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Check out Lisa Zinna’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Zinna.

Lisa, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
When you grow up in Endicott, New York, back in the 60s/70s, the birthplace of IBM and your parents are IBMers, your path is likely to be similar. And mine was. Typical parental advice: “Get a job at IBM. All of your needs will be met at this company.”

So I went off to college and received a BA in math (because I didn’t want to write a lot of papers) and suffered through three other non-IBM jobs to become … a technical WRITER at IBM…for 27 years. Dream job? Probably not. However, I met my husband, Bob, there and we had two sons. More proof that IBM can meet all of your needs (wink).

A transfer to Austin in 2002, several hockey-mom years later, and I’m ready to find out what really makes my heart sing. I knew it was not writing. Yet, I’ve always liked keeping up with technology. I’ve always taken lots of photos, but haven’t really seen myself as a serious photographer. However, creating a fun and interesting Christmas photo of the boys was always a blast for me. So many ideas! So little cooperation!

During my last few years at IBM, I put my creative touch on our workspace lining the hallways and conference rooms with large photos of coworkers (with snarky comments) and Damien Hirst-like dot installations. My creative side was starting to take off.

When Instagram came about, I thought it was cute, but didn’t like the filters. At all. I was going to be a purist regarding my photographs. No filters for me. My work can stand alone without any touch-ups! Or, so I thought.

But then I started to see some interesting edits and realized that editing apps can produce some really cool effects. So, I began to experiment with some, which turned into many, which turned into an addiction of sorts. Now, you will never see me put a photo on Instagram without an edit, or five.

I enjoyed this process so much so that I worked for hours on end, and also got encouragement along the way from family, friends, and coworkers. The decision to retire was the easiest and quickest decision I’ve ever made.  With the help of my supportive husband, Bob, I retired over a year ago and have been creating art daily (and nightly!) ever since.

Austin is filled with creatives and inspiration is around every turn. In just the past couple of years, I have met and become friends with many artists who are so supportive, which helps keep my love of art growing.

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 base art is photography. I’m not the best photographer. At all. Many of my images were taken with my phone, but I do have a decent DSLR that I thought I “should” have because I consider myself a photographer. But, truth be told, I barely get off of automatic mode. I’m not an equipment person, but I do like trying out new software.

That’s where photo editing apps come into play. I experimented with these apps on my phone for a few years. After work, I’d come home, have dinner, and then lay down to relax, but immediately I’d pick up my phone and start editing photos, seeing how creative I could get. Before I knew it, three or four hours would go by, and my battery was on 1%. I continued this routine day after day. I was hooked on this activity that felt like play.

When I began layering digital images, I’d look around my home office to find something to be an additional photo layer. I started going through my sketchpads, which contained paper collages and acrylic and watercolor paint doodles and snapped photos of those.

I loved the surprise of combining two photos that seemingly don’t belong together. Can I make this drab image of a cityscape more interesting? I loved that challenge.

For example, I’ve taken a photo of a lackluster tree branch and a photo of a paper collage and combined the two in an app using a particular double exposure blending technique to create one composition and then changed the colors, saturation, and made it blurry for another. So many options, so many interesting results!

At the beginning of 2018, I was seeing circles. As I attempted to focus more on collage layering, I created my series entitled “Well rounded?” Using strict parameters of nine hand-cut circles in a 3×3 layout, I snapped a photo of this arrangement (spoiler: I don’t glue the paper pieces down) and then moved the circles around, snapped another photo, etc. I then used a photo layering app to combine any number of these collages to create an abstract composition that speaks to me in terms of color, transparency of the layers, and uniqueness of the image. Sometimes I used several different apps to create an image.

I love when someone says “How did you make this? Is it watercolor or screen-printing?” I like that it evokes a curiosity and is something that they’ve never seen before.

Acrylic resin is another medium that I love to use. Early on, I created some pieces that combined resin and acrylic paints, which was fun, but I decided to focus on photography. Now, for many of my pieces, I adhere the photo to a wood panel and then add a layer of shiny resin on top. Sometimes I add glitter to the resin mixture, or sometimes I paint the glitter mixed with gloss medium in small, strategic places on the photo.

Mostly, my images have positive vibes and can be just plain fun. I’ve got pink and green roosters with glitter, for goodness sake!  Whether it’s a beach scene or a flower or abstract circles, I aim for imagery that brings about feelings such as serenity, happiness, playfulness, and intrigue.

The ideas just keep pouring in, so stay tuned for new and different work in 2019! I’m really just getting started.

The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
I like to call myself the “frugal photographer” because I’m very price conscious when it comes to producing my art pieces. Being on the lookout for photo print sales, Jerry’s Artarama wood panel quantity discounts, and Dollar Tree items, such as masking tape, glitter, and foam board, can ease the cost burden a bit.

As an artist, you must use your creativity not only in your art but all areas of your business, including how to work inexpensively. Collaborating with other artists or joining an art group can help as well.

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?
As a member of the Creative Arts Society in Austin, I display my art at venues such as Bass Concert Hall on the UT campus, Link & Pin Art Space, and Round Rock Arts venues, among others.

I ended 2018 showing at the Soma Vida Gallery and Carver Library during the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) and had a booth at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.

In 2019, I’ll have two “Well rounded?” pieces in the People’s Gallery Exhibition at Austin City Hall, in addition to the Creative Arts Society venues where I display throughout the year.

My website,, shows all of my series and you can purchase pieces there, as well. And, it’s no surprise that my Instagram account, @thepurplelime, has over 1,000 photos of my work.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 512-517-4510
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @thepurplelime

Image Credit:
Christine Smith

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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