and she is a really sweet person. great interview!

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

:) wonderful, i loved reading this. and i think jan - you asked some really important questions...and lisa - you brought up some really important points (like the fast moving trends and the importance of where ideas came from...if there was integrity there..etc, it's amazing how much things crossover with blogging...i could go on!)

but i just wanted to say thank you for this, both of you! :) yay for guest blogging grace !

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great questions for a wonderful artist!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Cally said...

great interview with a great gal. I just adore her paint chip pieces.

5:46 PM  

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