A modern day Renaissance woman, Lisa is passionate about Life & creating large-scale Art...
Born in Milford, Connecticut, USA, November 6, 1962. Lisa received her BFA degree in painting in 1985 and went on to study sculpture at the University of Texas at Austin. While utilizing foundry methods for casting bronze, mold-making techniques, brazing, and plaster casting, she began creating walk through environments and installations. In 1994 she obtained her Masters degree and moved to San Francisco where she met a large group of artists who were involved in creating work for Burning Man. It was after her first experience at the festival and during Hellco of ’96 that she decided she had to create a large-scale installation in that northern Nevada desert. In spring of ’99 she received a small honorarium from Burning Man and was finally able to build her first piece on the playa of Black Rock. The creation of the larger than life sundial and performance piece, Diana of Ephesus, marked a major transition in her career. It was this "Burning Woman" that she built for the "Burning Man" which served as fuel for the conception of her largest and most influential project, the mobile and fire-breathing Draka the Dragon. It has been through the building of large-scale works such as these that Lisa has found meaningful and fulfilling importance in collaborating with others.
Often inspired by mythology, gender politics, and pop culture, Lisa’s art addresses the problematics of patriarchal society and challenges modern culture’s attitudes toward mythological story. Through the use of mythic icons such as dragons and mermaids, she attempts to create a bridge between HIStory and the present, patriarchy vs. matriarchy, and the old religions versus the new. The incorporation of the elements earth, air, fire, water, metal, and wood is integral to her work, as is the use of recycled materials, and an obsession with process and repetition.
Lisa’s most recent assemblages consider death and dead things, with collections from road kill, the spirit remains as death is translated into beauty-dignity; exposing emotionality while paying homage to the amazing machine which pumps inside of us. The Heart. Through her investigations of the functional heart she reinvents its meaning by creating unusual “hybrids” that appear to be suspended in time. With a touch of surrealism, the delicate essence of the living is exposed by the metaphorical. The importance of the heart as central to our existence translates into something other, as if thrown back in time to the Mayan’s ripping out the beating heart of the living in a sacrificial display of horror.
Over the years, Lisa has received grants from the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, Houston Art Car Museum, the Burning Man Art Festival and its regionals, Art Garden of Austin, and Austin MiniMaker Faire. She has worked collaboratively with many of her Burning Man peers on such projects as The Infinitarium (an overgrown botanical garden built of salvaged steel with fire effects), GoKirin (the other dragon), and Firebirds of the 5th Direction with Karen Cosulito & Dan Das Mann, Ryan Doyle & Teddy Lo, and Charlie Smith respectively. She and Draka have featured in Backyard Monsters and Monster Nation on the Discovery Channel, and are published in “Monster Nation: the Best Transformed Vehicles from Coast to Coast,” MIT Press “Leonardo Journal,” “This is Burning Man, Drama in the Desert,” Art Forum, and Rolling Stone magazine. Lisa was nominated for a Fulbright Grant, and is founder of Draka Arts Foundation, the Burnin’Bush Fire & Metal Arts Festival, and Sisterhood of the Burnin’Bush — a coalition for women in the arts.
When not playing with metal and fire, Lisa is Art Instructor, Mother, and Inspiration to Others as she attempts to manifest her creative visions.
To view PAST WORKS also see: www.lisanigro.com