Artist Interview: Lisa Penz

Introducing Vancouver Contemporary Pop Artist Lisa Penz.

Lisa and I have been friends for several years now and it all started at OPUS Framing and Art Supplies. Lisa can you share with us the unique story about how we met? :)

Sure! A few Christmases ago I was given the book "The Artists Way" from my boyfriend. He told me he wanted to give me a special gift and that he had met a really awesome artist who worked at OPUS who recommended this book for me. Over the following weeks he strongly encouraged me to go to OPUS to find this artist because he thought we needed to connect. I went OPUS several times looking for the artist but no luck! I persisted and after my fifth attempt I finally met Deb! She had told me how my boyfriend had visited OPUS, looking for the "best' thing he could get me for Christmas. The book that Deb recommend was the best, but I also got another amazing thing that Christmas.... Deb!

Thanks Lisa. Feelings are mutual! Recently I recall you opened a pop up gallery here in Vancouver. Can you tell us what this is and share your experience about this venture? Thank you.Would you do it again?

During the month of October 2011 I opened up my own 'pop up' gallery, which featured works from my 'Indulgence' collection. The theme 'Indulgence' was a provocative extension of my unique female portrayals. I found subject matter of temptation, guilt and other dark associated emotions to be a very interesting. Although the 'Indulgence' collection contained dark undertones, the surface of this work was very bright, radiant and candy-coated.

I used this 'pop up' forum to both expose the works of talented female artists and to promote Vancouver as a player in the contemporary art world arena. There is so much young artists talent in this city without a lot of the opportunities available to demonstrate it. I wanted the experience for everyone that visited the gallery to be fun, engaging and visceral.

The gallery took nearly 6 months to prepare for 1 month of it being open. It's hard to say if I would do it again. I gained so much from the experience — mainly business skills. I'm so happy to have a better idea now of what it's like to run and curate a gallery.

Link to Lisa's blog:

Link to Lisa's Urban Rush tv interview:

Link to photos of Lisa's Pop Up gallery opening:

I understand you work as a designer and also in theatre you do have a very busy life...How do you make time for painting when it's never urgent nor a priority to take time for our creativity?

It's very difficult to make time for painting. It's even a challenge for me to sit down and write about my work. I can now recognize my avoidance tactics, so I will often stop and force myself to start a project. Once I begin a painting, I get obsessed with it and it's hard for me to walk away from it for a few days.

I like working in themes as that helps get me hyped up about the new body of work and it's a good motivator. Setting deadlines for myself is also a great motivator.

What's your favorite art piece of yours and why? of another artist?

I am attached to a lot of my paintings and for different reasons. One of my favorite pieces is 'Butterscotch Ripple Effect'

This piece was my first of the Indulgence series. I wanted to create a painting that was as beautiful to look at as the chocolate was to taste. I realize that flavours from our childhood hold many wonderful and fantastical associations that stay with us for our entire lives. This is my celebration for that notion.

My favorite piece from another artist is 'Longing To Dance' by Disney artist Larry Nikolai. I've purchased a limited edition giclee of this beautiful work. I've written about it here on my blog

What are you working on currently and please tell us about it...

I'm working on a new collection. I'm not going to reveal too much at this stage but I'm taking a darker turn with this work — in theme and in tone. On the surface, my female portrayals hint at fairy tale and fantasy, while thematically, they go much deeper.

Stay tuned!

For you, What the best thing about being and artist?

Although this is so very personal from one artist to the next, for me, the best thing about being an artist is being true to your nature. I've been in corporate roles before and it felt like I was living a lie and doing nothing to further myself really or enhance the lives of others. Creating with few limitations is a blessing.

For you, What 's the most challenging thing about being an artist?

Perseverance in the face of rejection and not seeing results is the most challenging.

How would you define success for yourself as an artist ? zWhat are some success you have achieved thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

That's a complicated question. There are many different levels of success that I think of when trying to define it.

Simply put — if I'm painting what I desire to painting and having the work "out there" seen by others and being recognized for that — I'm successful.

I make a list of new goals every year. Some of them may seem very difficult to achieve and could take six months of solid dedication and perseverance (eg: my Pop Gallery). If I achieve most of my goals by the end of the year, then I'm successful.

Having the freedom to create, touching others in a positive way with my work, getting recognition for that and living comfortably and happily — that's success to me.

A factor in achieving my success has been prioritizing and tackling those most important things first. I get easily overwhelmed thinking of the infinite possibilities and paths to follow. Sticking with my top priorities helps maintain focus.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to other artists?

- Follow your intuition with your artwork. It may work or not work but at least you can feel you were true to yourself.

- Every artist has their own story. Make your own path and practice what works for you.

- Be mentally prepared to make your art a lifetime commitment.

I am, as you know, a big believer in self care - especially for artists! What do you do to nourish your self and soul?

I have a lot of little rituals that I incorporate into my day. For example - I take time at the end of the day to go for a 10-20 min walk. This is really simple but I find that if I do it, I'm a lot happier and more productive.

Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. Connect with Lisa Penz and visit her website here:

Lisa Penz prints and original work are for sale —via facebook page

and website