Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Urban.
Lisa, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Growing up, I often spent long hours watching my favorite Disney movies as a way to escape the frustrations of childhood. Through the illustrations in these movies, I found my passion for art and realized that it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Taking art classes all through high school and exploring the world of Photoshop on the side led me to the decision of working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Kansas State University, with interest in graphic design. However, my gears shifted when I discovered yet another thing to be passionate about: knitting. I caught on quickly, using this craft as a way to relax and let my mind wonder the same way those cartoons had let me as a child. While I had wanted to enter the animation field after college, I soon came to realize that I could integrate my love of art, knitting, and animation to find the same freedom I did as a child watching Disney movies. Today, my art explores those three ideas, through the creation of surrealistic worlds with knitted items places within them.
I grew up in Kansas and lived there all through college. It wasn’t until the fall of 2014 that I moved to Texas to participate in the Navasota Artist-in-Residence program, a six-month program, and received an offer to stay for a second term. After my year was up, I moved to Bryan, TX where I currently live and work as an art teacher, doing framing and curating on the side. Since moving here, I have made some amazing friends and connections and learned a lot about myself and my art in the process.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work is an exploration of time and memory, represented through the creation of surrealistic landscapes. As a child, I found myself constantly interested in the imaginary worlds of books and animation, using them to transport myself out of the pains of real life. As I grew up, I found this same feeling when I began to learn to knit. Magically creating something from yarn and needles gave me a feeling that I hadn’t felt since my childhood: freedom.
Today, I am recreating these childhood worlds through my paintings and installations of knitted forms placed within a landscape setting. What once began as a direct nod to the scenes from animated movies has since evolved into a deeper, bolder statement about memory, with the knitted balls acting as a visual representation. By setting up a still life in my studio of knitted forms, fabrics, plastic wrap and colored light, I am able to use my imagination to create the watery landscape you see on the canvas. These landscapes create a discussion with the viewer about how new memories and experiences fall into our existence, some becoming important, while others start to lose significance until finally they just float away.
The sculptures I create dive even deeper into this idea, acting as a physical representation of my experiences throughout a given period of time. Each form is created with stitch designs to represent the way I felt on a given day, with the final form representing all of those days combined. These sculptures are then placed on top of a glowing bulb, acting as a lantern of sorts to illuminate the memories of my weeks. The light helps represent the importance of time and memory, and how some things – the areas furthest away – can find themselves fading into the darkness.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today is overpopulation and social media. While social media is a FANTASTIC way to get your work out there and meet new artists and patrons, it can also be a burden. Many artists still do not know how to navigate these platforms, and many others feel they get lost in a sea of artists that do similar things to them. In a world where we can find literally anything we want, how does a person stand out? We have to work harder to be creative and unique, as well as being clever in how we present ourselves on these platforms.
Overpopulation can relate to social media or real life. Many cities and locations have become mega-centers for artists, but in the process they have become overcrowded, making it again harder for artists to stand out and get noticed, as well as sell their work. One reason I ended up in Bryan and not Houston or Austin was because I wanted to be a part of a smaller artist scene that I could help grow.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I live and work in Bryan, TX, so you can always find something of mine there. I currently am the co-founder of a small artist group – Bryan Contemporary Artists – that exhibits around town every few months. I have had work in many shows outside of Bryan as well though, most recently Sugar Land and San Antonio. I hope to exhibit in the Houston area more in the near future, as it is the art city that I network with and visit the most.
You can support my work by visiting my website and liking my Facebook page – Art by Lisa Urban – and Instagram – Lisa_24_7. I also have an Etsy shop where I sell hand-dyed yarn and prints of my paintings – The Knitting Artist.
- Website: www.Lisaurbanart.com
- Email: Lisa.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Lisa_24_7
- Facebook: Art by Lisa Urban
- Other: Etsy – The Knitting Artist